The move to oust Weinstein comes just days after the high-powered Hollywood film producer was thrust into the spotlight after the New York Times published a report Thursday that revealed decades of sexual harassment claims by actresses and female employees against him.
In response to the Times' story, Weinstein announced in a statement Thursday that he would be taking a leave of absence from his company. Then on Saturday, Lisa Bloom, who had been serving as an adviser to Weinstein - and who had told the Times that Weinstein "denies many of the accusations as patently false" - tweeted that she would be stepping down from that position. "My understanding is that Mr. Weinstein and his board are moving toward an agreement," she said.
In its decision Sunday, the Weinstein Co.'s board of directors said that "new information" about the executive's conduct informed their decision.
Weinstein, who founded Miramax Films with his brother, Bob, in 1979, before leaving in 2005 to create the Weinstein Company, was known in the film industry for both his volatile temper and business acumen, which helped turn his studio into an Oscar force to be reckoned with.
As The Washington Post reported, "For an 11-year period from 1992 to 2003, Miramax Films had at least one [of] its films nominated for an Oscar each year, winning best picture for several of them, including The English Patient (1996), Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Chicago (2002)."
According to the Times investigation, accusations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein extended over decades. At least eight of those claims resulted in settlements between the accuser and Weinstein.
Actress Ashley Judd, the most high-profile of the women to speak on record, alleged that, under the pretense of a business meeting, the producer and studio head asked her if she would watch him shower, or if he could give her a massage.
Several stars spoke out after the Times story dropped, including celebrity Rose McGowan, an actress with whom Weinstein had reached a $100,000 settlement in 1997. "Women fight on. And to the men out there, stand up. We need you as allies. #bebrave," she tweeted shortly after the story published.
However, Weinstein's influence was felt far beyond just the film sphere. A strong supporter of Hillary Clinton (and employer of Malia Obama; she interned for his company), critics called on reporters who had received financial contributions from the vocal liberal to donate their money to charity.
Democratic New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand said Sunday that they would donate the money Weinstein had given them to various charity groups, according to the Guardian. They joined Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who also vowed to donate what they had received, Variety reported.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post
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