It was a surreal encounter, even before Harvey Weinstein mentioned the allegations of rape.
Weinstein was meeting with two attorneys. One, he was trying to undermine: Thomas Ajamie, a Texas trial lawyer, was investigating a highly unusual financial transaction involving Weinstein and the American Foundation for AIDS Research, a nonprofit founded in the early ’80s to help find a cure for AIDS. The other, he’d recently managed to co-opt: Lisa Bloom, a lawyer known for representing victims of sexual harassment. Weinstein had recently agreed to option Bloom’s book about the Trayvon Martin case. But what Ajamie, and the public, didn’t know at the time was that Bloom was also one of Weinstein’s lawyers. Bloom, who had become known for parading victims of sexual harassment out in front of cameras, was now working with a man who would soon be exposed as a sexual predator.
The three were in Park City, Utah, at the Sundance Film Festival this past January, and for two hours they had what two sources later described as a “rambling” conversation. Weinstein held forth on subjects ranging from the professional to the personal. The verypersonal. At one point, Weinstein declared he’d had “sex with many women in Hollywood.” It was a common boast for him. Fifteen women who have had encounters with Weinstein have told me that he would often rattle off a laundry list of famous women he has slept with.
Ajamie asked Weinstein, who is married, if he was admitting to cheating. Weinstein said he was, and that having sex with famous women in Hollywood was to be expected, that he was a “powerful guy” and that “everyone wants an Academy Award.”