- Evan Agostini/Getty Images
- Lena Dunham and Tina Brown told the New York Times that they warned Hillary Clinton’s campaign about Harvey Weinstein’s “sleaziness” and said not to work with him.
- The Clintons’ relationship with Weinstein goes back decades, and they had been working on a documentary until Weinstein’s scandal broke, the Times said.
- The Clinton campaign denies ever being warned.
Actress and writer Lena Dunham and former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown both say they warned members of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign against associating with Harvey Weinstein.
In a massive New York Times investigation, titled “Weinstein’s Complicity Machine,” over 200 interviews weave together the story of how Weinstein managed to live as a high profile Hollywood producer amid swirling rumors of sexual misconduct.
The article demonstrates how Weinstein allegedly used his money, power, and connections to silence anyone who would dare to out him. It also shows how the Clintons were linked to Weinstein’s network.
Weinstein gave money to Bill Clinton’s 1998 legal defense during his impeachment trial, and had been working on a documentary about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election loss up until his scandal broke, according to the Times.
Though Clinton said she was “shocked and appalled” by the revelations about Weinstein, who she had known for decades, Dunham and Brown both said they told her campaign to distance herself from the producer.
This was strongly denied by the Clinton campaign. “We were shocked when we learned what he’d done. It’s despicable behavior, and the women that have come forward have shown enormous courage. As to claims about a warning, that’s something staff wouldn’t forget,” said communications director Nick Merrill.
The Times report included an excerpt from an email Brown sent to a member of “Clinton’s inner circle.” It said: “I was hearing that Harvey’s sleaziness with women had escalated since I left Talk in 2002 and she was unwise to be so closely associated with him.”
Brown worked with Weinstein on Talk magazine between 1999 and 2002.
Dunham’s warning was verbal, the Times reported. “I just want you to let you know that Harvey’s a rapist and this is going to come out at some point,” Dunham reportedly told Kristina Schake, the Clinton campaign’s deputy communications director.
“I think it’s a really bad idea for him to host fund-raisers and be involved because it’s an open secret in Hollywood that he has a problem with sexual assault,” she reportedly added.
Dunham has faced her own backlash in recent weeks after she came to the defense of Murray Miller (a writer and executive producer for her show “Girls”) after actress Aurora Perrineau filed a police report alleging that Miller raped her.
In a a statement with her co-creator, Dunham said they believed the allegations were false, and that they stood by Murray. Following instense criticism, Dunham apologized: “We regret this decision with every fiber of our being.”