Weinstein ousted over scandal
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.’’
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’’.