The New Yorker’s stomach-turning article about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein published Tuesday, which details several rape allegations, comes with newly released audio of Weinstein admitting to groping a model in 2015.
The way the interaction unfolds (listen below) is all too familiar. Weinstein, who was captured on tape through a police investigation, can be heard alternately pleading with and threatening the model, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, citing his own influence and power while trying to diminish her.
At one point, he tells her, “I’m a famous guy.”
The recording eerily mirrors the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, released almost exactly a year ago, in which then-reality TV star Donald Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women.
Trump’s claim at the time: “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Following publication of the tape by The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold in October 2016, Trump dismissed his boasting about sexual assault as “locker room talk.” Meanwhile, more than a dozen women came forward with stories detailing Trump’s history of misogyny.
After The New York Times published its revelatory report on Weinstein last week, Weinstein apologized in a widely criticized statement. He blamed his behavior on the fact that he “came of age in the 60′s and 70′s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different.”
When faced with allegations of their own mistreatment of women, Weinstein and Trump relied on similar tactics: seeking to discredit their accusers, threatening lawsuits against them and reaching private settlements in an attempt to silence them.
Had there been no stories about Trump — or the accusations against other powerful men such as comedian Bill Cosby and Fox News’ Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly — the revelations about Weinstein might not have come to light.
Former Weinstein employee Emily Nestor, who said Weinstein sexually harassed her in 2014, told The New Yorker that some of the top figures at his companies knew about his behavior. Back then, she said Irwin Reiter, a longtime Weinstein executive, characterized the “mistreatment of women” as a longstanding problem within the Weinstein Company.
Reiter even reached out to Nestor last year, writing, “All this Trump stuff made me think of you.”
Over the weekend, President Trump said he “was not at all surprised” by the allegations against the Hollywood mogul, noting that he has “known Harvey Weinstein for a long time.”
The president would not say whether he thought Weinstein’s alleged actions were inappropriate, only remarking, “Well, he says they were inappropriate.”
When asked whether Weinstein’s history was different from his, Trump again dismissed the “Access Hollywood” tape as “locker room talk” and refused to answer further questions about it.