Actress Lena Dunham and media mogul and veteran journalist Tina Brown have claimed they warned Hillary Clinton’s senior campaign staffers about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, yet they proceeded to work with the now-disgraced movie producer anyway.
Weinstein was a major Democratic party support and donor to Clinton’s unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign, and held two star-studded fundraisers in 2015 and 2016 to support both her primary and presidential campaign.
“I just want you to let you know that Harvey’s a rapist and this is going to come out at some point,” Dunham claims to have told Kristina Schake, the campaign’s deputy communications director, The New York Times reports. “I think it’s a really bad idea for him to host fund-raisers and be involved because it’s an open secret in Hollywood that he has a problem with sexual assault.”
Meanwhile, former Vogue and Newsweek editor Tina Brown claims she warned a member of Clinton’s inner circle that Weinstein’s sleaziness had “escalated.”
“I was hearing that Harvey’s sleaziness with women had escalated since I left Talk in 2002 and she was unwise to be so closely associated with him,” she told the Times in an email.
Clinton’s campaign claimed they were “shocked” by the allegations and that the campaign’s staff “wouldn’t forget” such a warning.
“We were shocked when we learned what he’d done,” Nick Merrill, Clinton’s communications director, told the Times. “It’s despicable behavior, and the women that have come forward have shown enormous courage. As to claims about a warning, that’s something staff wouldn’t forget.”
“Only she can answer why she would tell them instead of those who could stop him,” he added on the subject of Dunham’s claim.
The Times also notes that about a month before the first Weinstein exposé broke, Clinton’s attorney Robert Barnet was negotiating a Weinstein-backed documentary series about Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“Talks were ongoing until the allegations surfaced, at which point all discussions ceased—completely and permanently,” Barnet told the Times.
The accusations against Weinstein first surfaced in a bombshell New York Times report in October, and over 50 women have since alleged that they were victims of his sexual abuse, with allegations ranging from inappropriate behavior to rape.
Following the initial report, it took Hillary Clinton five days to break her silence on the allegations against Weinstein, in which she claimed to be “shocked and appalled” by his behavior.
Weinstein now remains under investigation by a Los Angeles Police Department’s special taskforce into sexual abuse across Hollywood, while the Manhattan District Attorney said their office was preparing an indictment against Weinstein on charges of rape.