Earlier Friday, a lawyer advising Mr. Weinstein said in a television appearance that he had acted inappropriately and agreed with an interviewer who had characterized Mr. Weinsteinâs reported actions as illegal.
The acknowledgment by the lawyer, Lisa Bloom, came during an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC Newsâs âGood Morning Americaâ in which he asked her about the report.
âThis is a real pattern over 30 years. This is like textbook sexual harassment,â Mr. Stephanopoulos said, after describing the allegations.
âItâs gross, yeah,â Ms. Bloom replied.
âItâs illegal,â Mr. Stephanopoulos said.
âYes. You know, I agree,â Ms. Bloom said. âSee, you have to understand that, yes, Iâm here as his adviser. Iâm not defending him in any sexual harassment cases â there arenât any sexual harassment cases. Iâm working with a guy who has behaved badly over the years, who is genuinely remorseful, who says, you know, âI have caused a lot of pain.â â
Reached by The Times for additional comment on Friday, Ms. Bloom said: âThe New York Times allegations if true would constitute sexual harassment. However, Mr. Weinstein denies many of them and was not given a fair opportunity to present evidence and witnesses on his side.â
Mr. Weinstein apologized for his behavior, acknowledging in a statement on Thursday that it had âcaused a lot of painâ and vowing to âdo better.â He later said in an interview with The Wrap that he intended to sue The Times for failing to give him enough time to respond to the allegations in the report.
Danielle Rhoades Ha, a Times spokeswoman, said that Mr. Weinstein had been given two days to respond.
âWe included all relevant comments from Mr. Weinstein in our story and published his entire response,â she said. âMr. Weinstein and his lawyer have confirmed the essential points of the story. They have not pointed to any errors or challenged any facts in our story.â
Ms. Ha also called for Mr. Weinstein to release his employees from nondisclosure agreements he reportedly had them sign.
âAs a supporter of women, he must support their right to speak openly about these issues of gender and power,â she said.
Weinstein Company board members spent nearly three hours Thursday night locked on the phone in heated discussion about the best way to respond. Mr. Weinstein co-founded the company with his brother, Bob Weinstein, and they own 42 percent of it.
Everyone agreed that an outside investigation was necessary, but there has been debate over the length and terms of Mr. Weinsteinâs leave, and whether additional steps were necessary, according to those involved. Details were being hashed out Friday afternoon, and an announcement was expected later today.
In response to the news, at least four Democratic senators said on Thursday that they would give away donations they had received from Mr. Weinstein, a supporter of several progressive causes. They were joined on Friday by Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Kamala Harris of California.
Some celebrities also reacted to the news, expressing frustration with the behavior described in the report while voicing support for the women who chose to speak out publicly.
But several actors, producers and directors contacted on Friday declined to comment about Mr. Weinstein and the relatively minimal public conversation in Hollywood about his behavior. One who did speak, Lynda Obst, a producer of films including âInterstellar,â âSleepless in Seattle,â and âThe Fisher King,â said she expected more reactions to eventually surface.
âI think everyone is just taking it in, itâs so upsetting â talking internally,â Ms. Obst said. âI do expect a robust response from the community rejecting this kind of behavior toward women. Obviously it is intolerable.â
Mr. Weinstein had supported endowments honoring women at both Rutgers University and the University of Southern California.
Rutgers said Friday that it planned to keep his financial contribution to the Gloria Steinem Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies, adding in a statement that the school âcan think of no better use of this donation than to continue this important work.â
U.S.C. did not say whether the news would affect an endowment for female filmmakers that Mr. Weinstein has pledged to organize.
In the interview on Friday, Ms. Bloom said that she took issue with characterizations of Mr. Weinsteinâs actions as harassment.
âYouâre using the term sexual harassment, which is a legal term,â she told Mr. Stephanopoulos. âSo, Iâm using the term workplace misconduct. I donât know if thereâs a real significant difference to most people, but sexual harassment is severe and pervasive.â
Ms. Bloom, who represented women who brought sexual harassment claims against former Fox News host Bill OâReilly, said she saw advising Mr. Weinstein as an opportunity, adding that she felt uniquely positioned to work with him.
âWhat Harvey Weinstein has done is wrong. He has caused pain,â Ms. Bloom said, adding: âHere was an opportunity of a guy saying, âLisa, what should I do? I have behaved badly.â Iâm like, good, Iâll tell you what to do. Be honest, be real.â
Earlier this year, the rapper Jay-Z and the Weinstein Company said they planned to work together on a series of television and film projects about the life of Trayvon Martin, based on a pair of books about the teenager, one of which was written by Ms. Bloom.
Gloria Allred, Ms. Bloomâs mother and a lawyer famous for defending womenâs rights, said on Thursday in a statement to The Wrap that she disagreed with her daughterâs decision to work for Mr. Weinstein.
âHad I been asked by Mr. Weinstein to represent him, I would have declined, because I do not represent individuals accused of sex harassment,â she said. âI only represent those who allege that they are victims of sexual harassment.â