Actress Renée Zellweger has responded to claims that Harvey Weinsten said she swapped sexual favours with him for film roles, after the Bridget Jones’ Diary actress was named in a class-action suit filed earlier this week by six women against the Hollywood producer.
On Wednesday the suit was filed against the shamed movie mogul by the women who are alleging Miramax, The Weinstein Company and its board conspired alongside Weinstein to“perpetuate and conceal widespread sexual harassment and assault”.
In a joint statement, the six plaintiffs said: “We are but six women representing hundreds. Dozens have come forward so far, and many more remain in the shadows, still trying to find their courage.”
In it, one woman – named in the document as actress Melissa Sagemiller – claimed Weinstein, 65, tried to talk her into having sex with him, allegedly trying to convince her he could aid in furthering her career in a similar way like he had Zellweger.
According to Sagemiller, he then asked: “Don’t you want your career to be more than just this little teen film?”
In a statement to Fox News, a rep for 48-year-old Zellweger denied the claims, saying: “If Harvey said that, he’s full of s**t.”
Before this, the actress had not publicly commented on the widespread claims in regards to Weinstein, after reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker were released in October alleging decades of sexual misconduct by the Hollywood mogul.
Since then more than 50 women have come forward accusing Weinstein of sexual assault or harassment.
Zellweger first worked with the producer on the 1998 film A Price Above Rubies and the two went on to collaborate on successful Hollywood films such as Bridget Jones’ Diary, Chicago and Cold Mountain – for which she won an Oscar in 2004.
In her acceptance speech, she thanked her “friends at Miramax, especially Harvey”.
Not only focusing on Zellweger, earlier this week The New York Times reported Weinstein also allegedly told one woman who accused the former producer of sexually assaulting her in 2000 that he was also intimate with Gwyneth Paltrow, while another – who has accused Weinstein of assaulting her in 2004 – alleged he kept a framed photo of Paltrow in his bedroom.
The Shakespeare In Love actress previously told the Times that Weinstein put his hands on her and suggested he give her a massage, which many other women have claimed the producer asked them to do in their own allegations.
Paltrow said: “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified.”
In response, her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt confronted Weinstein and, according to Paltrow, who was 22 at the time, the producer “screamed at (her) for a long time”.
In response to Weinstein’s alleged claims, Paltrow told the Times: “He’s not the first person to lie about sleeping with someone. But he used the lie as an assault weapon.”