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Sienna Miller’s relationship ‘protected’ her from Harvey Weinstein… and therein lies the problem


IMDb

Sienna Miller’s relationship ‘protected’ her from Harvey Weinstein… and therein lies the problem

Opening up about how her relationship with Jude Law probably shielded her from Weinstein, Sienna Miller’s recent comments are a damning condemnation of a culture that only considers women worthy of respect when they are associated with powerful men. 

One of *the* it-couples of the early naughts, Jude Law and Sienna Miller had a famously turbulent relationship. 

First getting together on the set of the 2004 film Alfie, a spokesperson for the duo told People Magazine that they were “spectacularly happy” at the time. Proposing to Miller on Christmas Day with “a gold band and nine diamonds”, their engagement bliss was sadly short-lived; a few months later rumours of infidelity began circulating and it was confirmed that Law had been having an affair with his children’s nanny. 

Tabloid frenzy

The ensuing media circus was nothing short of feverish and the tabloids held nothing back in their coverage of the relationship breakdown. She is, as The Observer put it, an “actress and model who has been traded like pork belly on the celebrity market”. “Appearing in public when you’re extremely heartbroken. Trying not to break. All the while being mocked and ridiculed. Hell, honestly,” Miller told The Guardian in an interview. 

Now starring in the new six-part Netflix drama, Anatomy of a Scandal, the article later touches on the actor’s recent case against The Sun. As The Guardian reports, the actor reached a settlement with the newspaper at the end of last year after it leaked word of her pregnancy. Miller alleges that The Sun obtained details of her pregnancy via illegal subterfuge, the so-called “blagging” of medical records from her doctor’s office by pretending to be one of her reps. “I wanted to expose the criminality that runs through the heart of this corporation,” she read in a statement outside the high court. 

Miller chose not to continue with the pregnancy, admitting that “the anxiety it induced” was “horrible” and “removed any ability [she] had to think clearly”. “And then you think of, you know, the family of Milly Dowler [the murdered schoolgirl whose voicemails were targeted by the News of the World], and it’s insignificant,” she continued. “But it was just so toxic. Those days – the frenzy of it, the madness of what women, specifically, were subjected to. I actually look back at it and it’s like a weird film. Another universe.”

The Weinstein connection

Conversation then turns to Harvey Weinstein, who Miller says never tried to assault her, partly, she thinks, because of her then-relationship with Law. “I was Jude’s girlfriend, and there was probably protection in that,” she noted. “Jude was a big actor for Harvey.” He did shout at her for going out and partying too much though. 

“He was standing over me while I was sitting in a chair, lip quivering, and then he slammed the door, and I burst into tears. And then he came back in and said: ‘It’s because I’m f*cking proud of you.’ And slammed the door again,” she recounted. The encounter definitely doesn’t come off well given what we now know about Weinstein, but Miller claims she was “grateful” for it felt like an honour back then.

“You weren’t really inaugurated until Weinstein made you cry. I imagined this is what Hollywood producers were like. I genuinely felt he’d given me the biggest validation. I was so grateful. I wasn’t scared of him, actually. And I was not aware that he was raping people. He asked for one meeting with me in a hotel, and I brought the other producers and it was innocuous. I’ve never been propositioned by anyone, for a job.”

Sienna may have felt somewhat “protected” by her relationship with Jude, but it’s unlikely Angelina Jolie could say the same of her marriage to Brad Pitt. In fact, a similar Guardian profile on the actress revealed that she found Pitt’s Weinstein connection difficult to say the least. 

Bad experiences

One of many famous women to come forward with allegations against the infamous film producer, Jolie said that Weinstein had made unwanted advances on her in a hotel room in the late 1990s. Barely legal, she was just 21 years of age at the time and had been hired by Weinstein’s company Miramax film for a role in the movie Playing By Heart.

“I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did,” she wrote in an email back in 2017. “This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”

Speaking about the incident again, Jolie commented that women often play down an assault if they manage to escape – as she herself did at the time. “If you get yourself out of the room, you think, ‘he attempted but didn’t’, right? The truth is that the attempt and the experience of the attempt is an assault.” Agreeing that it was “an abuse of rights”, she continued to say, “It was beyond a pass, it was something I had to escape.”

“I stayed away and warned people about him. I remember telling Jonny, my first husband, who was great about it, to spread the word to other guys – don’t let girls go alone with him. I was asked to do The Aviator, but I said no because he was involved. I never associated or worked with him again. It was hard for me when Brad did,” she continued. 

Collaborating with Weinstein two separate times while they were together, Brad starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (co-produced by the Weinstein Company), later approaching the convicted rapist to work as a producer on the noir thriller Killing Them Softly, which the Weinstein Company distributed in 2012. “We fought about it,” she confessed. “Of course it hurt.”

Weinstein, who is currently serving a 23-year jail sentence for rape and sexual assault, maintains that he never assaulted Jolie. “THERE WAS NEVER an assault, and NEVER an attempt to assault,” he said in a statement to TMZ via his assistant. “It is brazenly untrue and clickbait publicity,” the statement continued. “You’re Angelina Jolie, every male and female in the world, I’m sure, shows interest in you. Is the whole world assaulting you?”

Friend or foe? 

While Brad’s involvement with Weinstein was ultimately one of the issues that led to his divorce from Jolie, he was aware of the media mogul’s tendencies to prey on women in the industry long before getting together with Angelina. In fact, it was Gwyneth Paltrow, a former girlfriend, who first told him Weinstein was no good. Cast as the lead in the Jane Austen adaptation of Emma, she was asked to meet with Weinstein at his suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a work meeting prior to filming. That meeting ended with the producer placing his hands on Paltrow and suggesting that they head to the bedroom for massages. 

Terrified of being fired, she refused his advances and went to Pitt – her then-boyfriend. Confiding in him and telling him what exactly had happened at that supposed “meeting”, Pitt reportedly responded by confronting Weinstein about the incident… who in turn warned Paltrow not to tell anyone else about it. 

How then could Brad justify working with Weinstein? It all seems a little hypocritical, especially given the fact that he publicly disavowed him in an interview with CNN two years ago. Not only that, but Pitt is also currently producing a film on the New York Times’ investigation of Weinstein titled She Said. A dramatic retelling of the sexual harassment investigation that sparked the #MeToo movement, it’s not due for release until November, but it does appear that Pitt’s stance on Weinstein varies in line with whether it can benefit his career/finances or not…