Harvey Weinstein Is Fired After Sexual Harassment Reports – New York Times

The Weinstein Company fired its co-founder Harvey Weinstein on Sunday, after a New York Times investigation uncovered allegations that he had engaged in rampant sexual harassment, dealing a stunning blow to a producer known for shaping American film and championing liberal causes.

The statement announcing the firing said the decision had been made “in light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days.” In an interview, Lance Maerov, one of the company’s four board members, said it had been brought to their attention that Mr. Weinstein had violated the company’s code of conduct at some point in the past week, but he would not specify what the violation was.

Mr. Maerov said Mr. Weinstein had been notified of his termination by email Sunday evening. The action was taken by Mr. Maerov, Bob Weinstein (Mr. Weinstein’s brother), Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar. A fifth board member, Paul Tudor Jones, resigned on Saturday.

The firing was an escalation from Friday, when one-third of the company’s all-male board resigned and four members who remained announced that Mr. Weinstein would take a leave of absence while an outside lawyer investigated the allegations.

Harvey Weinstein could not be reached for comment, and Bob Weinstein declined to comment. Together, Harvey Weinstein and his brother own 42 percent of the company; Mr. Maerov said it was not yet clear what would happen with his share.

The sexual harassment allegations uncovered by The Times stretched back decades and came from actresses as well as former employees of the Weinstein Company and Miramax, the previous company that Mr. Weinstein and his brother founded.

They sent the company scrambling to do damage control, with Bob Weinstein outlining the fallout in an email to Mr. Weinstein’s legal adviser, Lisa Bloom.

“The Democrats are giving Harvey’s money back,” he wrote on Friday morning, referring to politicians who were unloading political contributions they had received from Mr. Weinstein to women’s groups. “Women’s rights organizations are offended by his actions and are now calling for him to be fired. Actors and actresses in the community are appalled at Harvey and have gone on the record as such.”

The situation was complicated by Harvey Weinstein’s response to the Times article, swinging wildly between contrition and attack. In a statement on Thursday, he acknowledged that “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it,” while likening his personal flaws to those of the rapper Jay-Z, who apologized on his most recent album to his wife, Beyoncé, for cheating on her.

Mr. Weinstein said he was planning to get help, but within hours, he had threatened to sue The Times for defamation. And in her own statement released on Thursday, Ms. Bloom said Mr. Weinstein “denies many of the accusations as patently false.”

Ms. Bloom told the company’s board on Thursday that Mr. Weinstein was planning to follow through with a lawsuit, and that board members could expect “more and different reporting” that would include “photos of several of the accusers in very friendly poses with Harvey after his alleged misconduct.”

Mr. Maerov voiced anger in an email response to Ms. Bloom, saying her approach and public comments were “definitely fanning the flames and compounding the problem” and contending that she had a conflict of interest because Mr. Weinstein had agreed to turn a book she wrote into a TV series.

“This is not the time for Harvey or TWC to appear defiant or indignant,” he wrote, using an abbreviation for the Weinstein Company. “It is time to repair, heal, accept responsibility and recover.”

He wrote that “publishing pictures of victims in friendly poses with Harvey will backfire as it suggests they are exculpatory or negate any harm done to them through alleged actions.”

Bob Weinstein put it this way in his email to Ms. Bloom: “Perhaps, Harvey as he stated in the NY Times, to the world, should get professional help for a problem that really exists.”

On Saturday, Ms. Bloom resigned as an adviser to Mr. Weinstein. She offered no explanation, saying only that it was her understanding “that Mr. Weinstein and his board are moving toward an agreement.”

She said in an interview Saturday afternoon that there was a large team handling Mr. Weinstein’s defense and that she personally “did not release photos of accusers” to the news media. She also denied that her work with Mr. Weinstein created a conflict of interest.

Mr. Weinstein also parted ways with another adviser, Lanny Davis, a lawyer and crisis counselor who served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton. He and Mr. Weinstein had disagreed over how to handle the sexual harassment allegations, with Mr. Davis advising a more conciliatory approach than Mr. Weinstein seemed willing to adopt.

In recent days, other women have gone public with accusations of sexual misconduct by Mr. Weinstein, including a former news anchor who said he had trapped her in the hallway of a restaurant that was closed to the public and masturbated in front of her.

For decades, Mr. Weinstein had cultivated an image as a liberal power broker, raising money for Hillary Clinton, briefly employing Malia Obama as an intern and calling himself an advocate for women. President Trump, who has himself been accused of making unwelcome advances toward women, told reporters on Saturday that he had known Mr. Weinstein “for a long time” and was “not at all surprised to see” the reports.

For the past week, many women in Hollywood, frustrated with an industry that seems stuck perpetually sexualizing and mistreating women, had been watching closely to see where the Weinstein revelations would lead.

“I see this as a tipping point,” Jenni Konner, executive producer of the HBO series “Girls,” said on Sunday. “This is the moment we look back on and say, ‘That’s when it all started to change.’”

The firing of Mr. Weinstein by his own company, Ms. Konner said, “is going to scare any man in Hollywood using his power for anything but making movies and television.”

Maggie Astor and Jodi Kantor contributed reporting.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Powered by WPeMatico

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *