Harvey Weinstein is a Hollywood mogul extraordinaire. He was a mover and shaker. But apparently, he was moving and shaking things that didn’t want to be shook. The Weinstein Company fired its co-founder Harvey Weinstein on Sunday, after a New York Times investigation uncovered allegations that he had engaged in rampant sexual harassment, dealing a stunning blow to a producer known for shaping American film and championing liberal causes. It’s pretty bad when you are fired from a company bearing your name.
The statement announcing the firing said the decision had been made “in light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days.” In an interview, Lance Maerov, one of the company’s four board members, said it had been brought to their attention that Mr. Weinstein had violated the company’s code of conduct at some point in the past week, but he would not specify what the violation was.
Mr. Maerov said Mr. Weinstein had been notified of his termination by email Sunday evening. October 10th. The action was taken by Mr. Maerov, Bob Weinstein (Mr. Weinstein’s brother), Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar. A fifth board member, Paul Tudor Jones, resigned on Saturday. “This is not the time for Harvey or TWC to appear defiant or indignant,” Maerov wrote, using an abbreviation for the Weinstein Company. “It is time to repair, heal, accept responsibility and recover.”
He’s been Allegedly Doing Nasty Stuff For Years
The sexual harassment allegations uncovered by The Times stretched back decades and came from actresses as well as former employees of the Weinstein Company and Miramax, the previous company that Mr. Weinstein and his brother founded.
They sent the company scrambling to do damage control, with Bob Weinstein outlining the fallout in an email to Mr. Weinstein’s legal adviser, Lisa Bloom.
We Don’t Want Your Stinking Money!
“The Democrats are giving Harvey’s money back,” he wrote on Friday morning, referring to politicians who were unloading political contributions they had received from Mr. Weinstein to women’s groups. “Women’s rights organizations are offended by his actions and are now calling for him to be fired. Actors and actresses in the community are appalled at Harvey and have gone on the record as such.”
The situation was complicated by Harvey Weinstein’s response to the Times article, swinging wildly between contrition and attack. In a statement on Thursday, he acknowledged that “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it,” while likening his personal flaws to those of the rapper Jay-Z, who apologized on his most recent album to his wife, Beyoncé, for cheating on her.
Mr. Weinstein said he was planning to get help, but within hours, he had threatened to sue The Times for defamation. And in her own statement released on Thursday, Ms. Bloom said Mr. Weinstein “denies many of the accusations as patently false.”
Shut Up or I’ll Sue
Ms. Bloom told the company’s board on Thursday that Mr. Weinstein was planning to follow through with a lawsuit, and that board members could expect “more and different reporting” that would include “photos of several of the accusers in very friendly poses with Harvey after his alleged misconduct.” Good luck on that lawsuit, Harvey.
In a story in the New Yorker written by Ronan Farrow, he claims Weinstein forcibly performed or received oral sex and also forced vaginal sex on women. It also contains on-the-record accounts from Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette of encounters or business meetings with Weinstein that devolved into being propositioned sexually. The deeply reported story will likely exacerbate Weinstein’s problems at a time when reports of previous instances of harassment have left him ostracized.
“I know he has crushed a lot of people before,” Argento said in the story “That’s why this story — in my case, it’s twenty years old, some of them are older — has never come out.”
Sorvino, who won an Oscar appearing in “Mighty Aphrodite” for Miramax, Weinstein’s company, told Farrow that Weinstein “harassed her” and pressured her to have a sexual relationship while she appeared in films for Miramax. At the Toronto Film Festival in 1995, she claims he propositioned her, and later showed up weeks later at her apartment after midnight.
The Sordid Stories Keep Surfacing
In Toronto, Sorvino said Weinstein “… started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around.” Arquette describes encountering a bathrobe-wearing Weinstein in his hotel room, where he tried to intimidate her into sexual contact. Both Sorvino and Arquette claim that after they rejected Weinstein’s advances, their careers suffered. Just say no.
Through a spokeswoman (of course it is a woman) Weinstein denied that he had assaulted women. “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” the statement reads. “Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
In addition, the New Yorker piece also reports that four women experienced unwanted physical contact with Weinstein, that “could be classified as an assault.” Weinstein also allegedly exposed himself to women or masturbated in their presence.
Deny, Deny Deny, Until The Day You Die! Oops.
The story also includes audio of Weinstein admitting (Harvey you have the right to remain silent, but not the ability) to groping Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, an Italian model who went public with her claims that the mogul had touched her breasts and put his hand up her skirt without her consent. Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr. ultimately decided not to press charges, which a police source tells us was a mistake.
Gutierrez and Weinstein met up at a hotel in Manhattan. On the tape, he was heard pleading with her to come up to his hotel room and she was heard resisting him. At one point, Gutierrez asked him, “Why did you touch my breast?” Weinstein responded by saying sorry and “I’m used to that.” A moment later, he added, “I won’t do it again.”
The NYPD confirmed that it investigated a “misdemeanor sexual abuse complaint against Harvey Weinstein” in March 2015. The tape was handed over to the District Attorney in Manhattan. The D.A. office said Tuesday that the recording is “horrifying,” but it was insufficient to prove a crime had occurred.
“If we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015, we would have,” the office said. “We had the evidence,” the source told Farrow, with the author noting that if convicted of assault, Weinstein could have faced jail time.
Harvey, You Need To Take A Long Vacation
The New Yorker story comes on the heels of a piece last week in the New York Times that detailed numerous instances of alleged harassment and financial settlements spanning multiple decades, I wonder if he is friends with Bill O’Reilly? Or if he produced any Bill Cosby movies? Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Company on Sunday. The indie studio behind “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist” will change its name as it tries to move forward from the scandal. That will be complicated by Farrow’s story, which describes a culture of intimidation at the company, in which employees were afraid to speak out about Weinstein’s mistreatment of women.Farrow, an NBC correspondent, spent 10 months interviewing 13 women who reported they were harassed or assaulted by Weinstein between the 1990’s and now. The story came two days after Weinstein was fired from his company in the wake of a New York Times story detailing numerous incidents of alleged sexual harassment over a period of three decades.Later on Tuesday, The Times published a follow-up story with quotes from Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and other Hollywood actresses. Both Paltrow and Jolie said Weinstein made unwanted advances in the 1990s.
See No Evil, Hear No Evil
Farrow’s article also advanced the widely-held theory that some of Weinstein’s colleagues knew about misconduct. “Sixteen former and current executives and assistants at Weinstein’s companies told me that they witnessed or had knowledge of unwanted sexual advances and touching at events associated with Weinstein’s films and in the workplace,” Farrow wrote. “They and others describe a pattern of professional meetings that were little more than thin pretexts for sexual advances on young actresses and models.” A former executive described, in chilling detail, a culture of fear that surrounded Weinstein.
“Many said that they had seen Weinstein’s associates confront and intimidate those who crossed him, and feared that they would be similarly targeted,” Farrow wrote. “Four actresses, including Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, told me they suspected that, after they rejected Weinstein’s advances or complained about them to company representatives, Weinstein had them removed from projects or dissuaded people from hiring them.”
But They Wanted It (I Thought!)
In response to the new set of allegations, Weinstein’s spokeswoman also said, “Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
The statement continued, “Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.
What will happen? I don’t know, but America is the land of second chances. But usually the American public wants a show of contrition. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa. The literal translation from Latin is “Through My own Fault.” My definition (I didn’t take Latin) is, I’m guilty to the Max. There is another Latin Phrase that I love: ‘Illegitimi non carborundum’ is a mock-Latin aphorism meaning, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” I’ll bet Harvey feels that way.
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