Can Harvey Weinstein survive the explosive allegations made in The New York Times?
The board of The Weinstein Co. is said to be meeting imminently on Thursday to address the situation involving the mogul, who told the paper he is taking a leave of absence. Weinstein is expected to attend and make a statement.
Multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the story has emboldened Weinstein's brother, Bob Weinstein, who serves as co-chairman, and David Glasser, the COO, to take control of the board, under one proposal being discussed.
The fate of Weinstein, and TWC, is a question many industry insiders are asking in the wake of the months-long investigation by Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey that alleges "decades of harassment" by Weinstein and at least eight settlements with women. Multiple sources are quoted in the piece, including actress Ashley Judd, while others, including Rose McGowan, are said to have received settlement agreements.
The allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct are not being well-received inside TWC's New York City offices, where Weinstein spends most of his time. One source tells The Hollywood Reporter that tensions are high, and one female employee was seen fleeing the building in tears after the story was published.
Although it is believed that the staffer quit before exiting, a TWC rep did not respond to a request for comment on the unnamed employee. Others are said to be weighing their options and potential exits from the company, which has seen a wave of high-profile exits, not to mention layoffs, over the past year.
Following the Times report, THR reached out to Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of WIF LA, the industry's most prominent organization dedicated to advancing females in all areas of the business via advocacy, training and support. "We (Women In Film) encourage women to continue speaking up about issues of sexual harassment, which is an all-too-common form of discrimination. That so many people knew about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior and didn’t say anything, particularly other men, is an indication of how deeply entrenched discrimination is in the film and TV business — and in culture overall," Schaffer said in a statement. "The time for change is now."
Also weighing in was UltraViolet, a prominent women's advocacy organization, issued a statement calling on TWC's board to fire Weinstein. “Harvey Weinstein's decades of predatory behavior toward the women his company employed with zero consequences is a textbook example of rape culture in Hollywood," said Nita Chaudhary, UltraViolet co-founder.
Added Chaudhary: "Weinstein’s attempts to justify his behavior are flat out insulting to all sexual harassment survivors, including the women who were forced to endure his abusive, creepy and relentless advances. The board of The Weinstein Co. must prove that it stands by its company’s sexual harassment policy, and that this policy applies to everyone, including its owners, by firing Harvey Weinstein immediately."
That statement references his lengthy apology, which was issued after the Times report. Weinstein said, "I came of age in the '60s and '70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then. I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office — or out of it. To anyone."
The controversy now surrounding Weinstein caps a bumpy two years for TWC's film operation, which has endured a tough stretch at the box office. Notable exceptions are Wind River, now in theaters, Lion and The Hateful Eight.
TWC's upcoming slate includes The Current War (Nov. 24), an industrial-age drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison and Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse; Paddington 2 (Jan. 2); The Upside (March 9); and Mary Magdalene (March 30).
One industry insider cautions not to count out Weinstein: "He's had so many comebacks. It really feels like he's had nine lives, but this could be the last one."
Pamela McClintock contributed to this report.