Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein faced claims on Wednesday that he raped an Italian film star and two other women, in a widening scandal that has drawn condemnation from across the film industry as well as America’s liberal political elite.
The women’s allegations against the 65-year-old movie mogul were made in an bombshell expose published by the New Yorker.
Mr Weinstein denies all charges, according to a statement from his spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister, circulated among US media. But former US President Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton have weighed in to condemn the Oscar-winning producer, a longtime Democratic Party donor who has become a political liability.
His wife, British fashion designer Georgina Chapman, meanwhile, told People magazine she was leaving Mr Weinstein, with whom she has two children.
The latest accusations are a hugely damaging escalation of the scandal. Previous allegations had so far been limited to complaints about harassment.
The investigation was published as fresh misconduct allegations emerged from Hollywood A-listers such as Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette and Gwyneth Paltrow. Italian actress Asia Argento, the 42-year-old daughter of iconic horror director Dario Argento, said Mr Weinstein forced oral sex and intercourse on her 20 years ago.