How Harvey Weinstein used his liberal politics to cover up his history of sexual abuse


Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein used his ties to high-profile Democratic politicians and support of liberal and progressive causes as a shield against scrutiny for his serial sexual predation, creating contradictory public and private images that allowed those around him to look the other way.

A New York Times report published Tuesday night, as well as other reporting in recent months, detailed how Weinstein employed his status as a political power broker to help conceal his years of abusive behavior and intimidate those who tried to blow the whistle.

Weinstein often cited his connections to Democratic politicians, such as donating to and hosting star-studded fundraisers for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The Times reported:

"I know the president of the United States. Who do you know?" Mr. Weinstein, a Democratic fund-raiser, would say during the years Barack Obama was in the White House, adding expletives. "I'm Harvey Weinstein," he used to say. "You know what I can do."

Clinton and Obama did not appear to know about Weinstein's abusive behavior. And like many of his collaborators in the entertainment world, they issued statements condemning him and expressing shock and disgust following the initial Times and New Yorker reports in early October exposing his history of sexual misconduct.

"Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status," Obama said in a statement shortly after the initial stories.

The Obamas' eldest daughter Malia, interested in filmmaking, worked as an intern at Weinstein's production company earlier this year.

23 PHOTOS
Harvey Weinstein with Clinton, Obama and other top Democrats
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Harvey Weinstein with Clinton, Obama and other top Democrats
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Georgina Chapman and Harvey Weinstein attend the TIME 100 Gala celebrating TIME'S 100 Most Infuential People In The World at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for TIME)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Georgina Chapman and Harvey Weinstein attend the TIME 100 Gala celebrating TIME'S 100 Most Infuential People In The World at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for TIME)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - OCTOBER 6: Harvey Weinstein and Bill Clinton attend Special Premiere of SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER to Benefit the Kennedy Center with Former President Bill Clinton as Guest of Honor at Pier Sixty on October 6, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - OCTOBER 6: (L-R) Kerry Kennedy, Harvey Weinstein, Ethel Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Mary Richardson Kennedy attend Special Premiere of SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER to Benefit the Kennedy Center with Former President Bill Clinton as Guest of Honor at Pier Sixty on October 6, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Harvey Weinstein during Miramax premiere of 'Finding Neverland' at Brooklyn Museum of Art in Brooklyn, New York, United States. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic)
Marty Markowitz, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Harvey Weinstein (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 25: Senator Hillary Clinton and Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein arrive at the Brooklyn Museum for the premiere of Miramax Films 'Finding Neverland' October 25, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
President Bill Clinton and Miramax Chief, Harvey Weinstein at Hillary Clinton's Birthday Party at the Hudson Hotel in New York City. October 25, 2000 (Photo: Nick Elgar/ImageDirect)
President Bill Clinton and Miramax Chief, Harvey Weinstein at Hillary Clinton's Birthday Party at the Hudson Hotel in New York City. October 25, 2000 (Photo: Nick Elgar/ImageDirect)
375603 02: President Clinton talks with Miramax studio boss Harvey Weinstein, center, and an unidentified woman August 7, 2000 at West Chop Lighthouse on Marthas Vineyard, MA. The Clintons attended a fund-raiser for the first lady at Weinstein's home. (Photo by Stephen Rose/Newsmakers)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 03: First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton is joined by actress Gwyneth Paltrow (center) and Harvey Weinstein at the premiere of 'Shakespeare in Love' at the Ziegfeld Theater. Paltrow stars in the movie; Weinstein produced it. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - Gwyneth Paltrow (L), Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Harvey Weinstein at the film premiere of 'Shakespeare in Love.' (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20: Producer Harvey Weinstein and actress Jennifer Lawrence presents Former President of the United States Bill Clinton with the Advocate for Change Award onstage during the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards presented by Ketel One and Wells Fargo at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on April 20, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Tachman/Getty Images for GLAAD)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: (L-R) Harvey Weinstein, Senator John McCain, (R-AZ), Hillary Clinton and General Colin Powell attend the 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom' premiere presented by The Weinstein Company and sponsored by American Express and South African Airlines at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts on November 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama gets animated while hosting a workshop at the White House for high school students about careers in film in Washington November 8, 2013. Also pictured is producer Harvey Weinstein (L) and actress Blake Lively (R). REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ENTERTAINMENT)
Film producer and studio executive Harvey Weinstein laughs at remarks directed at him by U.S. first lady Michelle Obama as she hosts a workshop at the White House for high school students about careers in film in Washington November 8, 2013. At right is actress Whoopi Goldberg. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ENTERTAINMENT)
Senator Obama, Harvey Weinstein, Senator Lautenberg and Senator Schumer *EXCLUSIVE* ***Exclusive*** (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON, DC -- NOVEMBER 8: First Lady Michelle Obama hosts a workshop at the White House for high school students from DC, New York and Boston about careers in film on Friday, November 8, 2013. Over the years, Mrs. Obama has opened the White House to students to learn about everything from music to diplomacy, sports to poetry. On the panel from left to right are director David Frankel, director Ryan Coogler, production executive Harvey Weinstein, actress Whoopi Goldberg, actress Blake Lively, obscured from view, actress Naomie Harris, producer Bruce Cohen, and editor-at-large of The Oprah Magazine Gayle King. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21: Producer and studio executive, Harvey Weinstein in attendance as U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer commemorates last week's change in federal tax law benefits with Broadway Stars at Sardi's on December 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21: Studio Executive Harvey Weinstein attends as U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer commemorates last week's change in federal tax law benefits with Broadway Stars at Sardi's on December 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21: US Senator Charles E. Schumer, Matthew Morrison and Studio Executive Harvey Weinstein attend as U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer commemorates last week's change in federal tax law benefits with Broadway Stars at Sardi's on December 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 29: Kirsten Gillibrand and Harvey Weinstein attend the TIME 100 Gala, TIME's 100 most influential people in the world, at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 29, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME)
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Clinton, who benefited from Weinstein's deep pockets for years, similarly said she "was shocked and appalled by the revelations" about Weinstein and praised the "courage" of the women who spoke out about the mogul.

As recently as this fall, Weinstein and Clinton were working together on a television documentary about her campaign, according to the Times. Clinton scrapped the project as the stories about him emerged, her lawyer said.

Beyond his ties to top Democrats, Weinstein's public image included his support of progressive and feminist causes, which he even referenced in a statement apologizing for his behavior, proclaiming that "I so respect all women." (He also said he would "channel [his] anger" into combating the National Rifle Association.)

Weinstein's production company distributed the 2015 Oscar-nominated documentary "The Hunting Ground," which documents the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses.

In January, Weinstein was among many Hollywood figures who attended a women's march at the Sundance Film Festival, part of the nationwide demonstration protesting President Donald Trump's inauguration.

He established a scholarship fund to support emerging female filmmakers at the University of Southern California's renowned film school. In October, he cited the $5 million donation in his apology statement, responding to the initial Times report detailing his years of settling sexual harassment claims.

Shortly after the story broke, USC said it would no longer accept his money.

Many in Hollywood cited his reputation as a humanitarian and champion for women and their careers, when expressing their shock at his behavior.

"The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported," Meryl Streep said in a statement to HuffPost in October.

What now seems apparent is that Weinstein's public support of these causes was part of creating a public persona to insulate himself from being punished for his private misdeeds.

40 PHOTOS
Harvey Weinstein and celebrities through the years
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Harvey Weinstein and celebrities through the years
Lindsay Lohan and Harvey Weinstein at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, CA (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/WireImage)
Film producer Harvey Weinstein and actress Gwyneth Paltrow arrive for the 50th anniversary gala of the NFT at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank in London. (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
(L-R) Harvey Weinstein and Sarah Jessica Parker attend The Weinstein Co. Celebrates 'I Don't Know How She Does It' Presented By vitaminwater at the Martinez Hotel on May 13, 2011 in Cannes, France.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 12: Co-Chairman of The Weinstein Company Harvey Weinstein (C) and tv personality Heidi Klum (back, L) and actress Uma Thurman (front, L) attend The Weinstein Company & Netflix's 2014 Golden Globes After Party presented by Bombardier, FIJI Water, Lexus, Laura Mercier, Marie Claire and Yucaipa Films at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 12, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
Producer Harvey Weinstein (L) speaks with Jennifer Lawrence during a commercial break at the 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California January 18, 2014 REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)(SAGAWARDS-SHOW)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 10: Harvey Weinstein and Jennifer Lawrence during the 18th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at The Barker Hanger on January 10, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 16: Oprah Winfrey and Harvey Weinstein attend the19th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at Barker Hangar on January 16, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 10: Actor George Clooney and producer Harvey Weinstein attend the Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2013 with Skinnygirl Cocktails at Barkar Hangar on January 10, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)
Actress Julia Roberts (R) and producer Harvey Weinstein (L) attend the premiere of 'August: Osage County,' December 16, 2013 at the Regal Cinemas at LA Live in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 25: Harvey Weinstein (L) and Nicole Kidman attend the amfAR Gala Cannes 2017 at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 25, 2017 in Cap d'Antibes, France. (Photo by Dave Benett/amfAR2017/Dave Benett/WireImage for amfAR )
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Harvey Weinstein and Blake Lively attend the 2017 TIME 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 01: (L-R)Harvey Weinstein and Taylor Swift attend 'Finding Neverland' Workshop Presentation At New 42 Studios on April 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Donald Bowers/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Harvey Weinstein (L) and Megyn Kelly attend The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media 2017 at The Pool on April 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Harvey Weinstein, and Jay Z speak onstage during TIME AND PUNISHMENT: A Town Hall Discussion with JAY Z and Harvey Weinstein on Spike TV at MTV Studios on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Spike)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 08: Jennifer Lawrence (L) and Harvey Weinstein attend the 'Silver Linings Playbook' Grey Goose Dinner hosted by Harvey Weinstein and Stephen Fry at Little House on February 8, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 21: Co-Chairman of The Weinstein Company Harvey Weinstein (L) and actress/recording artist Jennifer Lopez attend The Weinstein Company's Academy Awards Nominees Dinner in partnership with Chopard, DeLeon Tequila, FIJI Water and MAC Cosmetics on February 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for TWC)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 25: (L-R) Actor Dev Patel, producer Harvey Weinstein and actress Priyanka Bose attend The Weinstein Company's Pre-Oscar Dinner in partnership with Bvlgari and Grey Goose at Montage Beverly Hills on February 25, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 25: (L-R) Producer Harvey Weinstein, actress Tracee Ellis Ross and fashion designer Zac Posen attend The Weinstein Company's Pre-Oscar Dinner in partnership with Bvlgari and Grey Goose at Montage Beverly Hills on February 25, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: (L-R) Recording artist Taylor Swift, musician Este Haim, actress Jaime King, producer Harvey Weinstein and recording artist Lorde attend The Weinstein Company's 2015 Golden Globe Awards After Party with Moet & Chandon at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 15: Harvey Weinstein and Anna Wintour attend the Marchesa Fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Skylight Clarkson Sq on February 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 25: Executive Producer Harvey Weinstein (L) and executive producer and rapper Shawn 'Jay-Z' Carter attend the 'TIME: The Kalief Browder Story' Sundance World Premiere at The Marc Theatre on January 25, 2017 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Spike TV)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08: Harvey Weinstein (L) and Suki Waterhouse attend The London Evening Standard British Film Awards at Claridge's Hotel on December 8, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: (L-R) Music Producer Terry Lewis, recording artist Usher and C0-Chair of Weinstein Co., Harvey Weinstein attend the ceremony honoring Usher with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
Producer Harvey Weinstein and actress Amanda Seyfried attend the Audi celebrates 'The King's Speech' awards season party held at Chateau Marmont on February 7, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Supermodel Heidi Klum and Producer Harvey Weinstein pose at the Project Runway fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Gallery 1, Skylight Clarkson Sq on September 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images For NYFW: The Shows)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: (L-R) Director David O. Russell, actress Jennifer Lawrence and co-chairman of The Weinstein Group Harvey Weinstein attend 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Leonardo DiCaprio attends a Hillary Victory Fund fundraiser at the residence of Harvey Weinstein on June 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Film producer Harvey Weinstein and chef Sandra Lee attend the 2016 amfAR New York Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on February 10, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Harvey Weinstein and Tamron Hall attend the Marchesa fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Gallery 1, Skylight Clarkson Sq on September 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images For NYFW: The Shows)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 07: (L-R) Producer Harvey Weinstein, actors Channing Tatum, and Jenna Dewan attend the world premiere of 'The Hateful Eight' presented by The Weinstein Company at Le Jardin on December 7, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for The Weinstein Co)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16: Bette Midler (C)and daughter Sophie von Haselberg and Harvey Weinstein attend the Marchesa fashion show during Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week at St. Regis Hotel on September 16, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Dame Judi Dench and Harvey Weinstein attend A Special Screening of 'Mrs. Henderson Presents' at MGM screening room on November 28, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 21: (L-R) Actress/recording artist Jennifer Hudson, Co-Chairman of The Weinstein Company Harvey Weinstein, and actress Kerry Washington attend The Weinstein Company's Academy Awards Nominees Dinner in partnership with Chopard, DeLeon Tequila, FIJI Water and MAC Cosmetics on February 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for TWC)
BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 09: Harvey Weinstein and Helen Mirren attend the 'Woman in Gold' press conference during the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival at Grand Hyatt Hotel on February 9, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09: Filmmaker Harvey Weinstein with musician Taylor Swift arrives at the 'One Chance' Premiere during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival at Winter Garden Theatre on September 9, 2013 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20: Actress Jennifer Lawrence (L) and producer Harvey Weinstein attend the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on April 20, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for GLAAD)
PALM SPRINGS, CA - JANUARY 04: Actress Julia Roberts and producer Harvey Weinstein arrive at the 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival awards gala at Palm Springs Convention Center on January 4, 2014 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/Getty Images for PSIFF)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: (L-R) Producer Harvey Weinstein, model Chrissy Teigen, and musician John Legend attend Samsung Studio and Harvey Weinstein Host Annual Weinstein Sundance Bowl Football Party During The Sundance Film Festival 2016 on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Samsung)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 10: Singer Gwen Stefani and Producer Harvey Weinstein attend the premiere of TWC-Dimension's 'Paddington' held at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on January 10, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)
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