Working with Weinstein

Tuesday 20th February 10pm on Channel 4

The British film industry was central to Harvey Weinstein’s success, making him one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. While A-list actresses have made allegations of harassment, sexual abuse and rape by the renowned producer, this one hour film hears allegations of how he used his power and position to abuse his colleagues and workers in the British Isles, and keep them silent for 30 years.

A spokesperson for Harvey Weinstein has previously said that any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied.

Featuring in-depth interviews with former assistants and others who worked closely with Weinstein in the UK, the programme hears employees’ experiences of behaviour they describe as a misuse of power to dominate, control and humiliate. 

  • A former Miramax employee describes how, as a young woman, and during what was her first meeting with Weinstein to do work for him and to discuss a further job opportunity, Weinstein requested a massage. When she did not agree, she says he pressured her to remove her clothes so that he could massage her whilst he masturbated himself. Weinstein then pressured her to take a shower with him.
  • Former employees allege that Non-Disclosure Agreements within The Weinstein Company became widespread and allowed Weinstein to continue to behave badly with impunity. One describes her discomfort at being expected to escort women to Weinstein's hotel room and having to collect a prescription for erectile dysfunction injections.
  • Film producer David Parfitt describes how he was physically assaulted by Weinstein during the making of My Week with Marilyn.

Throughout the film, this reported misuse of the employer/employee relationship is spoken of in former employees’ accounts of Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour. A ‘code’ existed among assistants where they encouraged one another to avoid Weinstein’s advances by wearing big jackets, staying in pairs or groups in his presence and by not sitting next to him on a sofa.

Building up a picture of the growing power, wealth and influence of the film mogul, the programme explores how someone in Weinstein’s position could abuse so many people over decades without facing any consequences that ended the behaviour.

Lawyer Jill Greenfield, who is representing “half a dozen” women in a UK Civil Court Action, comments in the film: “You’ve got an awful lot of women who have been afraid for many years and are still very afraid, but these women now have an awful lot of other women and people around them who are really not afraid and are prepared to go all the way on this. Because it’s so important that they have the right to access to justice in a way that they were so fearful of all those years ago.

“He may be or may have been a powerful man, but it doesn’t matter. He’s not above the law. He’s just a man.” 

Transcript 1 – former Miramax employee 

On her first meeting with Weinstein: "It very quickly turned from being a conversation about a profession, a job, to being about him being tired and having travelled a long way and him wanting a massage. And I think, I remember feeling sort of, sort of, quite shocked by this request. And him sort of, you know, you know, saying, you know, "What's wrong with that, that's normal. All my staff do this, this is very normal." And I felt that I was the one who was sexualising it and who was making it a problem. And so I ended up being given a massage by him. So he took my top off and he started massaging me. And I think all my clothes ended up coming off. And he, he was wearing a robe and masturbating. And then, it was a constant, there were constant new requests. It was, have a... no, no, let's have a shower."

On later incidents: "Any time I was, summonsed to a, to the Savoy where he would work from, there were always requests for massage. You know, he never stopped trying it on, never. Even having promised that he wouldn't. It was consistent and constant."

Transcript 2 – former employee of The Weinstein Company

"I got a call from someone in New York: we needed to pick up a prescription that's very sensitive.

"So just being... I'm curious and I thought, oh! That's unusual.

"So I went and got them and came back and there was masses of them, boxes and boxes, and I... and it was the injections

"So I looked it up. And they were penile erection dysfunction injections. And I thought, I've been picking these things up off the floor."

Transcript 3 – David Parfitt

"When we actually got through the main shoot and into the test, he decided it wasn’t enough Marilyn’s film and that he wanted more Marilyn.

"The scores came in at the end of the test, um, and they were very good and I think he’d expected it to be not good.

"In his fury about it doing so well when he thought it wouldn’t, he physically assaulted me.

"We were talking at the back of the theatre after the audience had left, but the Miramax crowd were around, and he pinned me up against a Coke machine and threatened all sorts of stuff. 

"It was very scary. But he was just furious that the film in our version had worked."

Mr Weinstein says the allegations in this film are untrue.

Mr Weinstein responded: “The use of Non-Disclosure agreements with employees in both entertainment and media companies is... standard in the industry."

Mr. Parfitt and Mr. Weinstein had creative differences on the film, any conflict between them was solely over their different visions for the film.

... while Mr. Weinstein has apologized for boorish behavior in certain situations in the past, Mr. Weinstein unequivocally denies he ever engaged in criminal misconduct of any kind.


Further Information:
Commissioning Editor: Dorothy Byrne
Production Company: Tigerlily Productions
Executive Producers: Natasha Dack-Ojumu, Nikki Parrott, Angus Macqueen
Producer/Director: Alice Perman

February 20, 2018 5:33pm by Channel 4  

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