Harvey Weinstein’s British wife has announced she is leaving him as the scandal surrounding the disgraced Hollywood producer deepened.
In a statement to People magazine, fashion designer Georgina Chapman described her husband’s behaviour as “unforgivable”. The news comes just hours after two of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, both claimed they had been sexually harassed by Weinstein – the latest in a string of women to make allegations against him.
Meanwhile Barack and Michelle Obama became the latest high-profile figures to condemn the producer, saying they were “disgusted” by the reports. Ms Chapman told People: “My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions.
“I have chosen to leave my husband. Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time.”
Weinstein, 65, and Chapman, 41, a designer for high-end womenswear brand Marchesa, married in 2007 and have two children together, daughter India Pearl, seven, and son Dashiell, four. She is Weinstein’s second wife.
On Tuesday Paltrow and Jolie joined a growing list of stars accusing the producer of sexual harassment, which has seen him dismissed from the Weinstein Company, which he co-founded.
Weinstein has rejected many of the allegations and issued a vehement denial over three allegations of rape which emerged on Tuesday. Speaking to the New York Times, Paltrow claimed Weinstein summoned her to his suite at a Beverly Hills hotel after he had hired her as a lead for 1996 hit Emma. She said he placed his hands on her and suggested they head to the bedroom for massages.
She told the New York Times: “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” adding she confided in her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt who confronted Weinstein which led to him threatening her not to tell anyone else.
“I thought he was going to fire me,” Paltrow told the publication.
Pulp Fiction star Rosanna Arquette and French actress Judith Godreche made similar accusations, according to the New York Times – while Jolie said he made unwanted advances on her in a hotel room. In an email statement to the publication, Jolie said: “I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did. “This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”
Mr Obama released a statement on Tuesday to say the former president and first lady were “disgusted” by the reports about Weinstein. He added: “Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.
“We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories.
“And we all need to build a culture – including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect – so we can make such behaviour less prevalent in the future.”
Following the further allegations, high profile women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred issued a challenge to Weinstein to provide “justice” for his accusers through an independent arbitration or confidential mediation. Allred was speaking alongside former actress Louisette Geiss, who claimed Weinstein begged her to watch him masturbate at a hotel during Sundance festival in 2008.
It came after three women alleged that Weinstein had raped them in an article in The New Yorker.
Actress Asia Argento and a former actress Lucia Evans went on the record to allege Weinstein forced himself on them sexually. A third woman spoke anonymously.
In a statement to the New York Times, his spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister said: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein.” The producer had issued an apology for his behaviour prior to the rape allegations surfacing, saying he appreciated that the way he had behaved with colleagues in the past “has caused a lot of pain” and that he realised he “needed to be a better person”.
Stars including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Dame Judi Dench and Benedict Cumberbatch have thrown their support behind the women accusing him of sexual harassment, while Ben Affleck said reading the rape allegations made him “sick”.