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The Facts —
- The New York Times published a report of allegations of sexual misconduct from Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, including reports that he had reached settlements with at least 18 women.
- Weinstein has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic causes.
Who is Harvey Weinstein?
- Harvey Weinstein was a movie executive known for his success in producing and distributing films like “Pulp Fiction,” “Gangs of New York,” “The English Patient,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Crying Game,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “The King’s Speech.”
- Weinstein founded Miramax and The Weinstein Company, and on 8 October, The Weinstein Co. announced that it had fired Weinstein in response to reports of sexual harassment.
- The New Yorker remarked:
“Since the establishment of the first studios a century ago, there have been few movie executives as dominant, or as domineering, as Harvey Weinstein.”
- On 5 October, the New York Times released a report that Weinstein paid off at least 18 women who accused him of sexual assault, and since then more have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct and unwanted advances.
- According to Open Secrets, Weinstein has donated more than $750,000 to Democrats and Democratic PACs since 1990.
5 October: New York Times Reports Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers
- A New York Times investigation reported allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein on 5 October. The report detailed accusations from the last 30 years. According to The Times, Weinstein reached at least 18 settlements with woman according to two company officials from Miramax and The Weinstein Company.
- The New York Times also went through interviews with Weinstein’s current and former employees and film industry workers, legal records, and emails and internal documents from Miramax and the Weinstein Company.
- One report of misconduct included Weinstein claiming that he would boost a female’s career in exchange for sexual favors.
“In 2014, Mr. Weinstein invited Emily Nestor, who had worked just one day as a temporary employee, to the same hotel and made another offer: If she accepted his sexual advances, he would boost her career.”
- Another woman accused Weinstein of talking Weinstein into giving him a massage while he was nude.
“A female assistant said Mr. Weinstein badgered her into giving him a massage while he was naked, leaving her ‘crying and very distraught,’ wrote a colleague, Lauren O’Connor, in a searing memo asserting sexual harassment and other misconduct by their boss.”
- In 2015, one of Weinstein’s employees, Laura O’Connor, wrote a memo addressed to several executives at the company run by Weinstein (Weinstein Company). The letter included the assertions that “There is a toxic environment for women at this company… Harvey Weinstein is a 64 year old, world famous man and this is his company. The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.”
- Lisa Bloom, a lawyer advising Weinstein, said in a statement that “he denies many of the accusations as patently false.”
- The New Yorker released audio from a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015. In the audio, Weinstein apparently admits to groping a Filipina-Italian model named Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, describing it as behavior he is “used to.” Gutierrez repeatedly expressed her desire to leave, and Weinstein repeatedly implored her to stay.
- Weinstein released a statement in response to the allegations.
“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.”
- Weinstein finished his letter by stating that he would be donating to liberal causes.
“I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party. One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC.”
8 October: Weinstein Fired
- On 8 October, the Weinstein Company, which Weinstein co-founded, announced that they had fired Weinstein.
“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.”
Statement from Weinstein Company says Harvey Weinstein “terminated, effective immediately” pic.twitter.com/mnVkjLy3X0
— Alexander Britton (@adbritton) October 8, 2017
- The New York Times reported that Weinstein and his brother own 42% of the company.
- Weinstein founded the company in 2005 with his brother, Bob.
- Variety reported that, after the firing, Weinstein “spent the weekend with his wife, Georgina Chapman, holed up at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, emailing industry leaders in a desperate bid for support. He argued that the board’s action ‘might be illegal and would destroy the company.’”
10 October: List of Allegations Grows, Wife Leaves Him
- The New York Times released a report on Tuesday of more actresses who claimed that Weinstein made advances on them.
- Gwyneth Paltrow told the New York Times that Weinstein harassed her at the beginning of her career.
- Weinstein hired Paltrow at the age of 22 and before filming “Emma,” he called her to a hotel suite, placed his hands on her, and suggested they go to the bedroom for massages. Paltrow claims that she refused his advances and told her boyfriend at the time, Brad Pitt. Weinstein allegedly “warned” Paltrow not to tell anyone.
- Paltrow went on to work with Weinstein later in her career, including the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love, which won 7 Academy Awards including Best Actress for Paltrow and Best Picture for Weinstein for his role as a producer.
- According to the New York Times, Paltrow “felt she had to suppress the experience [in the hotel room.] She praised Mr. Weinstein publicly, posed for pictures with him and played the glowing star to his powerful producer. Yet their work relationship grew rockier over the years, she said, and she distanced herself.”
- Paltrow told the Times, “He was alternately generous and supportive and championing, and punitive and bullying.’”
- Angelina Jolie claims that Weinstein made similar unwanted advances on her in the late 1990s. She alleges that Weinstein made advanced toward her in her hotel room during the release of “Playing by Heart.” In an email to the New York Times, Jolie said:
“I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and (had to) warn others when they did. This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”
- Actresses Rosanna Arquette, Tomi-Ann Roberts, Katherine Kendall, Judith Godrèche, and Dawn Dunning made similar accusations to the New York Times.
- Weinstein denied parts of the New York Times’ reports. His spokeswoman, Sallie Hofmeister released a statement to the Times.
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. He will not be available for further comments, as he is taking the time to focus on his family, on getting counseling and rebuilding his life.”
- Weinstein’s wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, announced to People that she was leaving Weinstein on Tuesday evening.
“My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions. I have chosen to leave my husband. Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time.”
Previous Pop Culture References to Weinstein’s Behavior —
- The recent reports are not the first rumors of inappropriate behavior from Weinstein.
- At the 2013 Oscars, Seth MacFarlane introduced the nominees for Best Supporting Actress. After listing the five nominees, MacFarlane joked:
“Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
- Tina Fey’s NBC comedy 30 Rock made a similar joke in a 2012 episode. Jenna Maroney said:
“I’m not afraid of anyone in show business. I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions… out of five.”
Weinstein’s Politics —
- Weinstein has donated over $750,000 to Democrats since at least 1991, according to Open Secrets.
- Weinstein has donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to the Clinton Foundation website.
- In 2012, Weinstein hosted a fundraising dinner for President Obama’s reelection campaign that cost attendees $35,800 per plate, according to Fox News. Attendees included Anne Hathaway, Aaron Sorkin, Joanne Woodward, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
- President Obama’s daughter Malia worked as intern with The Weinstein Co. in the summer of 2017, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Reactions from Recipients of Donations —
- Some Democrats have announced their intention to donate campaign contributions from Weinstein.
- A spokesperson for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York) told the Washington Examiner that Schumer would donate all of the contributions he received from Weinstein to “several charities supporting women.”
- The Boston Globe reported that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) announced that she would donate Weinstein’s donations to Casa Myrna, a Boston-based nonprofit that works with domestic violence victims.
- Hillary Clinton’s communications director released a statement from Clinton regarding Weinstein.
“I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein. The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.”
Statement from Secretary Clinton on Harvey Weinstein: pic.twitter.com/L1l2wl9l0I
— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) October 10, 2017
- Clinton told CNN on Thursday that she plans to donate Weinstein’s contributions to charity:
— CNN (@CNN) October 12, 2017
- Tuesday, Barack and Michelle Obama released a joint statement condemning Weinstein.
The Obamas release a statement on Harvey Weinstein: pic.twitter.com/izktkIEkxC
— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) October 10, 2017
- President Obama has not announced plans to return Weinstein’s campaign donations.
William Spruance contributed to this report.