Harvey Weinstein, the man at the center of the ongoing sexual harassment scandal in Hollywood was hit hard on Wednesday, with a new expose at The New York Times alleging an intricate 'Complicity Machine' he utilized to keep his lecherous behavior secret. The same report also says Lena Dunham attempted to warn the Clinton campaign about Weinstein, a prominent Clinton backer, but her warnings went unheeded.
Terry Crews also filed suit against his alleged attacker, and his former agency WME, while Ashley Judd spoke up about being the first woman to stand up and accuse Weinstein on record.
On Capitol Hill, as more accusers come forward alleging sexual misconduct by Senator Al Franken, his fellow Democratic Senators have begun demanding that he step down.
As "The Silence Breakers" - the women and men who've come forward in the ongoing harassment scandal - are honored as TIME's "Person of the Year," Ashley Judd spoke out about why she finally broke her silence during a Paley Center event on "Uncovering Sexual Harassment."
"I did it because it was the right thing to do," Judd replied when asked how she came to the decision to go on the record against disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein. Judd was the first of his accusers to do so.
She was joined on-stage by the journalists, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who broke open the scandal with their first piece on Weinstein in The New York Times, featuring Judd's testimonial. Judd says it was Kantor's "journalistic integrity" and the institution of the Times that convinced her to be the first to step forward. "I sure am glad I did," she added.
One of the most gratifying things for her is that the conversation is continuing. "The conversations I've been having with my fellow actors have been incredibly rewarding. They are absolutely blowing this out of the water," she said, adding that systemic solutions are coming.
On Wednesday, Harvey Weinstein and his company, The Weinstein Company, were hit with a potential class-action suit alleging sexual harassment in New York. The suit -filed by six women - alleges a massive scheme within the company that protected Weinstein's predatory behavior, allowing him to sexually assault hundreds of women, according to The New York Times.
A former personal assistant, Sandeep Rehal, also said she is planning a lawsuit as she alleges she was forced to buy erectile dysfunction medication, and "play maid to his sexual encounters," by furnishing an apartment with women's lingerie for his encounters, as reported by The New York Daily News.
Weinstein continues to deny all of the allegations that have been brought against him, saying that he believed any encounters experienced were consensual.
In their latest expose, The New York Times describes Harvey Weinstein's 'Complicity Machine,' detailing several of his alleged allies in keeping his inappropriate behavior secret.
If anyone did make a move against him, Weinstein would reportedly utilize his 'Machine' to buy their silence with bribes or threats or opportunities or blackmail. "His modus operandi was always to try to find something on someone else," former executive Irwin Reiter said, claiming that Weinstein threatened him with a seemingly-damning incident in his past.
According to the report, Weinstein went into overdrive to try and keep the story buried in the weeks leading up to the Times' Oct. 5 story that blew the case wide open. He allegedly leaned on an editor at the National Enquirer and a partner at Creative Arts Agency to broker a meeting with reporter Ronan Farrow, and tried to bribe accuser Rose McGowan's former manager and literary agent to stop her memoir from being published.
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" star Terry Crews took the next step in his quest for justice by filing suit against talent agent Adam Venit and his agency, WME. The suit is in response to an encounter at a Hollywood party in 2016 where Crews alleges Venit grabbed his genitals.
The actor said no one at the party seemed surprised by the behavior, and Venit faced no consequences when Crews reported the incident to WME, save having to apologize. Crews terminated his contract with WME in response to the alleged assault.
"It is now time to hold Venit accountable for his sexual predatory behavior and to hold WME accountable for its conduct in condoning, ratifying, and encouraging Venit's sexual predatory behavior," Crews said in the suit, as reported by TV Guide.
He went on to add, "A message needs to be sent to those in power who abuse those over whom they can exert influence and control that abuse and sexual predatory behavior will not be tolerated."
While Harvey Weinstein was a prominent financial backer of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential run, actress Lena Dunham says she tried to warn the campaign about him. She told The New York Times she spoke to several members of the Clinton campaign about him.
"I just want you to let you know that Harvey's a rapist and this is going to come out at some point. I think it's a really bad idea for him to host fundraisers and be involved, because it's an open secret in Hollywood that he has a problem with sexual assault," Dunham claims she told a communications director with the campaign.
Dunham says she never saw a response to her claims, and she wasn't the only one warning the campaign. Former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown told the Times she also warned the Clinton campaign as early as 2008. "I was hearing that Harvey's sleaziness with women had escalated since I left Talk in 2002 and she was unwise to be so closely associated with him," she said.
After a seventh woman came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Al Franken, the Minnesota Senator and former "Saturday Night Live" staff member said he would make a statement on Thursday morning. But as Wednesday progressed, more and more of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate have been calling for him to step down, up to 20 at the time of this writing, per Deadline.
Tom Perez, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, also called for Franken to step down. Deadline reports this came in response to the latest accuser, a Democratic Congressional aide who alleges Franken tried to force a kiss from her in 2006, telling her it was his "right as an entertainer."
Of this latest accusation, Franken said, "This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation." He has denied any intentional wrongdoing in previous encounters, saying that he recalls them differently than his accusers.