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Harvey Weinstein Taking 'Leave Of Absence' Following Sexual Harassment Accusations

Oct. 5 2017, Updated 8:21 p.m. ET

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Harvey Weinstein has issued an apology after numerous women accused him of sexual harassment. The acclaimed film producer revealed in his statement he is preparing to take a leave of absence from work after a bombshell report by the New York Times accused him of inappropriate sexual advances over decades.

“I came of age in the 60's and 70's, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.

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“I have since learned it's not an excuse, in the office — or out of it. To anyone.

“I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed. I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.

“Though I'm trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go. That is my commitment.

Harvey, 65, hired civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, to advise him in the wake of the New York Times exposé.

“My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons. Over the last year I've asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me and she's put together a team of people. I've brought on therapists and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all women and regret what happened. I hope that my actions will speak louder than words and that one day we will all be able to earn their trust and sit down together with Lisa to learn more. Jay Z wrote in 4:44 'I'm not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children.' The same is true for me. I want a second chance in the community but I know I've got work to do to earn it. I have goals that are now priorities. Trust me, this isn't an overnight process. I've been trying to do this for 10 years and this is a wake-up call. I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them.

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“I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I've decided that I'm going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I'm going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I'm making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party. One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom and I won't disappoint her."

Bloom, who is also the daughter of pit bull attorney to the stars Gloria Allred, defended Weinstein on Thursday, calling him "an old dinosaur learning new ways."

"Harvey is not going to demean or attack any of the women making accusations against him, although he does dispute many of the allegations," Bloom said in a statement. "Instead, he is going to use this as a painful learning experience to grow into a better man. I will continue to work with him personally for as long as it takes."

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The report accused Harvey of having created a toxic working environment through numerous inappropriate sexual advances, and claimed he had made settlements after allegations from a number of women over decades.

The article details an alleged ongoing pattern of Weinstein harassing young women looking to get their foot in the door in the entertainment industry — and negotiating settlements if they ever made formal complaints. The NYT begins its post with actress Ashley Judd alleging how Weinstein made her meet him in his hotel room before asking her to watch him shower, among other explicit requests.

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