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A-List Restaurateur Accused of Providing ‘Hunting Ground’ for Harvey Weinstein

The disgraced film producer allegedly assaulted three women at Cipriani hotels and restaurants


A celebrity restaurant mogul allegedly furnished a “hunting ground” for disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, per an investigation from the Daily Beast. Fifty-three-year-old Giuseppe Cipriani is the heir to a multibillion-dollar global restaurant, hotel, and nightlife empire, with outlets from Abu Dhabi to Venice that cater to A-list celebrities. (His grandfather founded the famous Harry’s Bar in Venice, where the bellini is said to have been invented.) The Cipriani group has five locations of its eponymous Italian restaurant in New York City alone.

The Daily Beast notes that “Weinstein is accused of three sexual assaults at Cipriani properties, and is charged with a fourth assault against a woman he met at Cipriani Upstairs in Manhattan.”

Lauren Sivan, a former journalist who accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her in 2007, says Cipriani’s global empire of venues served as Weinstein’s “hunting ground.” A friend of Sivan’s told the Daily Beast that on the night Sivan was allegedly assaulted, they had been dining with Weinstein and Cipriani at Cipriani’s former West Village lounge, Socalista. When Weinstein and Sivan disappeared together, the friend says she asked Cipriani if she should go find Sivan, to which he allegedly replied, “If it was my friend I would,” implying that he had knowledge of Weinstein’s predatory behavior.

Sources tell the Daily Beast that “the NYPD has been inquiring about the relationship between Cipriani and Weinstein,” though Cipriani has not been charged with anything. According to a December 2017 report by the New York Times, Weinstein leaned on his close relationships with powerful people, including lawyers, agents, and even journalists, in order to keep a lid on decades worth of sexual misconduct accusations.

Weinstein has also been accused of raping an actress at Mr. C., a Beverly Hills hotel also owned by Cipriani, where Weinstein — reportedly an early investor in the hotel — allegedly had “free rein,” including gratis use of a $2,700-a-night rooftop suite that he used as a “sex pad.” The Italian actress told the Los Angeles Times that she was staying at the hotel in 2013 when Weinstein “dragged [her] to the bathroom and forcibly raped [her].” A spokesperson for Cipriani acknowledged to the Daily Beast that Weinstein had been a guest at Mr. C. “on several occasions,” but denied knowledge of any assault or other wrongdoing.

In May, Weinstein was charged with two counts of rape and one count of a criminal sex act, for which he faces up to 25 years in prison. He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in New York earlier this month, and has publicly denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. He’s due back in court in September for a hearing.

The Cipriani enterprise has had its fair share of highly publicized scandals: Most notably, in 2007 Cipriani and his father pleaded guilty to tax evasion in New York and were ordered to pay $10 million in restitution.

The Nightclub King Whose Properties Were Harvey Weinstein’s ‘Hunting Ground’ [DB]

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