Miramax and The Weinstein Company Co-Founder Harvey Weinstein came under fire last week after several allegations of sexual harassment were levied against him by women he worked with, some of which date back decades.
Now, he’s been fired by the company he helped build from the ground up.
The Weinstein Company issued the following statement in response to Harvey Weinstein’s dismissal:
“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.”
The initial accusations came after The New York Times ran a story on Oct. 5 saying that Weinstein had settled potential sexual harassment cases over the many years of his career as a film executive. Weinstein acknowledged the story a day later and partially apologized for his conduct in a statement, but he attributed more of it to the time period in which he grew up.
However, the story didn’t end there. More and more women have since come out against Weinsten, including actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan. And after attorney Lisa Bloom publicly defended Weinstein, she quit representing him — just two days after Weinstein hired her.
On the surface, this seems like another potential Hollywood drama involving a man with power taking advantage of his position and degrading women as a result. But the timing of the Weinstein story occurred just short of a year marking the release of then-candidate Donald Trump’s now-infamous “Access Hollywood” hot mic video.
On top of that, President Trump has publicly discussed the allegations against Weinstein. When asked about his opinion, Trump said that he’s “known Harvey Weinstein for a long time” and that he’s “not at all surprised to see it.”
Although the president may or may not have some explaining to do later, the issue extends beyond the executive branch. Weinstein is a notable Democratic donor, and several Democrats have accepted political contributions from Weinstein over the years.
Some Democratic politicians, like Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., have pledged to donate their previously accepted contributions to charity. In total, though, Weinstein has gifted more than $1.4 million to Democratic politicians since 1990.
Other Democrats will likely have to follow Warren and Blumenthal’s lead or explain why they refuse to denounce their Weinstein-related funds. Even the most famous recipients will have a decision to make — both former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted donations from Weinstein.
Democratic donor groups are pressuring the party to cough up their dough, too. As America Rising PAC head Alexandra Smith said to The New York Times, “If the Democratic Party purports itself to be the champion of women, they ought to lead by example in returning or donating the donations received from Harvey Weinstein.”
The future of Weinstein’s career also hangs in the balance of this PR fiasco. Over his career he’s been an executive producer on several blockbuster films, such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting.” After co-founding Miramax, he and his brother Robert left the company and started their own film production group called The Weinstein Company.
Simply put, he’s a Hollywood mainstay.
But while some actresses have come out against Weinstein — and some actors and actresses in support of their peers — some communities have kept quiet. “Saturday Night Live” didn’t address Weinstein at all during its Oct. 7 episode. And McGowan, one of Weinstein’s accusers, called out her fellow females in the acting world on Twitter:
Ladies of Hollywood, your silence is deafening.
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 7, 2017
It may be the Los Angeles Times that put his fate best: “Now the man who has always seemed to be spoiling for a fight has the biggest one of his life on his hands: a fight not for a gold statuette or box-office bragging rights, but for his own survival.”
Both politically and professionally, Harvey Weinstein will be gearing up for a battle to save his reputation among the Hollywood and Washington elite. He already lost his board members, which led to his firing. There have yet to be any formal charges put on Weinstein — but in the court of public opinion, he is now a convicted felon.