15 Dec 2017

Sir Peter Jackson labels Weinstein 'mafia'

12:48 pm on 15 December 2017

Sir Peter Jackson has accused disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of a smear campaign that led him to blacklist the actresses Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino.

Sir Peter Jackson showing media around the Great War exhibition in Dominion Museum,Wellington.

Sir Peter Jackson Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

In a statement, Sir Peter said the Weinstein brothers - Harvey and Bob - behaved like "second-rate Mafia bullies" when he dealt with their company Miramax in the 1990s, in the early days of production for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

He said Salma Hayek's account of what happened to her was horrific and, long ago, he made a decision not to work with Harvey Weinstein.

Mirimax distributed Sir Peter's Heavenly Creatures but they were not directly involved in its production.

"Although his name had to be on the Lord of the Rings credits for contractual reasons, he was not involved in the movies we ended up making. I vaguely remember bumping into him at some award show or premiere at the time of their release, but it's been 20 years since my last interaction of any substance with Harvey Weinstein.

"My experience, when Miramax controlled the Lord of the Rings (before New Line took it over) was of Weinstein and his brother behaving like second-rate Mafia bullies. They weren't the type of guys I wanted to work with - so I haven't.

"Movie making is much more fun when you work with nice people."

Sir Peter said he had no direct knowledge of the sexual allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

"I've recently read accounts of how Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino repelled Harvey Weinstein's sexual advances, and they both allege that he damaged their careers as a result. I do remember that when we were developing the Lord of the Rings with Miramax, we expressed interest in both actors. And I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. This was probably in 1998.

"At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us - but in hindsight, I realise that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing. I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women - and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list."

Film producer Harvey Weinstein

Film producer Harvey Weinstein Photo: AFP

Dozens of actresses - including Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow - have accused Mr Weinstein of harassment or assault.

He denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.

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