Bob Weinstein Gets Emotional on "Depraved" Harvey, Saving the Company and His "Waking Nightmare" (Exclusive)
The Weinstein Co. exec insists he had no idea about "the type of predator that he was" and is sickened by Harvey’s seeming lack of remorse. "I want him to get the justice that he deserves."
For nearly 30 years, Bob Weinstein has lived in the shadow of his older brother Harvey. While Harvey, 65, was the very public face of Miramax and then The Weinstein Co. from Sundance to Cannes to Hollywood, palling around with stars and schmoozing Oscar voters, Bob, 62, has served on TWC's board and tended to Dimension, their genre label, turning out movies like the Scream and Scary Movie franchises that routinely made more money than all but Harvey's biggest hits.
Now, in the wake of the dozens of allegations charging Harvey with three decades of sexual harassment, abuse and even rape, he is out, fired from the company he co-founded with Bob in 2005. And Bob, thrust into an unaccustomed limelight, is forced to try to pick up the pieces amid the growing chaos. He insists that the company — which is expected to undergo a name change — can survive. But four of his fellow board members have resigned, and his COO David Glasser and other key members of his 150-employee staff have yet to commit to stay with the company. Amid widespread predictions that The Weinstein Co. will be forced to shut down or sell all or parts, Bob maintains, "There is a plan to come out on the other side."
But right now, even as he struggles to right the company (of which he and Harvey each own about 20 percent), Bob is also coping with his own sense of shame and betrayal, expressing sympathy for Harvey's victims while also questioning whether he should have done more in the face of Harvey's alleged abusive behavior. Bob, who worked mostly in Los Angeles while Harvey presided over TWC's New York offices, says he's barely spoken to his brother over the past five years. "I could not take his cheating, his lying and also his attitude toward everyone," he says. While Bob says he knew his brother was unfaithful to wife Georgina Chapman, he insists he had no idea about "the type of predator that he was" and is sickened by Harvey's seeming lack of remorse. "I have a brother that's indefensible and crazy," says Bob, adding, "I want him to get the justice that he deserves."
Amid the chaos and uncertain future at TWC, Bob agreed to a 45-minute phone interview with The Hollywood Reporter. During the talk, he often became emotional when discussing his brother and the company they co-founded. He refused to discuss certain specifics, such as the claim in The New York Times that he and the board were aware of Harvey's settlements with women during Harvey's most recent contract negotiation, or the fate of certain TWC movies, such as the year-end title The Current War. But he opened up on the personal aspect of the scandal and said he believed the Film Academy should expel his "sick and depraved" brother.
How do you assess what has happened?
I find myself in a waking nightmare. My brother has caused unconscionable suffering. As a father of three girls, I say this with every bone in my body — I am heartbroken for the women that he has harmed. I'm a fighter. For my entire adult life, I fought for the films I want to see the light of day. I have fought for my employees, who have dedicated their lives to achieving the vision of this company that me and my brother founded. But I cannot fight what is indefensible.
The members of the board, including myself, did not know the extent of my brother's actions. I know him on a personal level better than anyone. It's hard to describe how I feel that he took out the emptiness inside of him in so many sick and depraved ways. It's a sickness but not a sickness that is excusable. It's a sickness that's inexcusable. And I, as a brother, understood and was aware as a family member that my brother needed help and that something was wrong.
I was also the object of a lot of his verbal abuse — at one time physical abuse. And I am not looking for one bit of sympathy from anyone. I do not put myself in the category at all of those women that he hurt. But it's a complicated situation when it's your brother doing the abusing to you as well. I saw it and I asked him to get help for many years. And that's the truth. He avoided getting the help. We begged him.
This hurts, but I don't feel an ounce of remorse coming from him, and that kills me, too. When I heard his written, lame excuse … Not an excuse. When I heard his admission of feeling remorse for the victims and then him cavalierly, almost crazily saying he was going to go out and take on the NRA, it was so disturbing to me. It was utter insanity. My daughters all felt sick hearing this because we understood he felt nothing. I don't feel he feels anything to this day. I don't.
One question that is on everybody's mind: He is your brother — how in the world did you not know this was going on?
First of all, let me tell you something that people don't know. For the last five years, I've probably talked to my brother 10 times on any personal level. That's the fracture that's gone on. Since Dimension started, we ran two separate companies. So many of the people that he does business with — actors, actresses — I've never even met and they know it. I wanted to lead a separate existence. So we were leading two separate divisions.
I actually was quite aware that Harvey was philandering with every woman he could meet. I was sick and disgusted by his actions. But that's the extent of what [I knew]. I said, "Harvey, you're just cheating. Why do you constantly cheat?" I could see it. But I wasn't in the room with him.
For me, I thought he was literally just going out there cheating in a pervasive way. It wasn't like he even had a mistress. It was one after another and that I was aware of. But as far as being in a room and hearing the description in The New York Times? No way. No F-in' way was I aware that that was the type of predator that he was. And the way he convinced people to do things? I thought they were all consensual situations.
I'll tell you what I did know. Harvey was a bully, Harvey was arrogant, he treated people like shit all the time. That I knew. And I had to clean up for so many of his employee messes. People that came in crying to my office: "Your brother said this, that and the other." And I'd feel sick about it.
Why did you tolerate his behavior?
Because it didn't rise to a certain level. I would often counsel people and say, "You know what, you have a choice here. Leave. Leave, please leave." I don't know why some of them stayed. So I would just try to mend a broken fence. There is no mending this. This is not a broken fence. [But] I will not quit and leave the business that I built, rightfully so, and leave the films and filmmakers that I was involved in.
When you guys were negotiating Harvey's 2015 employment contract …
That I'm not gonna [discuss]. I'm sorry, I'm not gonna be litigated in this article. There is an investigation going on, let that investigation take its course.
Do you think Harvey should be kicked out of the Academy?
Yes, I do. I was gonna actually write [to the Academy]. And I will do it. I am gonna write a note to them saying he definitely should be kicked out of the Academy.
You issued a statement earlier today saying that the company is not for sale despite reports that it could be shut down or its parts sold off. If it's not for sale, what is the plan to salvage this company?
We are thinking about how to do that. We had an employee meeting the other day, all 180 of the employees. And me and David Glasser addressed them all. Talk about emotions cascading. These innocent people are hurt, so many of them not knowing anything about my brother's behavior.
But I was touched because — and I did not know this was coming — they said, "We don't want Harvey to have the last word on this company. We want to stay. We believe in the films, we believe in you, Bob, David Glasser, we believe in ourselves. And we definitely don't want to let him win." And that's a part of the human story that nobody is hearing.
I know they're saying, "Shut this company down." Well, they didn't shut Fox News down, they didn't shut NBC down. My brother is the one that should pay with everything. And I mean literally — whether it's criminal or otherwise — I will be supportive of all of that. But I don't think the people that are the employees of this company or the company itself should pay.
Harvey was the face of the company. That's what he loves. It's actually part of his whole thing, being famous. This brother is not that brother. This brother made just as much money, ran a successful division, more successful financially than Harvey's. But I'm a different guy and I run it differently and people know it and they know I can be successful and we don't need to do any of the Harvey stuff. And there is a plan. All I'm trying to do right now is go forward, figure out a plan, me and David Glasser and the board members have an idea of what we'd like to do, that we think would be the responsible thing to do for all the critics, rightfully so, with regards to the TWC side and yet for people to keep their jobs. And the pieces of the business that still can be resurrected and continue, we think that they should.
Do you have a new name for the company?
We're coming up with one. And it won't be familial, I promise you that.
Any effort to keep the company going will depend on financial backing. Aren't the finances of this company in trouble?
We have good enough finances, the banks gave us their support today.
What does that mean?
With scandal, sometimes people can just say, "We don't want to be associated." They're supporting us. And in terms of surviving, we have enough good product and things on our slate. We are moving quickly, and there are people interested in participating financially on the condition, rightfully so, that Harvey Weinstein is out for good.
But you have people like Lin-Manuel Miranda trying to get In the Heights extricated from the company. You have Disney dropping you guys from producing Artemis Fowl. Apple and Amazon have scrapped big TV projects. Collaborators are turning their backs on you. How do you survive that?
We will, is my answer, and there are a lot of things in process with regards to a lot of those kinds of things that will get resolved in an amicable way and a good financial way. I really don't want to get into the particulars of any one situation. All I can say is that there is a plan to come out on the other side. And also the other side that makes the public rightfully feel happy that what Harvey stood for exists no longer. The public deserves that. The victims deserve that. Everybody deserves that.
Those bankers, they look at my slate and they know that I've made them money for many, many years. And lately I have had a cold hand, there is no two ways about it, on the Dimension side, but I have a fuckin' great slate coming up and they're aware of it. And this is a business where all the sudden you walk into Stephen King's It one day. And things change. It is that kind of business. I have Six Billion Dollar Man, I'm closing a deal on it. I have Paddington 2, Paddington 3 is coming two years later. I'm back in the wheelhouse of what I've done.
And when I'm back on, there is money to be made, there's jobs to be had. Harvey knew how to take credit, win his awards. But for me, there are no Academy Awards. Bob's not going to the Golden Globes or the Oscars unless somebody invites me.
There have been reports that Jay Z might buy Harvey's stake in the company …
I'd love nothing more than that, but as far as I know, that is not a fact.
There are predictions for a raft of civil litigation against the company and against Harvey personally. How can the company withstand that?
That's for lawyers and people like that to go deal with. That's what they do. And things end up getting resolved, they do. My hope is that the community will allow us the time to get it right for those that deserve to continue on. That's all I can say and that's what I'm trying to do. But it's going to take time. I cannot do it in a week.
Has anyone in Hollywood reached out to you with support?
Yes, they have. David Glasser had a meeting with David Hutkin, who is the CFO, and the banks have been supportive. They want to see us succeed and they see that there is a product line of many movies on my side, TV shows that have been done. That they say this company can still be viable. And there have been other people that have been supportive, other companies that are doing business with us, that are sticking by us.
What about the talent agencies? They are going to be key to any company going forward. Have they expressed support?
There have been men and women, actresses, actors, directors, but especially women I would say, who are so properly disgusted with my brother's actions. Their attitude is when there is finally the entire divorce, when there's the plan in place, when there is the separation in place …
I have a reputation that's different than Harvey, obviously, and I work differently than him. And David Glasser is his own man. We have our own status in the industry. And they're saying we will give the two of you a chance. You have to make the separation. [With] my brother having contractual financial rights in this company, the divorce is going to be as speedy as we can make it. It's in process.
But Harvey's going to fight his firing.
Anybody can do what they want to do. I cannot control other people's actions. But he was fired by the board, okay? I was on that board. I fired him. He can fight. It will be a losing fight.
He may be fired but he still maintains his ownership interest in the company, correct?
That is correct and we are going to seek to sever that. It can't be done that quickly. But I am on it 24/7 and so is David Glasser and so is the board of directors that remain and so are the shareholders. This is being dealt with.
Given your relationship with Harvey, there is a contingent out there who believe that you were responsible for the leak of this information, especially the internal HR memo that made it to The New York Times. Is that true?
That's totally untrue. I could take a lie detector test on that. I didn't and, you know, Harvey is suspicious of everybody. People that are liars — lying to his wife, to his children, to everyone — well, they have to turn around and say, "Who stabbed me?" It's unbelievable that even to this moment he is more concerned with who sold him out. I don't hear concern or contrition for the victims. And I want them to hear that. Harvey has no remorse whatsoever. I have spoken to him two times [since news broke], hoping to hear, "Oh, my God, what have I done?" I didn't hear that.
What did you hear?
I heard a guy who still was fighting to get back and I was disgusted by it. Do you know how disgusted I am? I divorced my brother five years ago. Literally. And those that know me personally in this company understood how I could not take being around him on any level. And certainly my daughters and my family knew it. I could not take his cheating, his lying and also his attitude toward everyone. I had to divorce myself to survive. Nobody is perfect. I'm not perfect. If I made mistakes, I apologize to everyone for not standing up stronger and sooner. But if you want to take my head and the company's and everybody else's. … If I lose at the end of the day, then I lose it. But I'll fight for what I believe is right. And I'll apologize for my own lack of strength at times.
Do you believe that the 2015 incident with model Ambra Battilana and the NYPD investigation derailed the deal for ITV to acquire the company's TV division?
Again, this is where I draw the line in terms of getting into a specific. I don't want to comment on that kind of specific.
I'll ask a general question then: Do you believe that Harvey's antics hurt the business in the past?
I'm being honest. I don't know what hurt or didn't. I haven't had a relationship with him as a brother for many, many years. But I'm ashamed that he is my brother, to be honest, and I am ashamed that these are his actions. I'm not thinking at this moment about dissecting what may or may not have affected any past situation. I'm so in the here and now and feel sick.
Mira Sorvino came out and told her story [in The New Yorker]. I have been a personal friend of Mira for the last several years. We reconnected when I rented a house in Malibu. Mira, her husband and her kids have come over and spent many hours together with us. [But] she never told me. And now I literally was texting with her, and she said, "Are you mad at me?" And I said, "Mad at you? I'm so proud of you, but I feel sick that you had to hold that kind of thing in."
[Harvey] should never be allowed back, ever. Ever. He lost his rights. He didn't lose his rights to be rehabilitated as a human being. But as far as being in this town again? I mean, give me a break.
What do you think Harvey will do with the rest of his life?
He lived for this business and he lived for the outside [persona]. There were no insides to this, as far as I can see. So unless there becomes an inner person inside there, I have no idea what he'll do.
Will you cooperate with any police investigation?
A hundred percent, if it came to that. If I had anything to offer, I would. A hundred percent.
There have been stories that once, when Harvey got physical with you, he broke your nose?
He didn't break my nose, but he got physical and there were several people there, and he assaulted me. And I should've done something then.
Why did you not?
All I can tell you is it's like asking any other victim why they didn't stand up. I regret that beyond all measure. I live with that. That was a defining moment for me of cowardice on my own part. Not easy to live with. It doesn't absolve me of my own cowardice, but this is the thing that happens, this is the nature of that whole syndrome. And it's disgusting on every level. But hopefully, the more it's talked about — I was happy when people started to come out. It made other people braver.
Well, you've had some anger issues in the past as well …
Yes, but I've done my work. Without getting into details, I've done enough work, and I've faced my own self. There are those that do the work and those that don't. I did it. I'm not that guy and that's not the way I operate.
Any last thing you'd like the entertainment community to hear from you with regard to this situation?
I'm mortified and disgusted by my brother's actions. And I am sick for the victims. And I feel for them. I feel for them.