Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein takes leave after sex harassment claims

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Oscar-winning movie producer Harvey Weinstein said he was taking a leave of absence from his company and seeking therapy after the New York Times reported on Thursday that he had been the target of sexual harassment complaints.

The New York Times reported that Weinstein, 65, had reached eight previously undisclosed settlements with women who made allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact.

The women included an actress, a model and two assistants and the allegations spanned almost 30 years, the newspaper reported.

“I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go,” Weinstein said in a statement to the New York Times that was also given to Reuters.

“I’ve brought on therapists and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on,” said Weinstein, whose Oscar-winning films include “Shakespeare in Love” and “Chicago.”

Reuters has not independently confirmed the New York Times report. Weinstein has not been charged with any crimes.

One of the women interviewed by the New York Times was “Double Jeopardy” actress and singer Ashley Judd.

The report cited Judd as saying that two decades ago she had a meeting with Weinstein in his Beverly Hills hotel room where he asked if he could give her a massage or if she could watch him shower.

Weinstein and his brother Bob formed independent movie studio Miramax in 1979. They later sold it and in 2005 set up The Weinstein Company.

Weinstein, who is married to Marchesa label fashion designer Georgina Chapman, is the latest U.S. media titan to be accused of sexual harassment.

The late Fox News chief Roger Ailes was forced out of the company in July 2016 after being accused of sexual harassment, which he denied.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Toni Reinhold)