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‘I’ve no desire to see him in prison… I feel like he’s in hell’ – the Irish woman who helped bring down Harvey Weinstein

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Laura Madden, a former employee of Weinstein, was in hospital in Wales, having surgery related to breast cancer, in those first days of #MeToo. Now, two years on, I am sitting with the petite Co Monaghan-born 49-year-old in a London hotel, as she looks back on that time. “I was in a ward in a tiny little regional hospital and I was listening to other women, mostly older women, talking about it,” she remembers. “And I hate to say it, but they were talking about those ‘ghastly actresses, who’d just do anything for money’.”

Madden, who is softly spoken and unfailingly polite, didn’t interrupt or contradict the other women on the ward. She didn’t tell them about her crucial role in the story that had brought down Weinstein. She was tired and drained post-surgery but, just days earlier, she had made the bravest decision of her life, agreeing to go on the record with an allegation of assault against Harvey Weinstein. She and the actor Ashley Judd were the only two women to do so at that point.

Kantor and Twohey have now written She Said, a book outlining the behind-the-scenes machinations that led to the publication of that first article, laying bare Madden’s stoic gutsiness in the process. Kantor and Twohey had spoken to several women who had allegedly been assaulted by Weinstein but most couldn’t talk publicly because they were bound by nondisclosure agreements. Others feared for their reputations and relationships. But Madden, the mother of three girls, agreed to be named, even as she faced breast surgery. At the time, she sent an email to Kantor explaining her decision. “I feel I am speaking out on behalf of women who can’t because their livelihoods or marriages might be affected,” she wrote. Madden had never signed a non-disclosure agreement but even so, it wasn’t a straightforward decision. “The reason for not going on the record was the fear of being sued, the fear that this big, bad, powerful man was going to take you down,” she tells me, two years on. “I don’t have resources. I was struggling financially, a single mum. Then there’s that terrible fear of your career being reframed.”





Weinstein in court earlier this year

She discussed the move with her older daughters. “Speaking to my children was a big moment, realising that young women were still having to deal with this predatory behaviour. It wasn’t just a pattern in Hollywood, it was pattern that was happening everywhere,” she says. “And rather than being shocked and disgusted, [my daughters] were proud and said, ‘Now we can talk to you about what’s going on in our lives.’ That made me feel like I had a duty. If my name was needed, then I’d do it.”

Reading She Said, it becomes clear just how disturbing Madden’s allegations are. In the original New York Times article, the journalists wrote that Weinstein “prodded her for massages” and that she once locked herself in a bathroom to escape his overtures. In the book, there are new, distressing details. In 1992, Madden was 21 and working on Into the West, which was produced by Weinstein’s Miramax. There was a job going in the London Miramax office and she’d been suggested for the role. A meeting with Weinstein was set up at a hotel; Madden struggles to remember the details but is almost certain she visited him at The Shelbourne on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green. When she arrived at the hotel room for the interview, Weinstein was wearing a bathrobe.

He ordered Madden to take off her clothes and eventually she did. According to She Said: “Weinstein stood over her, naked and masturbating. ‘I was lying on the bed and felt terrified and compromised and out of my depth,’ she wrote. She asked him to leave her alone. But he kept making sexual requests… Weinstein suggested a shower and Madden was so numb she gave in. As the water poured around them, he continued masturbating and Madden cried so hard that the producer eventually seemed annoyed and backed off, she said. That was when she locked herself in the bathroom, still sobbing. She thought she could hear him masturbating on the other side of the door.” After the alleged assault, she called her parents in Co Monaghan. “I didn’t tell them the full extent of what happened because I couldn’t bring myself to say those words,” she says plaintively. Her father wanted to come to Dublin to confront Weinstein but that, she says, was “never going to happen”.

“It never occurred to me to go to the police,” she says. “And it never occurred to anyone who I told. That’s quite telling of the time, isn’t it?”

Madden grew up in a stately home in Monaghan, a place that had been in her family for centuries. The surroundings were impressive but, as Kantor and Twohey put it, “there was no great fortune left” and her parents ran the house as a hotel. Madden went to primary school in nearby Clones and secondary school in Monaghan, before arriving in Dublin for two years of boarding school at St Columba’s College. She is Irish but she says, “I’m always hesitant to say I’m Irish because I don’t sound Irish.”

After she finished secondary-school, she got work on a film being made in nearby Cavan, The Playboys, starring Robin Wright and Aidan Quinn. Madden had been planning to become a landscape designer but she loved working on set. “I got the movie bug and became keen to work in film, and ended up working as an assistant on Into the West,” she says. “There was a job going in the London office and everyone wanted me to have that job, and this would be an opportunity to meet the boss and finalise that.”

The very first time she met Weinstein was in that Dublin hotel room. (Weinstein denies all the charges of rape and assault that have been made against him.) “I walk into a room thinking I’m going in to talk about a job and I walk out of that room, however many hours later, feeling utter, devastated shame,” she says quietly.

After the incident in the hotel room, Madden took the job in the London office. She reasoned with herself that she wouldn’t see Weinstein very often. “He apologised and the fact that he worked in America and this was a London job – I felt a bit more protected,” she says. The job always felt “tainted”, however: “I never felt that I got the job through merit.”

Even all these years later, she struggles with her decision. “It’s a question I’m always asked,” she says. “‘Why did you take the job?’ And it is hard to answer -because I have conflicting feelings. Part of me feels, ‘Why the f**k should you lose everything? Your job, your livelihood, your ambition.’ And another part of me feels that there is a sense of collusion staying and not speaking.” She looks at me squarely. “It’s unfair that women – again – have to justify everything.”

She worked for Weinstein for six years in total, spending most of her twenties at Miramax. “I was burnt out watching [Weinstein’s] tactics and the bullying,” she says. “You watch the naked ambition of other people who accept that behaviour. I found that really hard. I found navigating that hard. I felt quite broken working there.”

She is hazy on details and I ask her if she thinks she might be blocking out that period because of the trauma she suffered. “100pc,” she says. “Absolutely. I really buried it, I didn’t talk about it, I became quite depressed in my twenties and I’m sure a lot of it was to do with feeling those feelings, feelings of shame, of humiliation.

“I didn’t have the career that I would like to have had,” she says, acknowledging how working for Weinstein affected her.

“I didn’t look like someone who was struggling,” she admits, pointing out that people who knew her would have described her as ‘fiery’. “But it takes its toll internally. It has had far-reaching effects in terms of where my life has gone and the choices I’ve made.”

Towards the end of her twenties, she met the actor and director Kevin Allen while she was working in LA. They got married and started a family, and eventually moved back to the family estate in Monaghan, where he ran the Flat Lake arts festival in the late noughties. She had left the film industry behind and they had an “amazing existence in the countryside in Ireland – we had pigs, the kids had this rural life”. Things were precarious, financially, though, and Allen moved to Swansea for work. Soon afterwards, Madden and the children followed. Divorce and a diagnosis of breast cancer came later.

“I got breast cancer and my marriage ended, and during all of this I got a message from an ex-assistant of Harvey’s,” Madden recalls. “She calls me, saying, ‘Hey Laura, how are you? Just thought I’d catch up. Have you had any strange phone calls from any journalists? There are cockroach journalists sniffing around for stories. But we had such a great experience; we were one big, happy family.'”

Madden was outraged: “I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is unbelievable. She thinks she can manipulate me – again.’ Their tentacles can reach across decades.” When Kantor contacted her, she was ready to talk.

There is a sense that The New York Times investigation and everything that came after it is allowing her to work through past traumas. “It’s transformed a bad experience into a…” She trails off, searching for the best way to describe it. “Well, not a good experience but it’s given it… not closure, but it’s been able to turn it into something that is positive.”

She is keen to talk to the Irish press as she feels “very strongly that the book has a real audience in Ireland”: “Because of all the institutional abuse – in the Catholic Church and the Magdalene laundries and all those structures. It’s been such a hushed subject for decades and now Ireland has moved on so much.”

Weinstein will go to trial in New York in January facing two charges of rape (unrelated to Madden’s allegations). Over the last few months, he has been spotted at several Manhattan clubs and restaurants, attending actors’ showcases and jazz evenings. “I have no personal desire to see him in prison,” Madden says. “I don’t care what happens to him. I feel like he’s in hell, where he is.” But, she says, “If society doesn’t see justice served, then what message is that sending people? ‘Go back to being silent, nobody’s really there for you.'”

As she speaks, I think of a 21-year-old Madden, shocked and alone on a Dublin street, searching for a telephone to call her parents, looking for words to describe what has just happened to her. Looking for a life that allows her to recover from that trauma, looking for a career that is not defined by the actions of one man, looking for a way to hold that man accountable.

‘She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement’ by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey is published by Bloomsbury

Weekend Magazine





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New Report – Hollywood Life

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Wendy Williams is officially single now, according to alleged new court documents! Details have come forward on how they’re reportedly handling their personal properties and production company.

Wendy Williams, 55, and Kevin Hunter, 47, are legally closing the lid on their 21-year marriage, a new report claimed! The former spouses have reportedly finalized their divorce in New Jersey on Jan. 22, according to court documents that TMZ read. It sounds like the end of the divorce process wrapped up amicably — at least, according to details in Wendy and Kevin’s alleged agreement laid out by TMZ. The sale made from their former shared home in Livingston, NJ will allegedly be split 50/50. As for their other properties, Wendy is allegedly keeping their house in Florida that currently homes Wendy’s mom, while Kevin allegedly doesn’t have to give up any proceeds he made from a house in Morristown, NJ that he once owned but sold. As for their furniture, that will all go to Wendy, but Kevin will at least get to keep his Ferrari and Rolls-Royce cars, according to the report.

The most pressing question, however, was how Wendy and Kevin would work out their tricky work entanglements. HollywoodLife learned from a source that Kevin was let go as the executive producer from Wendy’s talk show, The Wendy Williams Show, in April of 2019, just a few days after Wendy filed for divorce. Well, the new court documents said that Wendy and Kevin “each owned equal shares of their production company,” and that Kevin will sell his portion to Wendy, TMZ claimed. These exact amounts remained confidential.

That would make Wendy the sole owner of Wendy Williams Productions, which she and Kevin formed in 2013. To achieve that ownership, though, Wendy will allegedly be paying her ex-husband a lump sum and severance package, according to the court documents that TMZ cited. HollywoodLife has not read the court documents, and can’t verify TMZ’s report at the moment. We have reached out to both Wendy and Kevin’s reps for comment.

Wendy Williams, Kevin Hunter
Wendy Williams and Kevin Hunter pose together at The Angel Ball in New York on Oct. 22, 2012. They tied the knot in Nov. 1997, but split in April of 2019. (Shutterstock)

There was no word on spousal support and child support for their son, Kevin Hunter Jr., 19, something that Kevin allegedly demanded from Wendy, according to court documents TMZ also obtained in May of 2019. Regardless, the end of this divorce process should come as a relief to Wendy, based on what a source close to the television personality EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife in Dec. 2019. At the time, the insider told us that the legal process “has really stressed Wendy out and it’s taking a toll on her mood,” adding, “She’s been very, very stressed on days she’s dealing with it.”

However, Wendy still wants to be friends with Kevin despite their split and the rumors of his alleged infidelity that surrounded their marriage. She revealed this wish on Sway in the Morning in Aug. 2019, telling radio host Sway Calloway, “I mean, and not because we have a son but because that was real love. I still love him just not in that way. You either in or you are out with me. I still have love for him and I wish him the best in his new life with his new family.” Although she didn’t drop names, that last part was of course a reference to a Page Six report that claimed Kevin’s longtime rumored mistress, Sharina Hudson, welcomed a baby girl in March of 2019 (the father has never been confirmed).



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Vidya – 22nd January 2020 | Upcoming Twist | Colors TV Vidya Serial News

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Vidya 22nd January 2020 Today Full Episode Update Colors TV Vidya 22 January 2020 Full Latest Episode Colors TV Vidya Serial On Location Promo Upcoming Latest News 2020

#Vidya #MeeraDeosthale #VivekVardhanSingh #NamishTaneja

Colors TY Vidya Serial Cast: Meera Deosthale as Vidya
Namish Taneja as Vivek Vardhan Singh

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Lizzo ‘come to terms’ with body dysmorphia

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Lizzo has “come to terms” with her body dysmorphia and “evolved”.

Lizzo for Rolling Stone magazine

The ‘Juice’ hitmaker is “growing” to love her body more and more every day and likens her own journey to the rise of body positive movement.

She said: “I’ve come to terms with body dysmorphia and evolved. The body positive movement is doing the same thing. We’re growing together, and it’s growing pains, but I’m just glad that I’m attached to something so organic and alive.”

And the 31-year-old singer insists that her plus size figure is not a “trend”.

Speaking to the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine, she added: “I’m so much more than that. Because I actually present that, I have a whole career. It’s not a trend.”

Meanwhile, Lizzo previously revealed she believes “body positivity” has become a “trendy thing” and she thinks her message is only just starting to resonate with people now that the “culture” around shaming people for their looks has begun to “change”.

She explained: “I’ve been doing positive music for a long-a** time. Then the culture changed. There were a lot of things that weren’t popular but existed, like body positivity, which at first was a form of protest for fat bodies and black women and has now become a trendy, commercialised thing. Now I’ve seen it reach the mainstream. Suddenly I’m mainstream! How could we have guessed something like this would happen when we’ve never seen anything like this before?”

The ‘Truth Hurts’ singer previously admitted she practices “self-love” to help keep depression at bay as well as making sure she “communicates” with her loved ones.

She said: “I practice self-love. I look in the mirror and say, ‘I love you. You’re beautiful. You can do anything.’ Tell yourself that on your happy days so that you have the strength to tell yourself that on your darker days. Reaching out to people when you’re depressed is really hard. I would shut myself away from friends and family. So I’ve been working on communicating.”



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