Three women have accused the Hollywood producer rape according to US reports
The words “open secret” have been bandied about a lot since Hollywood filmmaker Harvey Weinstein was accused of “decades” of sexual harassment in the US media.
As one of Hollywood's most powerful producers, Weinstein has worked with some of the biggest names in the business – with a CV that includes films like Pulp Fiction, Gangs of New York, Shakespeare in Love and The King's Speech.
High profile actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan were quoted as being among his accusers when The New York Times reported last week that Weinstein had paid off sexual harassment accusers for decades.
McGowan in particular has been extremely vocal about the muted reaction to the story from many Hollywood A-listers – insisting Weinstein’s behaviour was well known throughout the industry.
YOU ALL KNEW pic.twitter.com/5l1t2HWxgT— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 11, 2017
Actresses Meryl Streep and Judi Dench have spoken of their shock at the claims – with Liz Hurley saying she never heard of or witnessed any inappropriate behaviour.
However a host of other names have since come forward to say they were aware of Weinstein’s behaviour.
Oscar winning actresses Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have released statements saying they were forced to reject advances made by the film producer – while Zero Dark Thirty star Jessica Chastain said she was “warned from the beginning” about his reputation.
I was warned from the beginning. The stories were everywhere. To deny that is to create an enviornment for it to happen again.— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) October 9, 2017
Hollywood’s “open secret” was even referenced publicly on a host of occasions – notably at the Oscar’s and in Tina Fey’s hit comedy series 30 Rock.
In an episode aired over five years ago, 30 Rock’s Jenna Maroney - played by Jane Krakowski - referenced Weinstein’s reputation.
"I'm not afraid of anyone in show business," says Maroney.
"I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions … out of five."
The show returned to the topic the following season.
“I know how former lovers can have a hold over you long after they’re gone,” says Maroney.
“In some ways, I’m still pinned under a passed-out Harvey Weinstein - and it’s Thanksgiving.”
In 2013, while announcing the nominees for the best supporting actress, Oscar host Seth McFarlane quipped, “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
The HBO Hollywood parody Entourage also referenced Weinstein – although in a more roundabout way.
The character “Harvey Weingard” is portrayed as an extremely influential Hollywood player who threatens to end careers if he does not get his way.
The below clip - featuring James Cameron - includes language that may be offensive to some readers:
Weinstein. It's about time this came to light and he is getting is just deserts. Heard rumours over the years but this is awful. Bye Bully!— Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) October 11, 2017
The plot took a sinister twist overnight as The New Yorker reported that three women have accused Weinstein of rape.
Asia Argento, an Italian actress, told the magazine that Weinstein forcibly performed a sex act on her.
The magazine reported that “former aspiring actress” Lucia Evans and one other unnamed woman also accuse him of rape.
Weinstein continues to "unequivocally deny" allegations of non-consensual sex against him, and of illegal sexual harassment.
This is the girl that was hurt by a monster. This is who you are shaming with your silence. pic.twitter.com/TrtRNiYfIT— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 8, 2017
It was reported this morning that Weinstein’s wife Georgina Chapman is leaving him in the wake of the allegations.
The fashion designer described her husband's behaviour as "unforgivable" and said "my heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain."
Earlier this week, Weinstein was sacked by the Weinstein Company – the film production company he co-created with his brother Bob.