The board made the decision to oust Weinstein at a meeting held Sunday afternoon.
In a move that would’ve been shocking a week ago, Harvey Weinstein has been terminated as co-chairman of The Weinstein Co. after bombshell on-the-record sexual harassment allegations came to light in a New York Times report on Oct. 5.
“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 Weinstein Co. board.
The board made the decision to oust Weinstein at a meeting held Sunday afternoon. The move comes despite Weinstein insisting in an emergency meeting in New York on Thursday that he maintain a path to return to the company after agreeing to an indefinite leave of absence. TWC is now being run by his brother and TWC co-chairman Bob Weinstein alongside president/COO David Glasser. Sources say Harvey Weinstein has been staying at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills since Friday night.
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 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 Trump.
Following the story, 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 the 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.
Since The Times report, three members of the nine-member, all-male board of The Weinstein Co. have now resigned. They include Dirk Ziff, Tim Sarnoff and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, who joined the board when former Cablevision CEO (and close friend of Harvey Weinstein) James Dolan vacated his seat in June 2016. Sunday’s statement was jointly made by the four remaining members of the board.
Harvey Weinstein’s attorney, Lisa Bloom — the daughter of Gloria Allred who has made a name for herself for working with victims of sexual assault and harassment — aggressively defended the mogul to the Times, as well as during TV appearances after the exposé was published. But on Saturday, after backlash to her role with Weinstein, she resigned, writing in Twitter post: “I have resigned as an advisor to Harvey Weinstein. My understanding is that Mr. Weinstein and his board are moving toward an agreement.”
On Sunday, many in Hollywood immediately applauded the move by the Weinstein Co. board. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn wrote on Twitter: “If even 1/10th of the stories about Harvey Weinstein are true (and I believe they are), then good fucking riddance. That shit’s gotta stop.” Added Gretchen Carlson, whose sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes forced him to resign as chairman and CEO of Fox News: “Women’s voices heard. Again and Finally. #BeFierceAlways Its working.”
For nearly four decades, Harvey Weinstein was the don of indie film, and a force of nature. The Weinstein brothers launched TWC in 2005 after leaving Miramax in an acrimonious split with Disney. Miramax, launched in 1979, was unparalleled in its success during the 1980s and 1990s, turning out such hits as Clerks, Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting and Shakespeare in Love and scoring numerous Oscar nominations and best-picture wins for films such as The English Patient and Chicago.
The last two years, however, have seen Harvey Weinstein’s golden touch wane. The company he runs with his brother had endured a tough run at the box office. TWC’s upcoming slate includes The Current War (Nov. 24), an industrial-age drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse; Paddington 2 (Jan. 2); The Upside (March 9); and Mary Magdalene (March 30).
A response to a message to Weinstein’s attorney, Charles Harder, for comment from the mogul steered media requests to Sallie Hofmeister of strategic communications firms Sitrick and Company, who told The Hollywood Reporter: “I can’t reach him at the moment. He’s unavailable. Apologies.”