‘He made it absolutely clear this was not going to happen again and it didn’t'
From the editors of People
Words by Mike Miller
Brad Pitt threatened to beat up Harvey Weinstein after his then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow told him that the movie mogul had sexually harassed her.
Paltrow is one of dozens of women coming forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct, telling the New York Times that the movie mogul made unwanted advances towards her in a hotel room when she was 22. The encounter, which she says occurred after Weinstein hired her for the lead role in Emma, allegedly ended with him placing his hands on her and suggesting a massage.
Pitt, who was dating Paltrow at the time, confronted Weinstein about the incident at a Hollywood party around 1995, a source tells PEOPLE.
‘Brad threatened Harvey,’ says the source. ‘He got right in his face, poked him in the chest and said, “You will not ever do this to Gwyneth ever again.”’
The source adds that Pitt ‘made it clear there would be consequences’ if Weinstein tried anything again, and ‘described it as giving Harvey a “Missouri whooping.”’ (Pitt grew up in Springfield, Missouri.)
‘He made it absolutely clear this was not going to happen again and it didn’t,’ explains the source.
As for Weinstein’s response, the source says, ‘At first Harvey tried to explain, then he stopped and listened and got the message.’
The source notes that Pitt was not yet a major star at the time, and was ‘taking a big risk’ by confronting Weinstein: ‘He was a young guy in Hollywood taking a chance.’
Still, the source says, ‘He’s one of the only men in Hollywood who stood up and said something. That’s a fact.’
After the confrontation, Paltrow told the NYT that Weinstein called her and threatened her not to speak to anyone else about it. ‘I thought he was going to fire me,’ she told the paper. ‘He screamed at me for a long time. It was brutal.’
Paltrow, who would go on to win a Best Actress Oscar in 1999 for the Weinstein-produced Shakespeare in Love, ‘feels relieved and pleased to have spoken out,’ says the source.
Pitt also worked with Weinstein again, starring in Inglourious Basterds in 2009, which The Weinstein Company released and Harvey executive produced. Says the source: ‘He did Inglourious Basterds because of his relationship with Quentin Tarantino, and had nothing to do with Harvey.’
In the NYT report that ran last week, eight women — including actress Ashley Judd — spoke out against Weinstein, accusing him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour. The paper also reported that Weinstein reached private settlements with eight women, including actress Rose McGowan.
On Tuesday, a new story in The New Yorker revealed — among 13 different women’s accounts of alleged sexual harassment, assault or rape — that the mogul allegedly forcibly performed oral sex on Italian actress Asia Argento two decades ago. Actresses Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette also claimed that after rejecting Weinstein’s unwanted advances, they were removed from or kept from being hired for projects.
In response to the lengthy allegations made against Weinstein in the New Yorker piece, a spokesperson for Weinstein said, ‘Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.’
‘Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counselling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
On Sunday, Weinstein was removed from his powerhouse film studio in the wake of the publication of the allegations in the first New York Times report published last week.