Harvey Weinstein privately apologized to former assistants for his behavior, claiming he wasn’t sure what was and wasn’t consensual.
According to The New York Times, the disgraced media mogul was aware that his conduct was often inappropriate and unwanted.
In one instance, he said he knew had done ‘something bad’ after an assistant accused him of sexual assault.
Another time, during a sexual misconduct settlement, he said ‘sometimes I don’t know what’s consensual’ but that he was ‘trying to learn.’
Weinstein is now facing criminal charges on allegations that he raped one woman in March 2013 and forcibly performed oral sex on another woman in 2006.
Throughout the legal proceedings, the 67-year-old – who has been accused by nearly 100 women of either sexual harassment or misconduct – has maintained any sexual encounters were consensual.
Despite his denials, new records obtained by The Times show that Weinstein knew his behavior was wrong.
In 1990, an assistant at Miramax – the studio previously run by Weinstein – accused him of sexual assault.
John Schmidt, the company’s chief financial officer at the time, recalls that Weinstein admitted he had done ‘something terrible’ and said ‘I don’t know what got into me. It won’t happen again.’
Then two assistants, Rowena Chiu and Zelda Perkins, accused him of assaulting Chiu and Weinstein agreed to pay settlements in 1998.
The Times reports that he allegedly said, according to attorney notes: ‘I truly apologize for the pain I’ve caused you. Things confusing for me too.
‘You may not believe that. Sometimes don’t know when it’s consensual. Trying to learn. Maybe I don’t recognize my power in these situations.’
Weinstein had denied saying both statements – and the allegations of assault.
The Times says the two women at the center of the current trail, Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann, maintained contact with Weinstein after their alleged assaults and even agreed to have sex with them.
Prosecutors argue that this was how Weinstein’s preyed and asserted his dominance over the women he assaulted.
Haley, 42, accused Weinstein of assaulting her in 2006. But just two weeks after the incident, she signed an email with ‘Lots of love’.
She and the prosecution said she agreed to meet him in a hotel room two weeks later for sex because she was ‘trying to regain some sort of power or something’ and pretend the assault never happened.
Mann, who alleges she was raped by Weinstein, said the two had a ‘relationshhip’ for three years afterwards.
It allegedly alternated between consensual and nonconsensual sex, reported The Times, and prosecutors say she may have complied out of fear for her safety.
But the defense has argued that Weinstein was exploited and used by these women to advance their careers.
‘You don’t tell him you love him in 2016 and you are tired of being a booty call in 2017 and call him a predator in 2020,’ one of Weinstein’s attorney, Damon Cheronis, said in reference to message Mann sent to Weinstiein, reported The Times.