Harvey weinstein

Louis Theroux’s podcast reveals a master at work

I always want to know more about Louis Theroux, which is odd, since I’ve seen so much of him already. I’ve seen him hanging out with Nazis, auditioning for Broadway and undergoing liposuction. I’ve seen him chased by scientologists and given the runaround by Jimmy Savile. I’ve even seen him evading the insistent romantic advances of an American sex worker. Why am I still interested? Perhaps it’s that his personality veers close to seeming like an act. The otterish earnestness, the jerky, mannequin physicality. The spectacles that feel like a prop. There is something in me that wants to lift the lid on the real Louis Theroux, to sweep the

Too much photocopying but stick with it: The Assistant reviewed

First, the latest digital film release: The Assistant, starring Julia Garner in a slowly, slowly, catchy, catchy tale that won’t grab you from the off — I kept thinking: is anything actually going to happen? — but you must stick with it, you must. This is a film of quiet, cumulative power, which has much to say about serial sexual predators in the Harvey Weinstein mould, and how they get away with it. Or did. (Am hoping, praying, we can use the past tense now.) Garner plays Jane, who works for a Hollywood movie mogul, and events take place over the course of a single day. She gets into the

The joys of social isolation

No use datelining any more, I’m here for the duration. Even the ski lifts have been ordered to close: chiuso, geschlossen, fermé. The only way to ski now is the old-fashioned way, à la Hemingway: climb up with skins, peel them off, and enjoy the one and only run of the day. Not only is the climbing beneficial to one’s health, it’s also the only thing that’s free in good old Helvetia. Mind you, if too many people do it the Swiss will start charging for it. But for the moment, no one’s doing it as the snow has gone the way of women and children first in a sinking

Portrait of the week: Weinstein convicted, Harry and Meghan answer back, and coronavirus spreads in Europe

Home The government told Britons returning from 11 quarantined towns in northern Italy to isolate themselves, for fear of spreading Covid-19, the contagious coronavirus fever. Random testing began at 11 hospitals. Thirty British and two Irish passengers from the cruise ship Diamond Princess quarantined at Yokohama had been flown to Britain and sent for another fortnight’s quarantine in the Wirral. The price of first-class stamps is to go up on 23 March from 70p to 76p. The EU disclosed its negotiating position on a trade agreement with the United Kingdom, saying in a strange sing-song formula that it ‘should uphold common high standards, and corresponding high standards over time with

Why Bloomberg will be president

Gstaad I was not aware that there is a group of Spectator fans who meet in French-speaking Switzerland. They contacted me and we have agreed to meet up this week here in Gstaad. A very nice English voice informed me over the telephone of the existence of the group, asked if I was interested in speaking to it, and told me how long they have all been reading the dear old Speccie. My response was a resounding yes, and then I asked Michael Watts, the gentleman who rang me, if he was aware of my speaking fee. He was not. ‘Fifty thousand Swiss francs for 30 minutes,’ I told him

The Middle East for dummies

Gstaad   The French have a saying: ‘Il n’y a rien de plus bête que le sourire du gagnant.’ In other words, gloating is for dummies. Hence I won’t be doing it, despite the drubbing handed to the Bercows of this world by so-called common folk. Mind you, at a lunch in a gentlemen’s club in the Bagel on the very day the drubbing was being administered, an Anglo-American friend, Bartle Bull, asked me what I thought would be the outcome: ‘Hung parliament,’ answered the great electoral expert, ruining Bartle’s lunch and driving the rest of the guests to more drink. A month down the road, everything’s hunky-dory, at least

Alcohol is the perfect cure for deafness

New York   A busy ten days, or nights rather, with some heroic drinking thrown in for good measure. Hangovers discriminate against the old nowadays, but no one is doing anything about it — not in Washington, not in New York, not in London. Our former chairman Algy Cluff’s dinner party at a gentleman’s club, followed by an extremely funny speech given by him, started me boozing and things didn’t let up. One drinks to enhance an enjoyable evening, never to relieve boredom. Also one drinks when one can’t hear, as in extremely noisy New York restaurants. I made a big mistake recently, when I had Prince and Princess Pavlos

Why Simone de Beauvoir is my kind of woman

New York   A strange thing happened to me here in the Bagel last week. Having read the recent review of a biography of Susan Sontag in these here pages, my plan was to compare her with another feminist, Simone de Beauvoir (I have just finished an opus about Beauvoir, Paris and the Left Bank après la guerre). My money was on Simone, an extremely promiscuous and beautiful woman who was the first to raise the feminine flag against men’s oppression of the fairer sex. Beauvoir’s Second Sex, published in 1949, made her lots and lots of enemies, but it also established her as the number one female icon of

Best in show | 24 January 2019

The cast of Party Time includes John Simm, Celia Imrie, Ron Cook, Gary Kemp and other celebrities. They play a crew of posh thickos at a champagne party who chat away about private members’ clubs and adulterous affairs. In the background we hear of a ‘round-up’ involving the arrest and perhaps the murder of the government’s political foes. This is a short play with little spectacle, movement or psychological depth. Once the party-goers have been introduced, the script glazes over entirely. The actors form a line at the front of the stage, like glammed-up waxworks, and take turns at injecting their speeches with irony and humour in the hope of

Portrait of the year | 13 December 2018

January Four young men were stabbed to death in London as the New Year began. The Crown Prosecution Service was to review rape cases, after several prosecutions collapsed when evidence was not disclosed to the defence. Carillion went into liquidation. London Zoo delayed its annual stock take after a fire killed an aardvark called Misha. Turkish forces shelled the Kurdish enclave of Afrin. The supreme court of Iceland upheld an import tariff on potato chips of 76 per cent. The Grand Mufti of Egypt said that bitcoin was forbidden by Islam. California legalised recreational cannabis. February The Charity Commission launched an inquiry into Oxfam staff paying for prostitutes in Haiti

High life | 15 February 2018

#MeToo! It happened right here, in Gstaad, last week. A man in his mid-fifties, about six foot tall and 165lb, grabbed me forcibly by the neck, pushed my head down, and then slid his hand between my legs. He continued to do so in a very dominating and aggressive way — he could have passed for Kevin Spacey, but with his own hair — pulling at my thighs, clawing at my chest, always drawing me closer and closer while breathing heavily on my neck. I couldn’t move my head, so I finally succumbed and lay back. He then stretched himself on top of me and held me tight. I had

The #metoo movement has an icy heart

On rolls the Harvey Weinstein horror show with no finale in sight. The next episode looks likely to star Uma Thurman, who’s waiting for the right moment, she says, to tell her own Harvey story. Hollywood waits for Uma and I wait for Robert De Niro, who said of Donald Trump: ‘He’s a dog, he’s a pig, a mutt.’ If groping makes you mad, Rob, why so silent about friend Harvey? Weinstein is clearly a slimeball predator. I hope the great wave of feminist outrage washes all the Harveys clean away, out of Tinseltown, out of Washington, out of Westminster. But running alongside the Weinstein drama is another trickier case

Matthew Parris

The sex scandal is what psychologists call ‘displacement activity’

There are three reasons why Britain’s political and media world finds itself in the present ludicrous uproar over sexual misbehaviour at Westminster, and only one of them has anything to do with sexual misbehaviour. But let us start with that. And, first, a caveat. Can there be an organisation anywhere in discovered space which, subjected to the intense media scrutiny that the House of Commons now attracts, would not generate a comparable stock of report and rumour? Imagine a workplace — indeed imagine a workplace like our own august Spectator offices – peopled by a lively mixture of creatives, eccentrics, wannabes, rascals, saints, absolute bricks, total pricks and drones. Now

Diary – 9 November 2017

It’s remarkable how fast the unthinkable becomes the expected. It felt almost routine to pick up the New York Post last Sunday morning and see the front page mocked up as a wanted poster for Harvey Weinstein and the news that the NYPD is preparing to arrest him for alleged rape. Between the daily barrage of Trump’s lies and excesses and the sexual harassment tsunami, America has outrage overload. The result is that all the predations, political or sexual or both, come close to drowning each other out. Already Weinstein’s legal advocates are test-driving the theory that the Harvey ‘pile-on’ is really about Trump — that thwarted feminist fury at

So what attracted you to that powerful man?

Somewhere towards the end of the 1980s I was suddenly promoted three grades upwards in my job at the BBC; a bit like going from the middle of the old fourth division to the top of the Championship. Yay. The immediate consequences were more money, more power and almost endless opportunities for sexual intercourse. Women who had hitherto been averagely amiable work colleagues became much friendlier — and in a very different way. It was as if I’d been transformed overnight from Marty Feldman into Orlando Bloom. What a delightful period of my life that was. I was happily reminded of it when the actor Martin Clunes stepped into the

Lara Prendergast

The sexual reformation

Nell Minow, an American film critic, recently described how in 2010 she had interviewed the Friends actor David Schwimmer. When the noise in the restaurant grew too loud, he asked her whether she might like to move to a room upstairs with him, and if so, would she like a chaperone present. She praised him for this behaviour. ‘He understood what it is like to have to be constantly on the alert and he wanted to make sure I understood I was safe.’ When I read Minow’s story, my reaction was to think what a patronising arse Schwimmer must be. A woman journalist shouldn’t need a chaperone when she is

Women need to free themselves from permanent victimhood

If there is one thing the reactions to the Harvey Weinstein accusations have confirmed, other than the common knowledge that human beings are corruptible and will sometimes try to exploit their position of superiority, it is feminism’s obsession with men in power. When confronted with Björk’s accusations of sexual harassment by Danish director Lars von Trier on the set of Dancer in the Dark, Trier’s producer, Peter Aalbæk, rejected the claim, maintaining that if anyone was to be made responsible for harassment it was the singer, who, he claimed, had been bossing the two men around. The online response to this male perspective on Björk as a dominant female was outraged

Why lambast Michael Gove for the Weinstein joke – and not Neil Kinnock?

Michael Gove has a good line in risqué jokes, not all of which ought to be broadcast – as he demonstrated this morning when he used an appearance on the Today programme to compare being interviewed by John Humphrys to being in Harvey Weinstein’s bedroom: ‘Sometimes I think going into the studio with you John is a bit like going into Harvey Weinstein’s bedroom. You just pray you emerge with your dignity intact.’ Cue entirely predictable outrage and apology from Gove. Apologies for my clumsy attempt at humour on R4 Today this morning -it wasn't appropriate. I'm sorry and apologise unreservedly — Michael Gove (@michaelgove) October 28, 2017 But while

Diary – 19 October 2017

New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Raleigh, Dallas… I’m on a book tour in Donald Trump’s USA, which feels much like the USA I’ve visited many times before. The tour doesn’t go to any of the so-called ‘rust belt’ cities where Trump has his main support and the people I meet are quietly shocked, apologetic — as if their President is an elderly relative who has displayed horrible manners at the table. Washington is such a handsome, classical city, with its free museums and wonderful collections of art, that I feel a stab of pain as I drive past the White House and think about the man inside. A single protestor stands

High life | 19 October 2017

I may have spoken too soon last week when I defended my old friend Harvey Weinstein. It now looks very bad for him, with even Hillary Clinton joining the Greek chorus condemning him. It is not just boorish behaviour towards the fairer sex that he now stands accused of; it is also rape, something that he and his lawyers strenuously deny. Mind you, I’ve always thought that someone was innocent until proven guilty — but that does not appear to be the case in these hyper-feminist times. And the idea that Bill and Hillary were unaware of Harvey’s shenanigans — not to mention the sleazy bunch that is Hollywood —