During Harvey Weinstein's January and February 2020 rape and sexual assault trial in New York City, witness testimony at certain points discussed the disgraced movie mogul and producer's body in the context of his crimes.
Accuser Jessica Mann testified about his body, at one point saying, as reported by The New York Times, "When I first saw him naked, I was filled with compassion, absolute compassion. It seemed his anger came from a place of pain." She further told the jury, as reported by Vulture, that the first time she saw him naked, "I thought he was deformed and intersex. He has an extreme scarring that I didn't know, maybe [he] was a burn victim…" She added, "He does not have testicles, and it appears that he has a vagina."
The prosecution's last witness, Lauren Young, also testified about Weinstein's body and, like Mann, mentioned scarring, USA Today reported. Police photos and an illustration depicting the famed producer's naked form were also shown to the jury that in February convicted him of one count of criminal sexual assault in the first degree and one count of rape in the third degree.
The testimony raised questions about what happened to Weinstein to spark those descriptions. Now, a new report from Airmail, Graydon Carter's digital news weekly, headlined "The Making of a Predator Part I: What hidden demons drove Harvey Weinstein's rise and fall?" appears to explain it.
According to the story, which was highlighted by Page Six, Harvey was taken off the Caribbean island of St. Barts shortly after Christmas in 1999 on a medical flight. The Weinstein Company said only that he had a bacterial infection, and the mogul himself claimed he was sick because of something he ate. But the truth, the story claims, is that he had a "near-death experience" — one that left him with a visible tracheotomy scar on his neck.
As reporter Phoebe Eaton further writes, "He had been stricken with Fournier's gangrene, an acute infection of the genital region that diabetics and middle-aged men are prone to." (Weinstein, who reportedly has Type 2 diabetes, would have been 47 at the time.)
She continues, "Some patients need skin grafts to repair the affected area, while extreme cases can require an orchiectomy, the removal of the testicles. Deterioration of sexual function is another common side effect." Weinstein was known to use the erectile dysfunction medication Caverject, a supply of which his assistants had to keep for him, Airmail reports.
The Airmail story also includes a quote from Weinstein referencing the ordeal without sharing specifics. His words appeared in an unreleased 2017 public statement, the story explains: Weinstein wrote, "My body has trauma. Vets tell me I have PTSD."
A spokesperson for Weinstein — who's currently incarcerated in a New York state prison where he's just a few months into a 23-year sentence — confirmed he'd undergone numerous surgeries. He is "lucky to be alive," the spokesperson told Airmail.