Hollywood power broker Harvey Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women after being confronted with allegations including sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact, a new report says.

Among the recipients, The New York Times reports, were a young assistant in New York in 1990, an actress in 1997, an assistant in London in 1998, an Italian model in 2015 and an employee who wrote a "searing memo" asserting sexual harassment and other misconduct by their boss.

Weinstein is one of Hollywood's biggest names - a film producer and studio executive who co-founded Miramax.

He has won six best-picture Oscars and his films have included Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting and the television show "Project Runway."

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An investigation by The Times found that allegations against Weinstein stretch back over nearly three decades. They were documented in interviews with current and former employees and film industry workers, as well as legal records, emails and internal documents from the businesses he has run.

Weinstein told the newspaper in a statement: "I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it. Though I'm trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go."

Weinstein said he was attending therapy and planned to take a leave of absence to "deal with this issue head on".

Many of the claims came from a female employee, Lauren O'Connor, who in 2015 detailed the allegations in a memo asserting sexual harassment and other misconduct by their boss.

"There is a toxic environment for women at this company," O'Connor said in the letter, addressed to several executives at the company run by Weinstein.

A lawyer acting for Weinstein said he denied many of the accusations as "patently false".
Weinstein said O'Connor's claims were "off base" and that they parted on good terms.

He declined to comment on the financial settlements but said that his desire was to "keep the peace" when an employee raised workplace issues.