Gwyneth Paltrow on Weinstein in 1998: ‘He will coerce you to do a thing or two’

The past week’s revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse spanning a decades-long career in Hollywood have come with the sadly common addendum that this was all more or less an open secret in the industry. It’s no surprise then that people are discovering or remembering old jokes about the former head of the Weinstein Company that went by unnoticed at the time.

“Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane got in a dig at the alleged rapist back in 2013 while announcing the Oscar nominees that year. “30 Rock” — as it did for Bill Cosby all the way back in 2009 — also tossed in a joke about Weinstein’s not-so-secret history.

But an even older clip that appears to reference the disturbing allegations against Weinstein has resurfaced (thanks to YouTube user Don Giller) after new reports were published detailing further and more serious accusations. Back in 1998, Gwyneth Paltrow appeared on “The Late Show,” and Harvey Weinstein, who produced “Shakespeare in Love,” was brought up. Host David Letterman asked Paltrow, who described in a Tuesday New York Times article her own experience with Weinstein and his unwanted advances during a meeting in his hotel room, if she was appearing on the show willingly. The conversation then turns to Weinstein as a “coercer.”

“Has someone coerced you into being here?” Letterman asks, joking about how the appearance meant Paltrow had to fly home on Thanksgiving Day if she wanted to spend the holiday with her family.

“Do you count Harvey Weinstein as a coercer?” Paltrow replied.

Letterman runs with the bit, joking about how Weinstein was a mafia-like figure who then moved to take over the film industry.

“I do all my movies for Harvey Weinstein, that’s Miramax for all of you,” Paltrow follows up. “And I’m lucky to do them there, but he will coerce you into doing a thing or two.”

Letterman keeps going before Paltrow even really finishes that sentence, but it definitely stands out in light of what we’ve learned over the past week — and doesn’t sound all that much like a joke.

[Screenshot via CBS]