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Hulu's 'Untouchable' Shows There's More To Learn About Weinstein Case


Former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is awaiting trial on charges of sexual assault. Meanwhile, the streaming service Hulu is releasing a documentary featuring testimony from women who say he harassed or raped them. The film is called "Untouchable: The Rise And Fall Of Harvey Weinstein," and it's out today. A note - that this review has graphic content. Here's NPR TV critic Eric Deggans.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: It may seem as if there's not a lot left to learn about the case that ignited the current #MeToo movement. The allegations of sexual assault and harassment that toppled Harvey Weinstein were detailed back in 2017 by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reports in The New York Times and The New Yorker. That touched off a wave of reporting that continues to this day. Still, Hulu's "Untouchable" proves if you think you know everything about Weinstein's case, you better think again.


HOPE D'AMORE: He really thinks he's telling the truth when he says he hasn't had unconsensual sex. If I get what I want, it was consensual - I think he believes that.

DEGGANS: That's Hope D'Amore. A woman who worked for Weinstein in the 1970s, when he was one of the biggest concert promoters in Buffalo, N.Y. D'Amore says Weinstein forced her into sex when the two went on a business trip to New York City. Forty years later, you can still hear and see her emotions as she struggles to talk about it.


D'AMORE: I mean, it's the collateral damage that - you know, what it does to relationships with friends, people you love. And they don't know why.

DEGGANS: Like previous documentaries, "Surviving R. Kelly" and "Leaving Neverland," "Untouchable" reveals the power in seeing people who say they've been assaulted giving direct personal testimony. "Untouchable" also features the words of those who worked for Weinstein at the film company he ran with his brother Bob, Miramax. The success of films like "The Crying Game" and "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" made Weinstein a Hollywood powerbroker, but a montage of comments from former employees also revealed an abusive management style.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I've ducked from a couple of ashtrays being thrown at me - one of them that probably weighed five pounds, made out of marble.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: If you were in his way, it didn't matter. He was, you know, an equal opportunity abuser.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Miramax broke a ton of people. Harvey broke a tone of people.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: It's just how it was. You either dealt with it or you left.

DEGGANS: One former employee, Zelda Perkins, described fighting off his advances while working for Miramax in London.


ZELDA PERKINS: I was an assistant. You had to go and get him up in the morning, which meant there'd usually be a tussle at the bedside. You know, he showered; he expected you to go be around when he was naked. He very quickly tried to normalize the situation and just told me I had to get with it and not be such a prissy and that he didn't have time to worry about my delicate feelings. And, you know, at 23, in your first job, you believe what they tell you.

DEGGANS: Weinstein, for his part, has denied any allegations of nonconsensual sex and pleaded not guilty in court. But the film details many accusations against him, with several women describing how the producer would threaten to hurt their careers if they didn't give him a massage or have sex. Some describe being so frightened they froze up, unable to fight Weinstein off, as actress Paz de la Huerta.


PAZ DE LA HUERTA: When you read about rape, you read, OK, well, the girl says - screams no, and she kicks and screams and - but that's not exactly right. The way in which he overpowered me left me no way out.

DEGGANS: Director Ursula Macfarlane has created a film that covers a lot, from Weinstein's rise and fall to the ways Hollywood may have enabled his alleged abuses. Most of all, it argues that exposing the abusive behavior of powerful men is the story of our times, ranging beyond any one example to touch every corner of society.

I'm Eric Deggans.

(SOUNDBITE OF LIBRARY TAPES' "INTRODUCTION I") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.