The sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have spread beyond Hollywood. Ever since many Hollywood A-listers spok up, a few Italian actresses, as well as models from Australia and New Zealand, also have accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting them.
Italian actress-director Asia Argento and models Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, Samantha Panagrosso and Zoe Brock have reportedly accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. Among them, Asia Argento, Brock and Panagrosso have shed light on a different angle as they claimed that former Miramax executive Fabrizio Lombardo was involved in setting up Weinstein's sexual encounters with the actresses.
In a recent interview with Variety, Asia Argento accused Lombardo of leading her to Weinstein's suite in the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in the south of France in 1997 as she was falsely informed that she would be attending a party.
"Lombardo that evening came to pick me up at my hotel, which was the Hilton on the Croisette," Argento told Variety. "And he picks me up and we drove with him, going towards this party at the du Cap."
"Then he brought me to the room and when we were inside the room I said 'what the heck, there's no party, how come?' and it was like 'don't worry everybody is coming, we arrived too early.' And we sit there and I am kind of nervous, and we sit there and we're chatting and they give me champagne, Harvey doesn't drink I remember, and after a while Lombardo says 'oh wow nobody is coming, let me go and check out where the other guests are.' [It was a] f*****g lie because nobody came."
New Zealand model Brock also recounted how she was tricked into the Hollywood tycoon's room Hotel du Cap by Lombardo during the Cannes Film Festival in 1997. In a recent blog post, the model, who was harassed by the producer, revealed that she was also taken to Harvey's room on pretence of going to a party.
She told Variety that Lombardo later offered his sympathies over what happened during Cannes. In the meantime, he and his then-girlfriend Claudia Gerini tried to persuade her to join them in a threesome as well.
Another Italian model Samantha Panagrosso came forward accusing Weinstein of groping during 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
"We [Weinstein and Panagrosso] had lunch at the Eden Roc hotel. I was in the pool after lunch and he came into the pool and started to grope me under the water, to my legs and stuff, and I said 'you have to stop this is not ok.'"
Not only this, she revealed more horrifying details of his allegedly predatory behaviour as Weinstein later came into her cabin and sexually misconducted with her.
"He pushed me on the bed, tried groping me and I tried to play it off because I thought he's not going to do anything because my friends are on the boat. But it got very frustrating to get him out.
"It was like bargaining. When I said 'no' he said 'maybe if I can't massage you, will you massage me?'"
She further added, "When I said no to that he said 'come on why are you being so difficult, all the [other] women are ok with it. I don't see what you are making such a fuss about. Let me see your breasts at least.'"
While Lombardo has been accused of helping the producer make unwanted sexual advances, the former Miramax executive denied all the rumours.
The Italian executive, who is being called as a part of the "pack of hyenas" who would "hunt" for him, issued a statement rejecting the notion.
"The insinuation that I accompanied Asia Argento to Mr. Weinstein's suite in a well-known hotel is highly surprising and regrettable as it is both untrue and is clearly the fruit of a distant and distorted memory," Lombardo said in a statement.
In an interview with The Guardian, Lombardo acknowledged that he indeed had introduced countless people to the media mogul over the years.
Asked whether he was ever curious about Weinstein's intention behind meeting young women privately, Fabrizio Lombardo said: "You cannot talk about [intentions]. Out of 1,000 people, to know his intentions with three people, I don't know ... it's impossible."
Speaking of the allegation, he refuted that he would not have to play any role in Weinstein's sexual activities as "he can pick up the phone and have lunch or dinner with whoever he wants."
However, Lombardo further explained that the sexual assault allegations against his former boss have 'shocked' him.