'Marco Polo' Producer Alleges Harvey Weinstein Sexually Assaulted Her For Years, Threatened Her Career

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Who Is Ally Canosa? New Details On Producer Who Sued Harvey Weinstein For Five Years Of Sexual Abuse

We know two things about Harvey Weinstein: he was an indisputably good movie producer who turned out hit after hit. And he was a serial sexual abuser who assaulted and harassed untold numbers of women before his fall from grace in 2017. 

Weinstein helmed the production companies Miramax and the Weinstein Company and churned out a string of iconic, Academy Award-winning films like Shakespeare in Love, Good Will Hunting, and The King's Speech. He made the careers of stars like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Gwyneth Paltrow. He was known to be volatile but he was also a genius at what he did professionally. However, the whole time, there were whispers in Hollywood that his treatment of women ranged from harassment to sexual assault. 

In 2016, Ronan Farrow started reporting on the story that Weinstein was guilty of multiple instances of sexual assault, eventually publishing his explosive findings in The New Yorker. Farrow got a Pulitzer for his work. Weinstein lost everything.

Farrow details his work on the story in his new book Catch and Kill. One of the women he talked to about her experience with Weinstein was Alexandra Canosa, a producer on the Amazon series Marco Polo. She worked with Weinstein for years and told Farrow that he had been harassing and assaulting her the whole time and that he insured her silence by threatening to destroy her career. In 2018, she filed suit against Weinstein.

Who is Ally Canosa? Read on for the shocking details. 

1. Up and coming producer

According to court documents, Canosa started working for the Weinstein Company in 2010. Her role isn't specified, merely described as "in various capacities." Her big break came along in 2014 when she started working on the Netflix series Marco Polo. She rose from assistant to the director to associate producer for the show. In 2018, she was the associate producer on a short film called Mammoth.

RELATED: Harvey Weinstein Exploits, Humiliates And Allegedly Rapes Starlets As Hollywood Men Do Nothing

2. Working at the Weinstein Company

We know now that being a woman and working for Harvey Weinstein was a hazardous activity. He reportedly harassed, bullied, and assaulted women he employed for decades. According to various reporting about him, he would demand sexual contact from women in exchange for advancing their careers. Alternately, he would sexually assault women and threaten to ruin their careers if they said anything about it. Actress Rose McGowan famously came forward with her story about being raped by Weinstein. He scheduled a meeting with her in his hotel suite and sexually assaulted her while she was there. McGowan says that her attempts to press charges and hold him accountable in the aftermath led to him sabotaging her career. Farrow discovered that the Weinstein Company routinely paid settlements to women to get them to stay quiet and then forced them to sign non-disclosure agreements. 

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3. Talking to Ronan Farrow

By August 2017, Farrow was deep into his reporting on Weinstein and was planning to publish it in The New Yorker. Canosa agreed to tell her story to him on camera. The details of her conversation with him appear for the first time in Catch and Kill, where she describes how Weinstein insured silence from his victims. “He creates the situation in which your silence will benefit you more than speaking out will,” Canosa told Farrow.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Ronan Farrow (@ronanfarrow) on Oct 17, 2019 at 4:59am PDT

Canosa's full story appears in Farrow's book.

4. Canosa's claims of harassment

In her 2018 lawsuit, Canosa describes the same kind of behavior that other Weinstein accusers talk about. “On many occasions, Harvey Weinstein insisted on meeting with Plaintiff in isolated environments for business purposes, made sure that no other persons or bystanders were around when having business meetings with plaintiff, demanded sexual contact, and threatened plaintiff if she would not give him what he wanted, and forcing himself on plaintiff despite repeated requests to stop,” Canosa’s attorneys wrote in the filing.

The lawsuit lists over a dozen incidents where Weinstein verbally or physically harassed Canosa, including descriptions of forced sexual contact. The lawsuit states Weinstein demanded sex in return for career advancement and threatened to destroy Canosa's future prospects if she stopped having sex with him or said anything about his behavior. The lawsuit details that “Weinstein made it clear that Plaintiff was expected to give in to sexual advances and demands, expected to keep silent, and even expected to pretend to like it, in order to maintain her position and status in the workplace and the industry.” 

“Harvey Weinstein created an environment in which there was no choice but to do his bidding or suffer dire consequences both physically and to plaintiff’s career,” Canosa’s attorneys wrote, according to Variety

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Canosa filed suit in 2018.

5. Weinstein's lawyers respond

Weinstein didn't deny he and Canosa had sexual contact but he tried to characterize it as consensual. “Ali Canosa was a friend who had worked for the Weinstein Company for 10 years, traveled the world for the company, and held several influential roles; overseeing many projects throughout the years,” Weinstein attorney Phyllis Kupferstein said to Vanity Fair. “From someone who has been thought of as a good friend, involved only in a consensual relationship, these claims are not only mystifying to Mr. Weinstein, but deeply upsetting, and they are not supported by the facts.”

RELATED: 'Catch And Kill' Author Ronan Farrow Accuses NBC President Noah Oppenheim Of Covering Up For Matt Lauer And Harvey Weinstein

6. Smear campaign against Canosa

To bolster Weinstein's claims that Canosa willingly engaged in sexual contact with him, his lawyers dredged up hundreds of emails the two exchanged during the course of her employment at the Weinstein Company. Many of the emails have a collegial or even friendly tone, according to Page Six. While that is consistent with Canosa's claims that Weinstein made her act like she liked their interactions, Weinstein's team is trying to use it to prove Canosa is lying about the nature of their relationship. However, Farrow remarks in the book that he noticed a trend during his reporting on men in media and entertainment abusing women: many times, women remained in relationships with their abusers because the consequences of leaving to speaking out were too frightening. 

Canosa's lawsuit against Weinstein is ongoing. 

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.