NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Harvey Weinstein is at the center of a new controversy within in the acting community after his appearance at a New York City event this week sparked outrage among several women in attendance.
The disgraced movie mogul — who is awaiting trial for rape and sexual assault allegations next year — was trying to slide back into his old life by attending the “Actor’s Hour” on the Lower East Side Wednesday. When a group of women confronted the producer over those charges, instead of being asked to leave, the women who were uncomfortable with his presence were thrown out instead.
The invite-only event at Manhattan’s Downtime Bar is billed as “the first speakeasy dedicated to artists. Only writers, directors, actors, musicians, and a few lucky outsiders have the privilege of gaining entry.”
The joyful mood quickly soured after the crowded gathering noticed Weinstein at a private table with friends. At least three women openly voiced their displeasure that a man who stands accused of using his power and influence to assault dozens of women in the acting community was invited to the New York City club.
An actor tried questioning Weinstein, and another attendee shouted that he was a “monster.” Both people were then told to leave the Manhattan bar.
I was shocked to see him out, but not because I thought he would have shame, he is a sociopath and clearly has no shame. I'm shocked because he was invited to an event put on by and for artists.
— Downright Rude (Amber Rollo) (@ambercrollo) October 24, 2019
In a video posted on Twitter, comedian Kelly Bachman took the stage to call out “the elephant in the room” which drew both cheers and an equal number of loud boos from those in the crowd. One person was heard shouting “shut up” as the comic tried to point out the uncomfortable situation.
“I didn’t realize I needed to bring my own mace and rape whistle to Actors Hour,” Bachman said.
One of the women forced out of the bar was escorted by people who were reportedly the 67-year-old’s bodyguards. Facebook user Zoe Stuckless posted a video of her encounter with Weinstein, challenging the room to say something and have the movie producer removed — before being thrown out herself.
“I was kicked out of the bar tonight. His bodyguards herded me out. The event organizers were happy to see me go,” Stuckless said.
Weinstein faces a January trial in Manhattan on charges he raped a woman in a hotel room in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006. He maintains any sexual activity was consensual.
Free on $1 million bail, he is subject to electronic monitoring and limited to travel in New York and Connecticut.
Weinstein’s representatives said in a statement that the producer went to “Actor’s Hour” with friends, “trying to find some solace in his life that has been turned upside down” and that the outbursts were rude and uncalled for.
In total, more than 75 women have come forward accusing Weinstein of sexual abuse.
According to the Gothamist, Actor’s Hour briefly posted a statement on social media apologizing for Weinstein’s appearance, saying he “was NOT invited by the organizer or anyone associated with the organization.”
That Instagram post has since been taken down for the event organizers.
On Friday, the host of Actor’s Hour, Alexandra Laliberte, apologized for how the evening unfolded and said the actor who confronted Weinstein at his table should have been given the microphone to vocalize their feelings, instead of being asked to leave.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)