What Exactly Does NY Times Mean By Saying Harvey Weinstein ‘Initiated’ a Massage ‘Himself’

The New York Times dropped an absolute bombshell story on the media world this afternoon, reporting on decades of sexual harassment accusations leveled against film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The jaw dropping report delves deep into the extent of Weinstein’s alleged misconduct, citing “dozens” of current and former employees who described salacious incidents — including a number in which the mogul offered career help in exchange for sexual favors.

The disturbing allegations contained within the Times report aside, there is one specific detail that — in the way it is cautiously described by reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey — begs further scrutiny.

They write (emphasis mine):

“In interviews, eight women described varying behavior by Mr. Weinstein: appearing nearly or fully naked in front of them, requiring them to be present while he bathed or repeatedly asking for a massage or initiating one himself.”

Now, the report is otherwise incredibly thorough, and extensively reported, but that one sentence raises more questions than it answers.

Namely: what do the reporters mean when they write that Weinstein initiated a massage “himself”? Are we to suppose this is an innocent, self-administered neck massage? A massage of an other body part or appendage, like a foot? Or maybe something more sinister?

Doubtless, this will all be revealed in legal discovery, but an update from the Times elucidating this detail would be greatly appreciated in the meantime.

We have reached out to the Times, as well as Weinstein’s attorney Lisa Bloom, and will update this story when we hear back.

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Managing Editor of Mediaite. Send tips via email: Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin