New York, March 12 (IANS) Before getting 23 years in prison, Hollywoods disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein pleaded for mercy in a courtroom here, saying “men are losing due process”.
Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault. He was sentenced by Supreme Court judge James Burke on Wednesday morning.
“First of all, to all the women who testified, we may have different truths, but I have great remorse for all of you. I have great remorse for all the men and women going through this crisis right now in our country,” pagesix.com quoted Weinstein as saying.
He added: “You know, the movement started basically with me, and I think what happened, you know, I was the first example, and now there are thousands of men who are being accused and a generation of things that I think none of us understood.
“I think that — I can’t help looking at Jessica and Mimi and hope that something of our old friendship in me could emerge, but I’m sure, like me, they have lawyers who say to them be careful of what you say. I read, you know, those letters where people talked about, you know, missing you, loving you, that kind of thing. As you know, having a serious friendship, that is what I believe that I had with Mimi and Jessica. You know, I really, really was maybe hypnotic and under that impression that I had that feeling, that I had that relationship.
“That five years with Jessica and the years that I knew Mimi were always filled with don’t go on the plane Harv, I want to have dinner with you first from Mimi. Or Harv, whatever, let’s get, you know, can you look at this idea I have for a television series. Or Harv, I’m in Cannes, can I go to the premiere. Or Jessica, can I get into the Soho Club which is a very exclusive tough place to get into. But she needed it for herself. I got her a job at the Peninsula Hotel which she excelled at for a while.
“I’m not going to say these aren’t great people, I had wonderful times with these people, you know. It is just I’m totally confused and I think men are confused about all of these issues. You know, I just – dealing with the thousands of men and women who are losing due process, I’m worried about this country in a sense too. I’m worried there is a repeat of the black list there was in the 1950s when lots of men like myself, Dalton Trumbo, one of the great examples, did not work, went to jail because people thought they were communists.
“You know, there was a scare, and that is what happened, and I think that is what is happening now all over this country.”
Weinstein, who has been accused of assaulting many women, was convicted last month of raping aspiring actress Jessica Mann in a hotel in New York in 2013 and forcing oral sex on former TV and film production assistant Mimi Haley at his apartment in 2006.
He continued: “Two years ago we wrote a letter to 15 friends, I think, the ADA quoted part of it, but the part of it that was the most important part was I’m a builder, I know how to build, and I know how to generate, you know, things on a charitable nature, and I know how to pass my success forward. I think even Mimi and Jessica would say that I was generous, you know, in that part of the relationship.
“The thing that I wanted to do in that letter was I wanted to build a hospital, but not a hospital like the regular hospital, a hospital that deals with this, rehabilitation and redemption; people losing their jobs over the fact they testified for me, or people being afraid to testify that they will lose their jobs. That is not the right atmosphere for this United States of America.
“It is wrong, you know, and that is what is happening. Everybody is on some sort of black list. I had no great powers in this industry. Miramax at the height of its fame was a smaller company than by far any Walt Disney, any Sony, Paramount,. I could not blackball anybody, because if I said don’t use that actress, the guys at Warner Brothers would say I’m going to use it to despite that bastard, whatever. That is what it was. But it became blown up like power, power, power.
“I was not about power, I was about making great movies, I was a perfectionist, and I think I drove myself crazy. I’m not going to also run away from what the District Attorney said about some of the things I did say. I had a fight with my brother, yes, people said I said bad things to people, but there are so many people, thousands of people who would say great things about me. 60 executives in this industry were trained by me. They are at the top of their field. They were running studios in top positions in this country.”
The producer expressed remorse over not being able to contact with his family.
“The thing for me is I have not seen my three older children since the newspaper, since the New Yorker article came out; not The New York Times, but The New Yorker article, so I have not seen them. I just have no idea what they are doing, and I’m in no communication with them, that for me is hell on earth. I just think my empathy has grown over the last two and a half years. I can look at everybody there, you know, and just say, you know, I understand things, I empathise, I feel things, and I was not that person until this crisis started. I have to just say that. I mean that part of this is such a tough process and has come out where I have learned so many things. I never thought I could deal with or things I dealt with in Arizona.”
Looking back at his extramarital affairs, he said: “I went to extraordinary lengths to hide my extramarital affairs; that was a terrible thing that I did by having those extramarital affairs, and God knows if I could take it back, I would. I know everybody in this room feels the same way. It had nothing to do with anything. I was unfaithful to both, and I just cannot tell you how bad I feel about that. You know, I never see my children again and they are everything to me in this world. You know, when I deal with subjects like this, I don’t wish for vengeance, I wish for understanding.”
“I really feel the remorse of this situation, I feel it deeply in my heart. I feel emotional, I feel like to go and talk to you guys, you know, just really, really caring and really trying and really trying to be a better person. Thank you, your Honour, for the time,” he said while concluding.