One of Hollywood's most-powerful producers is taking a leave of absence after a New York Times story detailed decades of alleged sexual harassment of several women including coworkers and actresses including Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan.

"I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it," read the statement from movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.  "My journey now will be to learn about myself and conquer my demons," the 65-year-old father of five wrote.

But later, Weinstein turned combative and told a crappy Murdoch tabloid that the New York Times had a "vendetta" against him and he planned to sue.

"What I am saying is that I bear responsibility for my actions, but the reason I am suing is because of the Times' inability to be honest with me, and their reckless reporting.  They told me lies.  They made assumptions," Weinstein told the New York Post.  "The Times had a deal with us that they would tell us about the people they had on the record in the story, so we could respond appropriately, but they didn't live up to the bargain.  The Times editors were so fearful they were going to be scooped by New York Magazine and they would lose the story, that they went ahead and posted the story filled with reckless reporting, and without checking all they had with me and my team."

Weinstein erroneously referred to New York Magazine, when in fact a separate publication - The New Yorker - was reportedly planning an expose of about alleged misconduct to be written by Ronan Farrow (the son of Mia Farrow and probably Frank Sinatra IMHO).

The New York Times reported that multiple women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct during his long career.  The accusers say they were in the twenties when alleged harassed by Weinstein, who would appear before them naked or insist they watch him bathe, or similar activities.

Judd alleged that when she first met Weinstein, he appeared to her in a bathrobe in a hotel room and asked her if she could either give him a massage or watch him take a shower.  "I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask," Ms. Judd said.  "It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining."  She recalled thinking, "How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?"

The Times also reported Weinstein has reached settlements with at least eight women, including actor Rose McGowen for US$100,000 over an encounter in his hotel room at the Sundance Film Festival in the late 1990s.

Weinstein co-founded his namesake company and Miramax Films. and has co-produced a number of Oscar-winning blockbusters including Shakespeare in Love, The King's Speech and The Artist.  His lawyer says the allegations against him are "patently false".