Scandal could end Harvey Weinstein’s career
Los Angeles — For decades, Harvey Weinstein has held a lofty position in Hollywood as one of the industry’s most powerful figures — an old-school, larger-than-life movie mogul who was never shy about throwing his weight around.
But Weinstein’s name — such a regular refrain on countless Oscar nights — on Thursday rang out in a different way. In a bombshell expose, The New York Times reported that Weinstein had reached at least eight legal settlements with women over alleged harassment. With allegations levied by actresses including Ashley Judd and former employees at both the Weinstein Co. and Weinstein’s former company, Miramax, the report detailed decades of abuse.
On Friday, Weinstein was placed on indefinite leave from the company he co-founded while an internal investigation into the allegations against him is completed, The Weinstein Co.’s board of directors announced.
In a statement, the board said that Weinstein’s future with the company depends on his therapeutic progress and the results of the internal investigation. It said Weinstein’s leave commenced Friday.
“Next steps will depend on Harvey’s therapeutic process, the outcome of the board’s independent investigation and Harvey’s own personal decisions,” the statement read.
Weinstein’s attorneys also did not respond to emails seeking comment Friday. But many in Hollywood are wondering if his leave might be permanent. Is this, like the accusations that felled Bill Cosby and Roger Ailes, the end for the sharp-elbowed independent film pioneer whose editing-room meddling earned him the nickname “Harvey Scissorhands” and whose unprecedented run of Oscar glory made him a Hollywood deity?
“Harvey Weinstein’s career in Hollywood is likely over,” declared industry trade Variety.
Others were less sure if this was indeed the downfall of Weinstein, who has weathered downturns and bankruptcy before. Weinstein was contrite in an earlier statement on Thursday, acknowledging “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain.” He added: “I want a second chance in the community but I know I’ve got work to do to earn it.”
“I don’t know if he’s done because Harvey is the kind of person who has the ability to rise again, which he has done so many times from a business perspective,” said Sharon Waxman, CEO and founder of trade website The Wrap, and author of “Rebels on the Backlot.”
“If he can make amends, if he can apologize then I think a lot of things are possible,” said Waxman. “Hollywood is not public office, you are not required to have a morality clause necessarily. It’s business. And ultimately he has to run his business which has also survived near death experiences many, many times, and has also been sold for $600 million. I would say it’s up to him as to whether he survives in Hollywood.”
Weinstein’s attorneys earlier signaled a fight was still to come. Weinstein’s attorney Charles J. Harder, who recently waged a successful suit for Hulk Hogan against Gawker, said in a statement that the Times story is “saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein.” In an interview with the New York Post, Weinstein alleged the Times has “a vendetta” against him, and said “the next time I see (New York Times Executive Editor) Dean Baquet it will be across a courtroom.”
A spokesperson for The New York Times responded: “We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting.”
“Anyone who does business with (blank space) is complicit,” actress Rose McGowan tweeted. The New York Times reported that a settlement of $100,000 was paid to McGowan by Weinstein after an incident in 1997.
go to charities
Congressional Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and potential 2020 presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren among them, are starting to give charities thousands of dollars in donations they had received from disgraced Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein and his family have given more than $1.4 million in political contributions since the 1992 election cycle, virtually all of it to Democratic lawmakers, candidates and their allies, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
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