Attorney Lisa Bloom is well-known for her representation of women who have accused high-profile men, including Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, and Donald Trump, of sexual assault and harassment.
So she surprised many by announcing her representation of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in the wake of a bombshell report published by The New York Times on Thursday exposing three decades of sexual harassment and abuse allegations against Weinstein.
Bloom, appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday, said that Weinstein has “behaved badly” towards women over the years and is “genuinely remorseful,” despite his $US50 million lawsuit against The New York Times for what his attorney Charles Harder called “false and defamatory statements” in the story. (Bloom is not representing Weinstein in any lawsuit).
Bloom admitted that some of Weinstein’s behaviour was “gross,” but argued that “his biggest problem is anger,” which she says he’s been in therapy for for a decade.
Bloom said she was glad that the women, including former female employees and actress Ashley Judd, have come forward with their allegations.
“This is not about attacking any of the women,” she said. “I’m glad they come forward, I encourage them to come forward.”
Bloom, who got to know Weinstein about a year ago after he optioned her book “Suspicion Nation” about the Trayvon Martin trial for a documentary miniseries, said that Weinstein is reforming his behaviour.
She said she addressed the rumours that have “swirled around him for a long time” and that he approached her before the Times published its story, asking for help.
“What do you do if you have behaved badly for 30 years?” Bloom asked. “Are you going to continue or are you going to start a different approach? That’s what he’s doing.”
Bloom said she told Weinstein to “throw out the old playbook” and, rather than attack the women who come forward, “admit what you’ve done wrong, apologise and let’s have your actions speak for themselves.”
Weinstein, who is taking a leave of absence from The Weinstein Company following the Times story, said in a Thursday statement that his past behaviour with colleagues “has caused a lot of pain” and that is committed to changing. In the last paragraph of his statement he pivoted to a critique of the National Rifle Association and said that he began organising a foundation to support women directors a year ago.
When ABC host George Stephanopoulos expressed the surprise that many feel at Bloom coming to Weinstein’s defence, she argued that she has long wanted to approach the issue of sexual assault from the side of the accused.
“I’ve done a lot of cases on behalf of women and I’ve often thought, ‘Gee, I wish I could get on the other side and smack that guy around a little bit, verbally,'” Bloom said. “Here was an opportunity of a guy saying, ‘Lisa, what should I do? I have behaved badly.’ I’m like, ‘Good. I’m going to tell you what to do: be honest, be real.'”
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