They say bad press is better than no press, but being on front page of the L.A. Times today is certainly not good press for movie mogul and producer Harvey Weinstein. The article detailed Weinstein’s personal unpopularity and “generally loathsome” reputation in Hollywood, stating he would “regularly reduce people to tears with his blistering, belittling tantrums unleashing torrents of profanity-laced verbal abuse,” and how people in the industry were “secretly or not-so-secretly” rooting against him. Last week, The New York Times broke the news about Weinstein’s alleged decades-long history of sexually harassing women, including actresses and employees, and multiple settlement payouts to keep them hushed. Actress Ashley Judd has also leveled charges of improper sexual advances against Weinstein. Lauren Sivan, a former Fox News reporter and a reporter at KTTV, came forward to accuse Weinstein of masturbating in front of her. U.K. freelance writer Liza Campbell said Weinstein asked her to jump in a bath with him when she showed up to his hotel for a business meeting. Amidst the scandal, Weinstein’s own company has unceremoniously given him the boot.
The Weinstein Company (TWC) was founded in 2005 by Weinstein and his brother Bob, an independent film company behind such powerhouse Oscar-recognized fare as The Imitation Game, Vicky Christina Barcelona, The Reader, Inglorious Basterds, Silver Linings Playbook, The King’s Speech, The Iron Lady, The Artist, Philomena, August:Osage County, Django Unchained, Carol, The Hateful Eight, and Lion. Prior to TWC, the Weinstein’s Miramax (named after their parents Miriam and Max), which was later sold to Walt Disney Co., led three of its films – The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, and Chicago – to Best Picture Oscar wins.
But oh how the mighty have fallen. With the sexual harassment scandal brewing around him, TWC’s board of directors asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence on Friday, and the board today voted to remove Weinstein from the company for cause. His brother Bob is now in control of TWC, with David Glasser as chief operating officer. In a statement released today, TWC announced “In light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days, the directors of The Weinstein Company — Robert Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar — have determined, and have informed Harvey Weinstein, that his employment with The Weinstein Company is terminated, effective immediately.” According to Variety, Weinstein did not agree to leave the company. There is no financial settlement in place. Weinstein’s attorney Lisa Bloom resigned and his advisor Lanny Davis resigned yesterday.
According to reports, Weinstein had been furiously attempting to fight off termination and was pleading his case that he could weather this crisis. However, many in the industry have turned their backs. Talent agencies have informed TWC that they would continue to work with the company only so long as Weinstein is not involved. Actors including Seth Rogen, Lena Dunham, Brie Larson, and Judd Apatow have condemned Weinstein and thrown their support behind Weinstein’s alleged victims. In the world of politics, Democrats including Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Patrick Leahy have routed Weinstein’s political donations to charity.
Once a king of the Oscar campaign and one of Hollywood’s biggest movers and shakers, Weinstein now has a new cause to champion – that of his professional future and survival in his own industry.