Shortly after announcing that she was advising Harvey Weinstein, civil-rights attorney Lisa Bloom withdrew from his legal team amid an onslaught of backlash. (Even her mom, Gloria Allred, publicly criticized her in the press). In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bloom details why she took on the case in the first place, explaining that she “saw this as a unique opportunity to change the way these stories go” and conveniently omitting the fact that Weinstein was making a movie about her book.
As she puts it:
“In the case of Donald Trump, in the case of Bill O’Reilly, in the case of Bill Cosby, it’s always the same playbook. When the story comes out, attack the accuser, deny deny deny and fight like hell. Having represented a lot of those accusers, I know how damaging that is to them, how hurtful, how scary. It’s emotionally devastating. Because I had had that experience so many times with so many women I thought changing the response from the accused to immediately apologizing, expressing remorse, vowing to do better and never disrespecting the accusers would be a good thing for the victims. It turns out I was wrong. It turns out nobody is ready to hear an apology when a shocking story comes out.”
Bloom also acknowledges that expecting a contrite and sincere apology from a man like Weinstein was probably naïve. “They’re always going to want to fight a little bit,” she says. “These guys become powerful because they’re fighters. If they would push aside the details and acknowledge a wrongdoing, that’s a powerful thing. What’s even more powerful are the stories of these accusers. I think they had to be heard first.”
Still, Bloom isn’t quite ready to give up defending Weinstein, pointing out that other men accused of sexual harassment and assault, like Bill O’Reilly, did not apologize and continued to go after their victims. “For all of the deplorable things that Harvey has done, he’s not doing that,” she says. “I think it’s very hard to hold in our minds two competing concepts. One: He did horrible things. Two: He’s handling things the right way now. Can we hold both of those concepts in our minds? For many people the answer is no.”
Bloom can’t reveal why she withdrew from the case because of attorney-client privilege, but she acknowledges that she was surprised at the tenor of the backlash, describing the whole ordeal as a “learning experience.” Still, it’s not one that she’s eager to repeat. “ If you mean representing a high-profile guy accused of sexual harassment, I think the answer would be no,” she says.