Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein has been removed from his position as co-chairman of the Weinstein Company after reports that he sexually harassed and assaulted several women.
A statement from the Weinstein Company Board of Representatives said: “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 informed Harvey Weinstein, that his employment with The Weinstein Company is terminated, effective immediately.”
Weinstein had taken a voluntary leave of absence after a New York Times investigation revealed that the Hollywood mogul had been involved in instances of sexual harassment since as far back as 1990, including actors Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan. Over the last three decades, Weinstein signed non-disclosure agreements with eight women, according to the report.
“Mr. Weinstein enforced a code of silence; employees of the Weinstein Company have contracts saying they will not criticize it or its leaders in a way that could harm its “business reputation” or “any employee’s personal reputation,” a recent document shows. “And most of the women accepting payouts agreed to confidentiality clauses prohibiting them from speaking about the deals or the events that led to them,” the report said.
A day later, a Huffington Post report revealed that Weinstein had allegedly cornered Fox News reporter Lauren Silvan in a restaurant hallway in New York and masturbated till he ejaculated. Silvan added that Weinstein called her at work the following to day inform that he “had a great game last night”.
The Weinstein Company, the film and television giant co-founded by Weinstein with his brother Bob, hired a law firm to begin an independent investigation into the matter. “We believe it is important to learn the full truth regarding the article’s very serious accusations, in the interests of the Company, its shareholders and its employees,” the board said.
Weinstein had been a donor to the Democratic National Party for years. The party has begun to distance itself from Weinstein. “The difference between Trump, Bill Cosby and Weinstein – none,” a Democratic National Committee member from California told The Hill. Coming under heavy criticism from the Republicans, almost a dozen Democratic senators said that they would donate Weinstein’s monetary contributions to not-for-profit companies that work for women who have survived sexual abuse. The committee also said that it would return the money it received from Weinstein in the last election cycle to political women’s groups.
As the head of the Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein has co-produced multiple award-winning and critically acclaimed films such as Shakespeare in Love (1998), Django Unchained (2012), The King’s Speech (2010) and Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Following the allegations revealed in the New York Times expose, none of Weinstein’s high-profile collaborators spoke about the matter.
Later, Hollywood personalities like Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham, Brie Larson, Seth Rogen and Mark Ruffalo condemned Weinstein for his actions.