The board made the decision to oust the mogul from his company at a meeting held yesterday afternoon after sexual harassment claims were made.
For nearly four decades, Harvey Weinstein was the don of indie film, and a force of nature. Now he’s been ousted by his own company.
In a move that would’ve been shocking a week ago, the mogul was terminated on Sunday as co-chairman of The Weinstein Co. after bombshell on-the-record sexual harassment allegations came to light in a New York Times report.
“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,” read a statement from the TWC board.
The situation came to a boiling point Sunday in an explosive meeting when Harvey was offered the opportunity to settle with the company and leave but refused, a source tells The Hollywood Reporter. In the meeting, Harvey argued that the scandal would blow over. The board disagreed. President/COO David Glasser and other TWC executives have been reaching out to talent to assure them that the company is going forward without Harvey.
Meanwhile, law firm Debevoise & Plimpton will continue the investigation into Harvey’s behavior despite his exit. Harvey, who has been staying at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills since Friday night, is now being represented personally by David Boies and Charles Harder.
The stunning turn of events followed an Oct. 5 New York Times article by investigative reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey detailing sexual harassment claims spanning decades on the part of the mogul, including from actress Ashley Judd. The paper also reported, citing two unnamed sources, that “Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women.”
Harvey Weinstein’s initial explanation to the Times about his behavior included a rambling statement saying that “I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.” Additionally, he said he would be taking a leave of absence from his company in order to direct his attention to campaigning against the National Rifle Association and President Donald Trump. (Following the Times report, many prominent Democratic politicians, of whom Weinstein had donated to over the years, gave away his contributions to charity.)
The same day as the Times report, Weinstein gave an interview to Page Six, giving reasons for taking his leave of absence: “I also have the worst temper known to mankind, my system is all wrong, and sometimes I create too much tension. I lose it, and I am emotional, that’s why I’ve got to spend more time with a therapist and go away.”
Despite an effort at contrition by the mogul, Weinstein’s lawyer Charles Harder stated that he was preparing legal action against the Times, writing in an email: “The New York Times published today a story that is saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein. It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by nine different eyewitnesses.” (A Times spokesperson responded: “We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting.”)
Following the story, the TWC board first held a contentious meeting Thursday night, during which Weinstein pled his case. On Friday, the board reconvened. Later that evening, after the board announced the leave of absence, TV news reporter Lauren Sivan told HuffPost about an incident a decade ago in which Weinstein masturbated in front of her in a hallway at the Cafe Socialista restaurant in New York, ejaculating into a potted plant. On Sunday, writer and artist Liza Campbell recounted, in the Sunday Times, that Weinstein once asked her to “jump in the bath” with him after summoning her to his hotel room in the Savoy for what she believed was a business meeting. More claims of misconduct could emerge. Journalist Ronan Farrow is said to be working on a Weinstein piece for The New Yorker.