Walt Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger has become the first chief of an entertainment conglomerate to speak out about Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood mogul brought down by allegations of sexual harassment and rape.
“Harvey Weinstein’s reported behavior is abhorrent and unacceptable, and it has no place in our society,” Iger said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon.
The scandal engulfing Weinstein, who was fired as co-chairman of The Weinstein Co. on Sunday, first erupted last Thursday when the Times published an article leveling allegations of sexual harassment against the larger-than-life film titan.
Iger was former Disney chief Michael Eisner’s No. 2 from 2000-2005, when Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s Miramax was owned by Disney. The Weinsteins left Miramax in 2005 after an acrimonious split with Eisner over Michael Moore’s political documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which Harvey Weinstein financed to the tune of $6 million without Eisner’s knowledge.
When Eisner subsequently ordered Weinstein to drop the doc from Miramax’s release slate, Weinstein found another home for Fahrenheit 9/11, which became the top-grossing documentary of all time with $222 million in global ticket sales.
Iger’s statement came several hours after Eisner himself weighed in, tweeting, “Fired Weinsteins because they were irresponsible, and Harvey was an incorrigible bully. Had no idea he was capable of these horrible actions.”
It was Jeffrey Katzenberg who first brought Miramax into the Disney fold in 1993 when he was running the film studio. Katzenberg and Weinstein have remained close since that time. On Tuesday, Katzenberg also weighed in, sharing with The Hollywood Reporter an email he sent to Weinstein.