Harvey Weinstein has angered his accusers with what they see as a self-pitying interview from hospital, in which he claimed he had done more to promote women professionally than anyone else in Hollywood.
“I feel like the forgotten man,” the 67-year-old said.
“I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago. I’m not talking about now when it’s vogue. I did it first! I pioneered it!”
Speaking to The New York Post on Friday from a hospital, where he had been operated on for back problems, Weinstein refused to answer any questions about the accusations against him. He is due to go on trial on January 6 on charges of rape and sexual assault, which he denies.
He also complained to the newspaper that his work in the film industry has been ignored.
“It all got eviscerated because of what happened,” he said. “My work has been forgotten.’’
Weinstein was released from hospital on Sunday.
His comments were greeted with scorn by some of the scores of women who have accused him of sexual harassment, rape and assault.
Twenty-three of them, including actors Rosanna Arquette, Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, signed a statement accusing Weinstein of “trying to gaslight society again” – meaning attempting to manipulate by presenting false information.
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“He says in a new interview he doesn’t want to be forgotten. Well, he won’t be,” the women said.
“He will be remembered as a sexual predator and an unrepentant abuser who took everything and deserves nothing.
“He will be remembered by the collective will of countless women who stood up and said enough. We refuse to let this predator rewrite his legacy of abuse.”
McGowan, one of the first women to publicly speak out against Weinstein, claiming he sexually assaulted her in a hotel in 1997, described him as a “prolific rapist”.
“I didn’t forget you, Harvey,” she tweeted. “My body didn’t forget you. I wish it could.”
The 46-year-old actress – who won a $300,000 settlement from Weinstein over her accusations of abuse – continued: “I refused to sign an NDA after it happened because I knew I would come for you. And I did. This is about stopping a prolific rapist. You.”
Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
A lawyer for three women who have accused Weinstein described his interview as a “public relations stunt” and a “complete failure to accept responsibility.”
Douglas H Wigdor, who represents actress Wedil David and two Jane Does, one of whom will testify at Weinstein’s upcoming criminal trial, attacked his “horrific actions, his complete failure to accept responsibility, and his recent efforts to force survivors to accept an inadequate and paltry civil settlement.”
Last week Weinstein’s lawyers were reported to have reached a $25 million settlement with more than 30 women who have accused him, in a civil case, of sexual misconduct. Weinstein himself does not have to admit wrongdoing, and will not pay any money himself as it will all be funded by insurance.
Mr Wigdor’s three clients have refused to accept the settlement, which could derail the process before a final agreement is reached.