Lisa Bloom Admits Movie Deal with Harvey Weinstein 'Clouded' Her Judgement
Lisa Bloom admitted that the documentary film series she was developing with the Weinstein Company clouded her judgement in representing the disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein
Lisa Bloom made an emotional appearance on The View on Friday, where she admitted that the documentary film series she was developing with The Weinstein Company “clouded” her judgement in representing Harvey Weinstein during the early stages of his controversy.
The attorney— who made a name for herself as a women’s rights advocate while representing celebrities such as Mischa Barton, Blac Chyna, Kathy Griffin, and many of the female clients who claimed to be sexually harassed by former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly — had signed on as an advisor to Weinstein in October, just as the The New York Times published its initial article in which eight women, including actress Ashley Judd, spoke out against Weinstein and accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.
At the time, Bloom, 56, said she accepted Weinstein’s offer to help him take the allegations head-on, telling her followers on Twitter that he had “acknowledged the mistakes he has made.”
“He is an old dinosaur and learning new ways,” Bloom tweeted at the time. “Harvey is not going to demean or attack any of the women making accusations against him, although he does dispute many of the allegations. Instead, he is going to use this as a painful learning experience to grow into a better man.”
But Bloom was highly criticized for her decision to stand by Weinstein, and resigned as his advisor days later.
She now calls the decision to work with him a mistake. “I very much regret ever being involved in this,” she said on The View. “I’m mortified that I was connected with him in any way. All the people who have reached out to me to say, ‘Lisa, we’re hurt and disappointed in you.’ I get it. And I’m very, very sorry.”
Part of the problem for Bloom was that Suspicion Nation, her book about the headline-making Trayvon Martin case, was being adapted by Weinstein’s film studio and JAY-Z into a documentary series.
“It was a real passion project for me. And when I was approached to do a documentary about it, yeah, I was thrilled,” Bloom explained. “It’s not a conflict legally for an attorney to have a business deal with a client. We had business deals, and then they tell us about legal problems. Ethically, it’s not an issue. But people ask me, ‘Was I so excited about it that it clouded my judgement?’ And I say, yes, I have to cop to that.”
While much of what Bloom could say about Weinstein was prohibited by confidentiality clauses, Bloom did infer to co-hosts Joy Behar, Meghan McCain, Sara Haines, and Sunny Hostin that she stopped working as an advisor to Weinstein when claims about him changed from verbal harassment to sexual assault.
“When I was representing him, the allegations were about words. It was verbal conduct, that was the initial NY Times story. As he said in his statement and I in mine, my job was to educate him about sexual harassment laws, about power imbalance, about what is appropriate and not appropriate in the workplace including his tone — he’s known for having a very belligerent tone,” Bloom said.
“When the sexual assault allegations came out, it was devastating to hear those stories from all the women who went on the record with those stories for the first time. I’ve represented women like that for 31 years, I still do. I know the courage that it takes. I was shocked,” she continued. “Words are bad in and of themselves, words can be intimidating and harmful — I’m not minimizing and of that. But sexual assault is criminal. I’ve never represented somebody accused of seual assault and I never will.”
She went on to add that her firm would “no longer ever ” represent somebody accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault. “They’re entitled to lawyers, but it’s not going to be me,” she said.
More than 50 women have since come forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein. The 65-year-old has been fired from his former studio, The Weinstein Company, and wife Georgina Chapman announced she’s leaving him. He is currently in treatment in Arizona.
A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
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As for her relationship with her mother (and power lawyer) Gloria Allred, who had publicly criticized Bloom for representing Weinstein, Bloom remained hopeful the two would work out their differences.
“That was very hurtful. I would have prefered a phone call,” she said of hearing about her Allred’s critiques in the press. “But my mom is a great fighter for women’s rights. She’s smart, she’s feisty. She’s a role model for me, she’s a role model for many people. … It’s hurtful but over the years, we’ve had issues. We’ve always worked them out. We’re going to work this out.”
Bloom ended her appearance by pushing for changes in the way the law handles victims of sexual assault and harassment, including asking for a longer period to file sexual harassment cases, confidentiality agreements that expire in five years, sexual harassment records that follow employers and the elimination of payouts for people who have been accused of sexual harassment.
The View airs weekdays (11 a.m. ET) on ABC.