13:57, October 06 435 0 theguardian.com

2017-10-06 13:57:03
Lisa Bloom, lawyer who helped oust Bill O'Reilly, recruited by Harvey Weinstein

One of the lawyers recruited by Harvey Weinstein as he fights accusations that he exploited women working for him is better known for representing those on the other side of sexual harassment allegations.

Women’s rights attorney Lisa Bloom – who helped force out Bill O’Reilly at Fox News over harassment allegations – has represented numerous alleged victims of inappropriate sexual conduct, including celebrities Mischa Barton and Blac Chyna.

O’Reilly, once the top-rated host on US cable news, was fired by Fox News in April. After his departure, Bloom announced: “This is what happens when women speak our truth. We can slay dragons.”

The fact that Weinstein – who has said many of the accusations against him reported by the New York Times are inaccurate – said in a statement that over the last year he had asked Bloom to “tutor” him as part of his “journey” to “learn about myself and conquer my demons”.

In her own statement, Bloom said: “As a women’s rights advocate, I have been blunt with Harvey and he has listened to me ... He is an old dinosaur learning new ways.”

But Bloom’s decision to offer Weinstein her counsel has surprised even her mother, Gloria Allred, also a renowned women’s rights attorney.

“Had I been asked by Mr Weinstein to represent him, I would have declined, because I do not represent individuals accused of sex harassment,” Allred said, according to the Wrap. Saying she could not speak for her daughter’s actions, she added, “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.”

Bloom, according to Weinstein and Bloom herself, has over the last year schooled Weinstein on gender and power imbalances. Weinstein is “an old dinosaur learning new ways”, she said.

Bloom said she was not defending Weinstein on Friday, saying she was his “adviser”. “I’m not defending him in any sexual harassment cases,” she told ABC News, “there aren’t any sexual harassment cases.”

In the same interview she called Weinstein’s alleged behavior illegal and gross.

Bloom and Weinstein have other ties. In April, Bloom announced that Weinstein was producing her book, Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It, as a miniseries.

In her statement, Bloom added that “as we work together on a project bringing my book to the screen, he has always been respectful towards me.”

While recruiting Bloom might have been something of a plot twist, Weinstein’s decision to work with entertainment litigator Charles Harder is perhaps more predictable.

Harder – whose client list has included Jude Law, Reese Witherspoon, Clint Eastwood and Sandra Bullock – achieved recognition in his own right after representing Hulk Hogan in the privacy case that bankrupted Gawker Media, and announced on Thursday that Weinstein intends to sue the New York Times over its report.

He helped Melania Trump sue the Daily Mail for false claims about her past as a model, and last year he worked with ex-Fox mogul Roger Ailes to combat sexual harassment claims reported by New York magazine.

He has also gone up against Gawker’s sister sites Deadspin and Jezebel as well as a number of financial bloggers for investor Barry Honig.

“I’m anything but the enemy of a free press,” he told the Hollywood Reporter in 2016. “I believe very strongly in a free press. But I don’t believe in a reckless press. The first amendment isn’t unlimited.”

Harder’s latest battle with the New York Times comes a year after he was rumored to be helping Trump take on the same publication for “irresponsible intent” with their coverage of him. “It would be interesting if he’s a sitting president, as opposed to just a businessman,” he said to GQ last September. “But either way I would probably bring that case if I felt it had merit.”