Weinstein’s Accuser Reveals Video Of Apparent Harassment

Harvey Weinstein and attorney Benjamin Brafman arrive at State Supreme Court, June 5, 2018 in New York City. Weinstein is set to face an indictment on two counts of rape and is expected to plead not guilty. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

 

Video footage emerged Wednesday showing disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein apparently sexually harassing a woman who subsequently accused him of rape.

Melissa Thompson, who has previously publicly complained of abusive behaviour by Weinstein during a 2011 business meeting in New York, gave a tape of the encounter to Sky News.

Thompson told the station she had been offering her tech company’s video platform to the 66-year-old and recorded the meeting as part of the pitch.

Just hours later, Weinstein allegedly raped her in his hotel room, the woman told Sky News.

AFP reached out to Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman for comment but there was no immediate response.

He was quoted by US-based entertainment magazine People however as denying sexual misconduct by his client.

“Several respected journalists and trustworthy individuals have seen the entire video, as Ms. Thompson has been trying to promote it to for several months,” Brafman’s statement read, according to People.

“What they shared with us is that the video, when viewed in its entirety, in context and not in select excerpts, demonstrates that there is nothing forceful, but casual — if not awkward — flirting from both parties.”

The former Hollywood titan is seen in the video waving staff away with the words “don’t interrupt, don’t interrupt’ as he enters the meeting.

Thompson offers her hand but Weinstein goes in for a hug instead.

“That’s nice. Let’s keep it up. It’s not bad,” he says as he rubs her back.

“Am I allowed to flirt with you?” he is heard asking, and Thompson replies: “Um, we’ll see, a little bit.”

Naivety 

At one point on the recording, Weinstein reaches under a table and appears to move his arm up her leg.

“Let me have a little part of you. Give it to me. It’s okay, would you like to do it some more?” he can be heard saying.

“A little high, a little high, that’s a little high, that’s a little high,” Thompson replies.

Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women of a litany of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to rape.

He is out on bail and has pleaded not guilty in New York to six counts allegedly committed against three women in 2004, 2006 and 2013. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for September 20.

The allegations against the once-powerful movie mogul spurred the #MeToo movement that saw women worldwide speak up against sexual harassment and assault by men in powerful positions.

Thompson told Sky News Weinstein was “playing a cat-and-mouse game from the very beginning to see how far he could push me, and what my reactions might be so that he could gauge how he would play with (me), where my levers were, what were my vulnerabilities.”

She is seen watching the footage along with a Sky News reporter, and denies encouraging him, telling the channel: “I think there was a combination of confidence and naivety that led me to this dynamic that we see now, watching back.”

 ‘Trapped’ 

In the footage, Weinstein invites Thompson to join him at the Tribeca Grand Hotel lobby restaurant. She told Sky News she was expecting that this would be a follow-up meeting to close the deal.

“It wasn’t an invitation to go to his hotel room. It was an invitation to come to a hotel lobby that was within blocks of the office and so that to me felt much safer than being alone with him in his office,” she said.

When she arrived, Weinstein allegedly led her to his hotel room where she says he raped her.

“If I would try to fight myself away from him, he would then move around to a place where he could block me in,” Thompson said.

“I constantly felt trapped, no matter where I turned. He cornered me, over and over again.”

Thompson was part of a class action lawsuit against Weinstein filed in June in which she claimed the producer began to harass and fondle her, several US media outlets reported.

She reportedly claimed in court documents that Weinstein tried unsuccessfully to force her to perform oral sex on him before he pushed her on the bed and raped her.

But Brafman accused Thompson to trying to bolster her position in the lawsuit.

“Any suggestion of sexual misconduct is false. This is a further attempt to publicly disgrace Mr. Weinstein for financial gain, and we will not stand for it. Facts do matter,” the lawyer told People magazine.

AFP

Ex-Employee Accuses Michael Douglas Of Sexual Harassment

A former employee has accused Michael Douglas of sexual harassment and misconduct in her presence, charges the Oscar-winning Hollywood megastar has vehemently denied.

Douglas, 73, is the latest big-name celebrity accused of seamy behaviour since a sexual harassment watershed began with the downfall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in 2017.

The actor — Hollywood royalty as the son of actor Kirk Douglas — “thought he was the king of the world and that he could humiliate me without any repercussion,” writer Susan Braudy told NBC News in an interview.

Braudy has accused the double Oscar-winner of using sexually charged language and commenting on her body during the three years she worked at the actor’s New York office of Stonebridge Productions in the 1980s.

Braudy said his abusive behaviour culminated in 1989 during a work session in his apartment at the height of his career after he starred in hit movies including “Wall Street” and “Fatal Attraction.”

Douglas “slid down the floor, unbuckled his belt and put his hand inside his trousers and I could see what he was doing,” Braudy told NBC.

She said he then “sort of began to fondle himself, and I was very scared.”

Braudy, the author of two non-fiction books, said that she told several friends about the incident — and they urged her to stay quiet.

“One of my friends said you better not tell people about him. People were frightened for me,” she told NBC.

‘Disgruntled’ employee? 

Douglas got ahead of the allegations before they appeared in public, describing them to The Hollywood Reporter as “an unfortunate and complete fabrication.”

The actor told celebrity website Deadline in a January 9 interview: “I can’t believe that someone would cause someone else pains like this.”

“Maybe she is disgruntled her career didn’t go the way she hoped and she is holding this grudge,” he said.

Douglas said that Braudy had never complained — something she denied, even though she acknowledged never reporting the behaviour to the police because she said she did not realize at the time that it could be considered criminal behaviour.

Douglas’s second wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, whom he married in 2000, addressed the allegations in a guest appearance on ABC talk show “The View.”

She said she supported “110 percent” the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements against sexual misconduct.

“Michael came out with that preemptive statement. He was articulate, he said it from the heart, was honest, open and transparent. He now has to take the next step for where he goes from here,” she said.

“It happened 30 years ago, it was ‘B.C.’ — before Catherine,” she added to laughs.

On Friday, the Producers Guild of America published guidelines designed to prevent sexual harassment cases in the movie industry.

“As producers, we provide key leadership in creating and sustaining work environments built on mutual respect, so it is our obligation to change our culture and eradicate this abuse,” the PGA said in guidelines that went out to its 8,200 members.

AFP

Inefficiencies, Corruption In Ports Cost Nigeria N1trn Yearly- Report

Ports, Nigeria, Corruption, Delays
The report says without clear legislation, ports governance remains prone to inefficiency and corruption.

A report on the performance of Nigerian Ports has revealed that the country loses over N1 trillion every year to port inefficiencies, process failures and corruption.

The report titled ‘Nigeria: Reforming the Maritime Ports’ which was commissioned by the Centre for International Private Enterprises in collaboration with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Financial Derivatives Company, was publicly unveiled in Lagos on Friday at the LCCI public-private discussions on port reforms.

The report states that while the efficiency of port operations is a major driver of trade and economic activities across countries, Nigeria’s case has been rather gloomy.

It says over the years, users and operators at the Nigerian Ports have been facing lingering challenges and bottlenecks which include infrastructure shortcomings, policy and regulatory inconsistencies, overlapping functions and duplicity of roles among government agencies operating within ports across the country.

The report also pointed out that a lack of clear legislation, ports governance remains prone to inefficiency and corruption. It added that under such condition, companies in the Nigerian ports have to deal with bureaucratic red tape, constant delays, high costs, harassment, and demands for illegal
charges.

Losing Money And Potential

Estimates from the research show that trillions of Naira in revenue is lost annually within the ports and business community due to inefficiencies and inherent shortcomings.

The report also stated that these inadequacies at the ports diminish their potential to create about 10,000 new jobs annually and about 800,000 jobs on the long run.

Ports, Nigeria, Reforms
Multiplicity of security agencies add to the already high costs of doing business at the Nigerian ports.

The Issues

The Nigeria: Reforming the Maritime Ports report claimed that Nigerian seaports remain the most expensive in the West African sub-region attributing this to the cumbersome documentation requirements and double charges imposed
on importers and exporters.

Using a semi-structured survey, respondents of the study listed the documentation processes, requiring 25-33 different papers from
multiple agencies as the biggest issue contributing to time and cost delays at Nigeria’s seaports.

About one-fourth of the respondents also complained about the duplication of functions of the multiple agencies within the ports while 29% of those surveyed in the report say multiple cargo inspections are the most critical of operational bottlenecks.

port-2
An overview of the issues identified

 

Not All Doom

It is not all doom for the industry according to the report.

It stated that Nigeria’s ports continue to see substantial increment in gross tonnage by 3.3% – Compounded Annual Growth Rate – to 144.2 million tons between 2010 and 2015.

The annual growth rate of 1.8% is expected to rise until 2021 despite the challenges in the sector.

However, these growth projections are premised on the assumption that the nation’s ports will continue to be the preferred means of transporting goods in and out of the ECOWAS sub-region.

 

Call For Immediate Port Reforms

In its recommendations, the report pointed out that authorities should embark on immediate port reforms.

These reforms are expected to lead to faster clearance of goods, shorter waiting times for ships awaiting berth, eliminating redundancies in the functions of the several regulatory government agencies in the ports.

It also called for the adoption of an Integrated Advance Cargo and
customs clearance system, with scanning, sealing and tracking (SST)
capabilities, establishment  of a National Trade Data Centre and implementation of a Single Window Platform.

The report also called for more private sector investment in Nigerian Ports, reduction in the number of government agencies to 6 from 14.

From the policy end of things, report called for the immediate passage of certain legislative bills that will aid port reforms and improve performance.

These bill include the National Transport Bill and the Port and Harbour Bill (PHB).