The producer, one of the fundamental names of American cinema in recent years, is fired from his company amid reports of abuse of women
Sex and Hollywood. Anyone would rub their hands.
Sex, Hollywood and Harvey Weinstein, the world’s most powerful film producer and distributor out of a major (a major Hollywood studio).
Big words. Beefsteak all over the world. Even President Donald Trump decided to give his opinion on Saturday about the scandal: “I’ve known Harvey Weinstein for a long time, it does not surprise me at all.”
The attack made sense: For decades Weinstein has been a major fundraiser for the Democratic campaigns, supporting the Clinton and Barack Obama films.
Even Malia Obama, the ex-president’s eldest daughter, has been a fellow at her firm until the end of last summer.
Several senators and congressmen have sent donations made by the producer to NGOs that fight against sexual abuse.
Last night, what was left of the board of directors of The Weinstein Company, headed by his brother Bob, announced his dismissal.
Now nobody seems to know anything about Harvey Weinstein, driver of the career of Quentin Tarantino and producer of films like Shakespeare in love or The Artist.
The storm broke out on Thursday when The New York Times ran a lengthy report on Weinstein’s hidden face as a sex predator.
Among the details, which on at least eight occasions, from the mid-1990s to 2015, the producer had reached out-of-court settlements with its victims of harassment and abuse. In exchange for money, they kept quiet.
A secretary, three assistants, actresses, models … Others have had the courage to take the step forward. Ashley Judd told the New York newspaper how during the filming of The Lovers’ Collector Weinstein summoned him for a working meeting at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.
There Judd found the producer who, dressed only in a robe, proposed to massage him in the neck or if he wanted to watch him while showering.
Judd managed to flee from the trap, not like some of the filmmaker’s assistants.
Among those who signed these confidentiality contracts are actress Rose McGowan, who received 100,000 in dollars in 1997, or Italian model Ambra Battilana, the last one that denounced him, in 2015.
After the publication of the story, Weinstein sent a statement in which he apologized for his behavior, confessed to receiving therapy and said, “I’m trying to do things better, but I know I still have a long way to go.”
Finally, he announced that was temporarily retired – since last night, definitively – from the co-presidency of his company The Weinstein Company, which from now on leads alone brother Bob.
However, that estrangement from the cinema has not silenced history.
In The New York Times, Judd said: “So far the victims have spoken of this among us, but it is time for us to make it public.”
Many members of the film industry have since Friday emphasizing: how could it be that something the whole industry knew has not come to light before?
Did not any victims think that by being silent they were allowing them to continue their abuses?
The same McGowan wrote on Twitter: “Women of Hollywood, where are you?
Your silence is deafening.” Of the big Hollywood stars, only Jessica Chastain, Brie Larson, Lena Durham and director Judd Apatow have come into the debate, supporting Judd and McGowan.
There have been more support from the middle class, from good performers who are not on the A list, such as Mark Ruffalo, America Ferrara, Thomas Sadoski, Amber Tamblyn, Ellen Barkin or Seth Rogen. The rest, silence.
Lisa Bloom, a Weinstein attorney who specializes in sexual harassment cases, said in a statement Thursday that her client “denies many of the allegations and categorizes them as clearly false.”
And that they wanted to sue the newspaper.
On Saturday, Bloom announced on Twitter the resignation of his post, without giving further explanation.
Last night the board of directors of The Weinstein Company – made up of nine members who resigned three, another refused to sign and Harvey was not summoned – had criticized the first steps of Bloom’s strategy.
The company announced at the time (48 hours before dismissing) that it supported Weinstein in his temporary withdrawal and opened an internal investigation into the facts, because among the victims are company executives like Lauren O’Connor.
Curiously, O’Connor has already drafted an internal report in 2015 on harassment of herself and others.
Another demonstration of Weinstein’s alleged hypocrisy, which shelved the investigation while continuing its image as the leader of the feminist cause, producing an O’Connor documentary on sexual abuse on university campuses, or joining this year to the women’s marches in January in protest of Trump’s inauguration.
More victims of abuse have appeared over the weekend.
According to the Huffington Post, Lauren Sivan, a news anchor, was forced ten years ago by the producer to see how she masturbates in a restaurant.
Liza Campbell, screenwriter and artist, described in the Sunday Times how 20 years ago the producer invited him to bathe with him, and managed to escape from the room of the Savoy Hotel, which he had summoned him when he announced that he was leaving the company.
Weinstein (New York, 1952) has always navigated seas of controversy.
With his brother Bob created Miramax – name that fuses the one of its parents, Miriam and Max – in 1979, with which they revolutionized the indie cinema in years 80.
After selling the company to Disney (burdened by the debts), they were dismissed of her in 2005 and founded The Weinstein Company.
In that way, they have obtained more than 80 Oscars and near 350 candidacies to the prizes of Hollywood, including the foreign films that distributed in the USA.
His name is behind the success of The Artist, Life is Beautiful, Tiger and Dragon, Cinema Paradiso, The English Patient, The Iron Lady or Shakespeare in Love, who reported to him, as producer, the only Oscar won by himself.
The Weinstein drove the careers of the 1980s indie filmmakers, such as Steven Soderbergh, Quentin Tarantino (his pretty boy) or Kevin Smith, who eventually repudiated him.
Because Weinstein considers himself a filmmaker, and Smith is fed up with his pressures.
In Hollywood the producer is known to him as The Punisher or Harvey Scissorhands, for his tendency to trace the films that matter to the US without consulting the directors.
The Hollywood Academy has changed its rules several times to stop its aggressive campaigns at the Oscars.
He himself was behind the promotion for the statuettes of Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Lawrence or Gwyneth Paltrow.
In spite of that, two years ago during a visit to Madrid said: “The important thing is not the marketing, but the films”. Today, if you want to go back to the movies, you will need your best promotional campaign.
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