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In a surprise development, the board of The Weinstein Co. has voted to fire COO David Glasser “for cause,” it announced late Friday.
“The Board of The Weinstein Company has unanimously voted to terminate David Glasser for cause,” the board said in a terse statement, without offering further explanation.
Glasser could not be immediately reached for comment.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal that saw the board fire the entertainment mogul in October, Glasser, who had been serving as Weinstein’s right-hand man, stayed on, taking over direction of the embattled company as it attempted to negotiate a sale and fend off the prospect of bankruptcy.
Glasser’s ouster comes just days after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a sweeping civil lawsuit against TWC on Sunday, raising serious questions about a proposed bid to buy the company by a group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet that would have elevated Glasser to CEO of a renamed version of what remains of TWC with a female majority-led board.
While Glasser wasn’t identified by name in the suit — which only referred to him as its COO — during a press conference on Monday, Schneiderman alleged that Glasser was complicit in allowing the company to ignore a string of harassment claims lodged against Weinstein that were brought to TWC’s Human Resources department. He said it was “unacceptable” for those bidding to buy TWC to keep current management in place, a reference to Glasser.
The board’s move against Glasser comes after he is believed to have consulted with attorneys about the fact that the board sought to blame him for some of Weinstein’s behavior described in the lawsuit. And it sets up a potential battle between the board and the man who knows many of the company’s secrets.
There was immediate speculation that the AG’s lawsuit would bring an end to Contreras-Sweet’s proposed deal, but since the suit was filed, she has remained mum as to whether the investor group she heads will continue in its pursuit of the company or just disband. Glasser’s exit could be a sign that she and the TWC board still hope to consummate the sale.
Glasser originally joined TWC in 2008 as president of international after stints at international sales company Syndicated Films International and Yari Film Group, and he was named COO about a year later. In summer 2015, Glasser announced he was leaving the company, but then a few months later, before he had actually exited, the Weinstein brothers convinced him to stay on as COO with a new contract that extended through 2018.
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