World

Hollywood mogul apologises over sex harassment cases

LOS ANGELES: Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein issued an apology on Thursday and announced he was taking leave after the New York Times published a bombshell report accusing him of sexual harassment over several decades.

"I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it," the movie mogul, 65, said in a statement to the Times after its damning story was published.

Mr Weinstein, who is married with two children, added that he had hired therapists and planned to take a leave of absence "to deal with this issue head on".

Ms Lisa Bloom, one of Mr Weinstein's lawyers who specialises in sexual harassment cases, separately said in a statement to AFP that her client "denies many of the accusations as patently false".

Another lawyer, Mr Charles Harder, said his firm was planning to sue the New York Times over their story, claiming it was "saturated with false and defamatory statements".

According to the Times, Mr Weinstein's allegedly inappropriate behaviour goes back nearly three decades and he has reached private settlements with at least eight women.

His accusers, the Times said, were mainly young women hoping to enter the film industry and include actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd.

Judd recalled in an interview with the paper being invited 20 years ago to Mr Weinstein's hotel suite, where he asked if she could give him a massage or watch him shower.

Weinstein is considered a mogul in Hollywood. Many of his movies, such as Good Will Hunting, have picked up Oscars over the years. - AFP

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