Ivana Lowell, a Guinness heiress who worked for Harvey Weinstein at Miramax Books in the ‘90s, wondered if the disgraced movie mogul will live long enough for his sentencing.
“I wonder if Harvey will try to attempt a Jeffrey Epstein,” the writer wrote in a statement on her Facebook page Tuesday, referring to the financier and convicted sex offender who killed himself last year in his Manhattan jail cell.
“Those prison guards better stay awake on their watch this time,” she continued. “This whole sordid affair has left me feeling quite physically sick.”
The aristocrat, who previously dated younger brother Bob Weinstein, released a memoir in 2010 titled “Why Not Say What Happened?” which detailed how the Hollywood producer showed up to her apartment unannounced, lay naked on her bed and asked for a massage.
“When my book was first published, Harvey called me up, screaming, and said that I made him look like a pervert,” Lowell posted on Facebook in 2017, as reported by Page Six. “I replied ‘Yes, so?’ He threatened to sue me, and then both Harvey and Bob called me a liar.”
Looking back, Lowell admitted she had no idea how many women were impacted by Weinstein’s actions.
“As once part of the Miramax ‘family,’ I naively dismissed Harvey’s exploits as stupid shenanigans,” she described in her statement. “A joke really because the whole thing seemed so absurd at the time.”
“When he would ask for a massage or some other ridiculous request I would just tell him to ‘piss off’ and he would,” she continued. “But — and a big but — was that I didn’t need him or [there wasn’t] anything he could offer me. In fact, before he was well known as a producer he begged me to get him an invite at Swifty Lazar’s famous Oscar party, which wasn’t easy as Swifty had no idea who he was, but I somehow wangled it. However, listening to all the stomach-churning accounts from all his victims, I realize I was dealing with a really, really sick human being.”
Lowell said that while she doesn’t regret her time working at Miramax Books, she does wish there was a way she could have spoken out more about Weinstein’s actions early on.
“I don’t regret working at Miramax or getting to know his brother and his mother but I do feel somehow culpable in not speaking more at the time,” she explained. “I tried to when I wrote my memoir and the backlash from Harvey was really scary. He was going to sue me, come after me and call me a liar in the press.”
“I can’t say enough about the courage it must have taken for all the women who dared to say ‘me too,’” said Lowell. “I hope this sort of half-hearted verdict at least brings them some peace of mind.”
Weinstein was found guilty of a criminal sex act for assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006 and third-degree rape of a woman in 2013. The jury found him not guilty on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault, which could have resulted in a life sentence. He was ordered to jail by the judge immediately after the conviction.
The jury of seven men and five women handed down the verdict on Monday after five days of deliberating.
Weinstein has maintained any sexual encounters were consensual. Sentencing was set for March 11.
The case against Weinstein was built on three allegations: that he raped an aspiring actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013, that he forcibly performed oral sex on Haleyi, and that he raped and forcibly performed oral sex on "Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra in her apartment in the mid-1990s.
The case marks the only criminal trial to stem from the many accusations that came out about Weinstein following a bombshell expose written by Ronan Farrow in 2017 in which 13 women accused the now-disgraced movie mogul of sexual assault.
Since the bombshell reports made by The New York Times and The New Yorker, dozens of women have come forward with claims against Weinstein.
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of inappropriate to criminal behavior, from intimidating sexual advances to rape over the years. Weinstein has denied the accusations.
Rumors about Weinstein’s behavior swirled in Hollywood circles for a long time, but he managed to silence many accusers with payoffs, nondisclosure agreements and the constant fear that he could crush their careers if they spoke out.
Weinstein was finally arrested and led away in handcuffs in May 2018, seven months after the Times and The New Yorker exposed his alleged misconduct in stories that would win the Pulitzer Prize.
Weinstein, the product of a working-class family from Queens, N.Y., achieved success at two movie studios he created with his brother Bob: Miramax — named for their parents, Miriam and Max — and then the Weinstein Co.
The Weinstein Co. went bankrupt after his disgrace. A tentative settlement was reached last year to resolve nearly all lawsuits stemming from the scandal. It would pay Weinstein's alleged victims about $25 million. Under the proposed deal, Weinstein would not have to admit any wrongdoing or personally pay anything; the studio's insurance companies would cover the cost.
Weinstein’s efforts to silence his accusers and thwart journalists who sought to expose his secrets included hiring Black Cube, an Israeli spy agency staffed by former Mossad agents. Asked one day as he left court why he hired that firm, Weinstein turned to a reporter and said: “For days like this.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.