We­in­stein ousted over scan­dal

Sunday Star-Times - - WORLD -

Co-chair­man Harvey We­in­stein is tak­ing an in­def­i­nite leave from the We­in­stein Com­pany, the film pro­duc­tion com­pany said yes­ter­day, adding that it will con­duct an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a New York Times re­port of sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions against one of the most pow­er­ful men in Hol­ly­wood.

The We­in­stein Com­pany board said that it took ‘‘ex­tremely se­ri­ously’’ the claims that We­in­stein had made eight set­tle­ments with women who had ac­cused him of un­wanted phys­i­cal con­tact and sex­ual ha­rass­ment over three decades.

Mean­while, the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee and sev­eral Demo­cratic politi­cians said they would re-route We­in­stein’s po­lit­i­cal do­na­tions to women’s rights groups.

We­in­stein board rep­re­sen­ta­tives called it ‘‘es­sen­tial’’ to com­pany cul­ture ‘‘that all women who work for it or have any deal­ings with it or any of our ex­ec­u­tives are treated with re­spect and have no ex­pe­ri­ence of ha­rass­ment or dis­crim­i­na­tion’’.

We­in­stein, 65, would take an in­def­i­nite leave of ab­sence, the com­pany said. His brother Bob, a co-chair­man, and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer David Glasser will lead the com­pany.

We­in­stein ini­tially re­sponded to the Times story by apol­o­gis­ing for caus­ing any­one pain, and say­ing he was tak­ing a leave of ab­sence. His lawyer later threat­ened to sue the news­pa­per.

We­in­stein, one of Hol­ly­wood’s best-known fig­ures, has pro­duced or dis­trib­uted Os­car-win­ning movies in­clud­ing Shake­speare In Love and Chicago.

The Times chron­i­cled al­le­ga­tions against We­in­stein by ac­tress Ash­ley Judd and for­mer em­ploy­ees of both the We­in­stein Com­pany and We­in­stein’s for­mer pro­duc­tion com­pany, Mi­ra­max.

A source said We­in­stein had re­sisted the pres­sure from the board to step down, hop­ing to weather the storm, and that dis­cus­sions be­tween We­in­stein and the board had been heated and con­tentious.

We­in­stein at­tor­ney Lisa Bloom both de­fended We­in­stein and ac­knowl­edged that he had been ‘‘stupid’’.

She saluted the women who had come for­ward to al­lege wrong­do­ing but said many of the al­le­ga­tions were overblown.

We­in­stein said his wife would re­main at his side while try­ing to make him ‘‘a bet­ter hu­man be­ing’’.

Ge­orgina Chap­man, 41, a Bri­tish fash­ion de­signer and co-founder of the March­esa la­bel, would be ‘‘kick­ing my ass’’ and push­ing him to ‘‘apol­o­gise to peo­ple for my bad be­hav­iour’’, We­in­stein told the New York Post, as ac­tors and film­mak­ers spoke out against him. Some said the al­le­ga­tions against him were ‘‘Hol­ly­wood’s worst-kept se­cret’’.

Pro­ducer Judd Apa­tow de­clared that ‘‘wealthy peo­ple buy si­lence with set­tle­ments’’, adding: ‘‘The con­fi­den­tial­ity clause al­lows preda­tors to hurt peo­ple. For decades.’’

We­in­stein faced ridicule for a state­ment he re­leased in re­sponse to the sto­ries about his be­hav­iour, in which he ex­plained that: ‘‘I came of age in the Six­ties and Sev­en­ties, when the rules about be­hav­iour and work­places were dif­fer­ent.’’

He said he and his wife had dined with Bloom, who is also an ad­vo­cate for fe­male vic­tims of sex­ual mis­con­duct.

‘‘Ge­orgina and I have talked about this,’’ he said. ‘‘She stands

100 per cent be­hind me.’’

REUTERS

Hol­ly­wood mogul Harvey We­in­stein says his wife, fash­ion de­signer Ge­orgina Chap­man, will be push­ing him to ‘‘apol­o­gise to peo­ple for my bad be­hav­iour’’ and try­ing to make him ‘‘a bet­ter hu­man be­ing’’.

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