Powerhouse film executive Harvey Weinstein has been accused of multiple cases of sexual harassment, including by actress Ashley Judd, spanning three decades.
In a revealing expose by The New York Times Thursday, eight women have come forward to speak out against Weinstein.
Following the allegations, the movie mogul announced plans to take a 'leave of absence' in a statement to the publication.
'I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go,' he said, adding that he was working with therapists and planned to take time off to 'deal with this issue head-on.'
Weinstein’s attorney, Lisa Bloom, said in a statement that 'he denies many of the accusations as patently false.'
Another attorney for Weinstein, Charles Harder, said the mogul is preparing a lawsuit against the New York Times for 'false and defamatory' statements.
According to the explosive expose, Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women, including actress Rose McGowan. In their claims, they allege that Weinstein behaved inappropriately during work meetings.
Ashley Judd, one of the complaining women told The New York Times, 'I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask. It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.'
Judd claims Weinstein showed up to their business meeting at a Los Angeles hotel wearing a bathrobe and later asked her to watch him shower.
'How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?' Judd continued.
She recalled feeling 'panicky, trapped.'
The other women’s claims are similar to Judd’s experience, reports the Times.
McGowan reportedly reached a settlement with Weinstein after an encounter in a hotel room with the executive producer in 1997 during the Sundance Film Festival, and refused to give comment.
Weinstein employee Lauren O’Conner also backed the women’s allegations of inappropriate behavior, saying, 'There is a toxic environment for women at this company,' in an office memo.
Weinstein co-founded Miramax with his brother Bob in the 1970s. The studio became a prominent player in independent cinema with films including Pulp Fiction and Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies, and Videotape.
After Miramax was acquired by Disney in 2005, Weinstein and his brother went on to found the Weinstein Company. The Weinstein Company’s films include Oscar winners and critically acclaimed hits such as The Artist, The King’s Speech, Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained and more.
Weinstein is married to fashion designer Georgina Chapman, with whom he has two children.