Harvey Weinstein, the co-founder of the indie mini-majors Miramax and The Weinstein Company, has been accused of sexual harassment against multiple women over the course of decades by The New York Times, with a New Yorker feature, written by Ronan Farrow, apparently in the works, too. Indiewire has a timeline of the various accusations leveled against the media mogul here.
Yeah, it’s a hell of a story. Unforgivable behavior. You need to be immensely powerful to get away with something so overt. I’ve never seen anything like it in the corporate world. I’ve never even heard of an aggressive attack with an implicit or explicit exchange of sex for advancement. Off-color jokes are common and I try to speak up to stop them whenever I see a woman rendered uncomfortable. I don’t always, and I’m not proud of that. But with behavior like this, I have no doubt that I would immediately intervene. Instinctively, like when a kid falls down on his bike in front of you.
What fallout? He’ll step back from Miramax and either be divorced from it or work behind the scenes, depending on how much ink the stories get. He won’t go to jail or anything and they’ll keep making movies.
Since he’s rich and powerful, I don’t expect Weinstein to wind up in prison, but the number of allegations surely will prevent him from returning to the company, despite it carrying his name. He’s 65. I can’t see him enjoying a Mel Gibson-esque comeback.
“People have been thinking the Weinstein Company is going to go under for a while. He was having a hard time raising the money,” the agent says. “His head of distribution left the company, his head of marketing left the company. There’s no one that works there that you’ve ever really heard of anymore. Glasser left and then came back. The infrastructure isn’t there anymore.”
Good for Ashley Judd for speaking up, and good for Brie Larson for backing her. I don’t know if anyone else from Hollywood has said anything. They’re all too scared of Weinstein, company financial troubles or no. That said, I expect that will start to change somewhat as this will get worse for Harvey as time goes on, not better.
“It’s a subject I don’t shy from, but it’s not relevant to what we’re discussing about Susan’s movie today. I have a lot of opinions about that, but not for this event tonight.”
That said, a number of people have come forward and thrown their support behind the accusers, though no huge star who’ve had a close working relationship Weinstein (e.g. Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Quentin Tarantino). What will be interesting will be if anyone publicly stand by him, though it’s not looking likely.
“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.”
At the time, he denied that he was on the payroll to help Weinstein with favors. From the story: “Reached in Italy, Mr. Lombardo declined to comment on the circumstances of his leaving Miramax or Ricucci, saying they were legal matters being handled by lawyers. ‘I am very proud of what we achieved at Miramax here in Italy,’ he said of his work for the film company. ‘It cannot be that they hired me because I’m a friend.'”
I also tracked down a woman in London who had been paid off after an unwanted sexual encounter with Weinstein. She was terrified to speak because of her non-disclosure agreement, but at least we had evidence of a pay-off.
The story I reported never ran.
After intense pressure from Weinstein, which included having Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call me directly to vouch >for Lombardo and unknown discussions well above my head at the Times, the story was gutted.
I was told at the time that Weinstein had visited the newsroom in person to make his displeasure known. I knew he >was a major advertiser in the Times, and that he was a powerful person overall.
But I had the facts, and this was the Times. Right?
I don’t care if he paid for sex or had someone procure him random broads or cheated on his wife. Go for it, fuck everything that moves, I couldn’t give a shit. His business.
For me, he crossed two red lines. First is coercion. Using your power to leverage women to sleep with you who otherwise wouldn’t dream of it in exchange for direct promises of advancement. It transcends scumbag behavior and crosses that line once the promises become direct.
Second is infinitely worse. Consent. Jerking off in front of that woman after arranging to get her alone in the back of a restaurant is imposing his will upon hers. It’s a degree of rape, criminal sexual assault.
It’s not paying the guy to get him women that disgusts me as much as it is guys like Damon and Crowe lying on his behalf and putting pressure on the Times to suppress the story. And I hope the Times isn’t patting itself too much on the back for running the current story, considering that they apparently helped extend this thing for 13 years.