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Playwright Jez Butterworth recalls punching Harvey Weinstein on film set

Playwright Jez Butterworth recalls punching Harvey Weinstein on film set

Playwright Jez Butterworth has revealed why he punched disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein on the set of a movie they worked on together.

Award-winning writer and film director, Butterworth, 55, is behind blockbusters including Spectre and Jerusalem and has won both Tony and Laurence Olivier awards for his work.

In a new interview, he explained why both men threw punches in the altercation.

While Weinstein worked with the playwright on the 2001 movie Birthday Girl, an erotic comedy thriller starring Eyes Wide Shut star Nicole Kidman and Cinderella actor Ben Chaplin, the pair fell out over staffing.

The disagreement started when Weinstein punched an unnamed producer he wanted to have fired, Butterworth told The Guardian.

The playwright, who boxed while he studied the English tripos at Cambridge, wanted the producer to remain, and so he hit Weinstein in return.

“If Harvey wants to start throwing punches, he should know that I know what to do,” he said about the fight.

Butterworth has previously been critical of Weinstein, 72, whose predatory behaviour was a catalyst for the #MeToo movement and who is serving decades in prison for rape and sexual assault.

In 2017, the playwright read out a moving letter on BBC Newsnight in which he shared his concerns for his young daughter who one day dreamed of entering the movie industry.

Butterworth punched Weinstein on the set of 2001 movie Birthday Girl (Getty Images)
Butterworth punched Weinstein on the set of 2001 movie Birthday Girl (Getty Images)

“Harvey,” it began. “My daughter is 11 years old and all her life has dreamed of being a performer. She attends a local drama group and loves to sing, dance and act.

“Were she one day able to realise those dreams, and had Ashley Judd and others not been brave enough to come forward, there’s every chance in a few years’ time she would have been taken to a hotel, duped by your staff, ended up alone with you, and chased round the suite by you, naked, masturbating, threatening her, terrifying her, for your own enjoyment.”

Weinstein is incarcerated at the Mohawk Correctional Facility in upstate New York. Multiple attempts by his legal team to appeal his convictions have been unsuccessful.

Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at www.rapecrisis.org.uk. If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)