High-profile plaintiffs lawyer Lisa Bloom—in a move away from her usual role representing women alleging sexual assault—is advocating for Academy Award-winning film producer Harvey Weinstein as his “feminist adviser.”
Weinstein was the subject of an investigative report Thursday by The New York Times about his alleged sexual harassment of younger women. Weinstein, whom the Times’ story depicts as pursuing sexual favors from vulnerable, young women who had come to him to advance their movie-making careers, has denied the claims.
Bloom has advised Weinstein for the past year. She told the Times that her client is “an old dinosaur learning new ways.” The newspaper noted that she “explained to him that due to the power difference between a major studio head like him and most others in the industry, whatever his motives, some of his words and behaviors can be perceived as inappropriate, even intimidating.”
Bloom is the founder of The Bloom Firm in Los Angeles, a frequent television commentator and the daughter of Gloria Allred, an attorney who achieved national name recognition as an advocate for sexual assault victims. Previously, Bloom followed in her mother’s footsteps and represented women who have alleged that they were victims of sexual assault, including a client who made those claims against former Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly.
Weinstein, besides being a famous client of Bloom’s, is also a business partner. The two reached a deal earlier this year in which The Weinstein Co. and its partners will make a series of film and television projects based in part on Bloom’s book “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It”.
While discussing that endeavor with Weinstein, Bloom told The American Lawyer that she engaged in blunt talks with him about his workplace behavior in the past.
“Frankly, I asked him about these rumors because I thought, ‘I do not want to be working with someone who does not share my values,’” Bloom recalled.
Her questions led to “in-depth, long conversations” between both individuals, she said.
“I came to see Harvey as a flawed human being who wants to be better,” added Bloom. “I had a lot of choice words for him. Harvey has an anger problem.”
As a result of their talk, Bloom said she chose to represent him “as a feminist adviser—to teach him about a better way,” she said.
Bloom expressed concerns with how the Times story about Weinstein developed and how much time he had to respond to its central allegations.
Weinstein and two other lawyers retained to represent him—Boies Schiller Flexner chairman David Boies and Charles Harder of Beverly Hills-based Harder Mirell & Abrams—were only told of the claims two days before the story was published, Bloom said.
Boies, who has his own film finance company, has been a longtime legal adviser to Weinstein, while Harder is probably best known for helping put Gawker Media Group into bankruptcy. Harder released a statement late Thursday threatening to sue the Times for $50 million in damages.
The newspaper “gave a couple dozen allegations spanning 30 years in different countries,” Bloom said. “We begged [the Times] for more time.”
She noted that Weinstein is not like other powerful men recently accused of sexually assaulting women in the workplace.
“Nor am I,” said Bloom, when asked about her role reversal representing Weinstein. “He recognizes that regardless of whether this [allegation] is true and that one is false, he needs to be a better man.”
Miriam Rozen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.