Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Found Weinstein Utterly Charming but My Respect for Him Soon Turned to Disgust

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Found Weinstein Utterly Charming but My Respect for Him Soon Turned to Disgust

Article excerpt

Byline: Emily Sheffield

ADECADE ago I met Harvey Weinstein. It was at a Vogue dinner held in honour of the Baftas and Weinstein was one of our star guests alongside Al Gore. A large frippery of glittering guests were in attendance at Cecconi's in Mayfair and his late arrival caused a ripple of excitement to pass through the room, the heady complicit buzz that comes from being in the presence of power and talent.

I had been charged with keeping Gore company at dinner but then Matthew Freud arrived, after which I stood a little awkwardly at the bar as my dinner seat was long taken by another, until a friend, spotting my discomfort, ushered me to sit between him and Weinstein. With a huge, welcoming smile, he shuffled his bulk to one side, and for a while I was on the receiving end of the full beam of his charisma. Not once did he flirt, hold my eye inappropriately or drape himself about as so many successful men do. He was attentive, kind. I felt utterly charmed by the energy and excitement that rolled off him and which overrode the brooding physical heft and the pock-marked skin; I was dazzled.

Listening yesterday to the police recording of a sting they conducted two years ago, his pitiful and weird pleading with model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez to enter his hotel room felt like hearing an entirely other creature; pathetic and monstrous. I turned the volume up, fascinated and horrified.

This Jekyll and Hyde nature has been posited by the many famous friends caught out by their previous public affection who now queue up to express their outrage. And the lurid tales continue.

After Weinstein left that dinner to host his own Bafta party, I sat with guests past midnight and the stories trickled out.

How he was a monster, why you must avoid being in a room with him alone. I suspect false memory syndrome has increased the velocity of these tales but I clearly recall my respect quickly being replaced by disgust. …

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