Harvey Weinstein’s response Thursday to the New York Times’ investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against him ended by announcing: “One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom and I won’t disappoint her.”
In a statement, USC’s School of Cinematic Arts confirmed that it “began discussions with Mr. Weinstein over a year ago to fund a $5M endowment in his mother’s honor dedicated to scholarships for women filmmakers, particularly those from minority communities.” It added that “this endowment was pledged.”
Asked by The Hollywood Reporter whether, in light of the claims, the world’s most prestigious film school would continue in its relationship with Weinstein, USC declined to respond.
Institutions of higher learning often face tough choices when high-profile donors become toxic.
Several universities cut ties with Bill Cosby after his sexual assault allegations came to light, while UCLA canceled a $3 million pledge for kidney research from former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling when his racist remarks became public. USC could ultimately distance itself in a similar fashion.