Harvey Weinstein was a very sought after dinner guest back in the days before he was a convicted rapist. Mind you, he and I started out as mortal enemies, over a woman, needless to say. I won the first skirmish although I didn’t know it at the time. (The lady went home with me and Harvey badmouthed me to her.) Once I found that out I wrote in my New York Post column of the time that Weinstein was an enemy of good manners and good tailoring. He found it funny and approached me at a party I was giving with Michael Mailer in a downtown New York tavern. As he was known as a brawler, I stood up and got ready to rumble. But it was not to be. He graciously put out his hand and told me in front of witnesses that I had never done him any harm and that he wanted to be friends. And we have been ever since. That was 15 years or so ago.
Despite the friendship, Michael and I watched Harvey rather closely at our annual Christmas parties, but he never put a foot wrong. He hit on every girl he met, but politely. His method was simple and direct. ‘Would you like to be in the movies?’ he’d ask, ‘here’s my card.’ He’d then move on. I don’t know why but Michael and I were leery of him. Still, as I said, he always behaved graciously if a bit too hungrily.
After the allegations against him came tumbling in, I got a call from his office. Usually he kept one waiting on line after his assistant announced that he wished to speak to whomever it was he called. It was standard Hollywood manners. The small timer waited for the big timer. Not this time. He came on just as she got off and asked me if I could come and see him in his office. I said yes and that was it. When I got there, a very pretty young German took me upstairs where Harvey was sitting with his lawyer of the time, Brad Brafman.
Simply put, Harvey gave an account which if true would have demolished a couple of stories that women had put out as to how destroyed they were by him, pointing out that a few nights after, one had been seen necking and going home with another man. He thought that this would discredit her story and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the sisterhood was not going to let a detail like that derail their plan to put him away for good and throw away the key. I spent couple of hours listening to him and among the things he said was that I was well born and nice looking whereas he was born poor and ugly and that only once he made it in Hollywood did the girls come around.
I later wrote about our meeting for Spectator USA and Harvey rang me from New York — I was in Gstaad — crying over the telephone that what I had written would be used against him in court and had his nice lawyer also on the line asking me to not to ruin their case by revealing these details as we already have enough problems. I didn’t think that I had done his cause any harm, but both Freddy Gray and Fraser Nelson took my word that I was rescinding what I had written because I did not wish to kick a man who was already down. I remember a woman ringing me from the New York Times. I said I do not deal with purveyors of fake news and I hung up. I spoke to couple of other American papers but they were not convinced I took it down in order to avoid being nasty to a fallen man. Such are the joys of modern journalism.
The fact was that my editors believed me, and even Harvey sent me a note thanking me for saying I may have misconstrued his meaning.
Now he’s guilty. The females in my household are hoping Harvey ends up in prison for life. I do not. And that’s not because I’m a man, but because I think I know what most women would have done in the place of the accusers: not gone near his bedroom, or run away the moment he disappeared in his bathroom and emerged in a robe. The fact that most accusers kept in touch with the ‘monster’ give me more pause. Last but not least, his very close friends like Oprah Winfrey and Meryl Streep must have known what he was up to all that time, yet they only came out against him after he got caught. If I were a betting man, which I am, Harvey is going down for a very long time. Morally he’s guilty as hell, and legally too, now. But I’m not sure about the rest. I do not trust or believe Hollywood women.