Gloria Allred, civil-rights attorney who built her long and storied career on protecting famous women from their more famous male bosses, has responded to her daughter Lisa Bloom’s decision to represent Harvey Weinstein. When The New York Times broke the story of Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual harassment toward assistants, lawyers, actresses, and other women in his orbit, many were mystified to see quotes by Bloom in defense of Weinstein, rather than in defense of the women speaking on-record against him. Allred is among those who have commented.
“Had I been asked by Mr. Weinstein to represent him, I would have declined, because I do not represent individuals accused of sex harassment,” she said in a statement. “I only represent those who allege that they are victims of sexual harassment.”
She also dangled the possibility of the first Allred versus Bloom case (though, at present, Bloom has only been named as an attorney on retainer and in an advisory role). “While I would not represent Mr. Weinstein, I would consider representing anyone who accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual harassment, even if it meant that my daughter was the opposing counsel.” Allred has no comment at this time as to whether any of Weinstein’s accusers have reached out to her.
Bloom, like Allred, represents famous women, most of whom have become alleged victims of sexual assault (Allred represents 33 of Bill Cosby’s accusers, and Bloom represents Janice Dickinson, as well as three women who accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual misconduct). A New Yorker profile on Allred published earlier this week infers that Bloom learned many of her media-savvy tactics from Allred, especially how to keep the story top of mind in the public. To wit, the last time the public heard from Bloom in a splashy way was at the press conference she arranged for Kathy Griffin, who was under fire and F.B.I. investigation for her photo shoot in which she mimed beheading Donald Trump.
Bloom’s dec ision to advise Weinstein is a curious one considering her past clientele (Weinstein has also retained litigator David Boies and Charles Harder, who represented Hulk Hogan against Gawker, and has announced he is suing the Times). However, as many have already pointed out, the Weinstein Company has optioned the rights to Suspicion Nation, her book detailing the Trayvon Martin case, and plans to develop it into a miniseries. Bloom is in fact among those who have noted their collaboration. In her statement to the Times, which she posted to Twitter in full after the story was published, she asserts, “As we work together on a project bringing my book to the screen, he has always been respectful toward me.”
The rest of the attorney’s statement paints her as the firm but fair guide to how to respect women as human beings and not exploit his power dynamic to sexual ends. “I have told him times have changed, it is 2017, and he needs to evolve to a higher standard,” she wrote. “I have found Harvey to be refreshingly candid and receptive to my message.”
Bloom also claims she has been tasked with reviewing policies that address “women in the workplace,” and create a “zero tolerance” policy for “workplace misconduct.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Allred told Vanity Fair on a recent phone call, “I respect her. I love her. She’s a very good attorney, and I do not in any way criticize her decision to represent Mr. Weinstein. I only represent victims who allege that they have been sexually harassed, but that doesn’t mean that she can’t represent Mr. Weinstein, who has allegations of sexual harassment against him. She’s an independent attorney with her own law firm. She’s a very good attorney and he’s fortunate to have her as his attorney to advise him.”
This article has been edited to reflect Allred’s statement.