Attorney Lisa Bloom has represented women accusing Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly and President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct.
But this time, she’s advising the accused. Bloom is working with Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct against him, which were reported by the New York Times on Thursday.
According to the Times report, Weinstein, the co-chairman of the Weinstein Company, reached eight settlements with women accusing him of sexual harassment. He faces allegations from others, including actor Ashley Judd, made over period of three decades. Bloom told the Times that many of the accusations are “patently false.” In a statement to the Times, Weinstein said he’d take a leave of absence from his company. “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it,” he said. “Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.” His lawyer Charles Harder told TIME in an email Thursday that he planned to sue the Times and that the story was “saturated with false and defamatory statements.”
She has a connection to Harvey Weinstein
In March, the Weinstein Company won the rights to produce a six-part docuseries based on Bloom’s book, Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It, according to Variety. “I trust them to do this right,” Bloom tweeted at the time.
Bloom has expressed her admiration for Weinstein on other occasions. On Aug. 8, she tweeted: “Thank you Harvey Weinstein for recognizing the contributions of unsung female film directors,” linking to an op-ed Weinstein wrote for Deadline about why Swept Away’s Lina Wertmuller should receive an honorary Oscar.
According to Thursday’s Times report, for the past year Bloom has been working with Weinstein — whom she described as “an old dinosaur learning new ways” — to improve his understanding of gender dynamics in the workplace. She told the Times she explained to Weinstein that “the power difference between a major studio head like him and most others in the industry, whatever his motives, some of his words and behaviors can be perceived as inappropriate, even intimidating.”
She’s proud to follow in her mother’s footsteps
Bloom has said she’s inspired by her mother, Gloria Allred. Allred built her career on fighting for women who face discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Allred has represented a number of prominent clients, including Norma McCorvey — the woman at the center of Roe v. Wade — and the family of Nicole Brown Simpson. Allred currently represents 33 of the women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. (Cosby denies all of the allegations against him.)
“My mom has always been an inspiration to me since I was a teenager and she started becoming an advocate not only for women, but for people of color, for union members,” Bloom told the New York Post in July. “It was just second nature to me that, of course, you have to fight for the underdog.”
Allred sent a statement to TIME on Thursday after news broke that her daughter was representing Weinstein.
“Lisa is my daughter and I love and respect her. She has her own law firm separate from mine. She makes her own independent decisions on who she will or will not represent, and I have no role in her decisions,” Allred said in the statement. ” Had I been asked by Mr. Weinstein to represent him, I would have declined, because I do not represent individuals accused of sex harassment. I only represent those who allege that they are victims of sexual harassment.”
“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 added.
She’s said that women can make an impact by speaking up against powerful men
Bloom, like her mother, has represented women who are fighting legal battles against powerful men. She represented three women who claimed O’Reilly sexually harassed them, leading to his ouster at Fox News. (O’Reilly denied the allegations.) She also represented Jill Harth, one of the woman who accused Trump of sexual misconduct during the campaign. Her mother represented three other women making similar allegations. (Trump denied the allegations.)
Bloom’s other notable clients include Janice Dickinson, who filed a defamation suit against Cosby for saying that her allegation that he sexually assaulted her was a lie. (Cosby denied Dickinson’s allegations.) She also worked with Blac Chyna and Mischa Barton in cases involving revenge porn.
Bloom speaks frequently about the power of women speaking up against discrimination and harassment in the workplace. “Ultimately I know that one of the healthiest things a woman can do is to stand up for herself and speak her truth,” Bloom told Yahoo in September. “And I am honored to assist her in becoming empowered.”
But now, many people are saying on social media that they are disappointed with Bloom’s decision to represent Weinstein.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan in July, the lawyer said that she planned to keep fighting for women. “There is still a great deal of misogyny and sexism, but there are also a lot of women standing up for our rights,” Bloom said. “The only thing I can do is go on to my next case because there are so many more.”