Moscow Film Fest President Says Event Had to Scrap Plans to Honor Harvey Weinstein

Nikita Mikhalkov - 2015 Moscow WW2 70th Anniversary - Getty - H 2018
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"This would have been logical as he has 100 Oscar nominations," said Nikita Mikhalkov. "But eventually we decided that we shouldn't do it."

Nikita Mikhalkov, president of the Moscow International Film Festival, which kicked off Thursday in the Russian capital, said that the fest planned to give a lifetime achievement award to Harvey Weinstein this year but reconsidered in the wake of the sexual harassment and assault allegations against the Hollywood producer.

Prior to the claims against Weinstein being revealed, "we wanted to give MIFF's life achievement award for contribution to the world cinema to Harvey Weinstein," Mikhalkov was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency TASS. "But then we got scared."

"This would have been logical as he has 100 Oscar nominations," he went on to say to the news service. "But eventually we decided that we shouldn't do it."

Meanwhile, Mikhalkov, an Oscar-winning director, added that he shared French actress Catherine Deneuve's earlier criticism of the #MeToo movement.

The controversy around Weinstein broke out when a story was published in October in The New York Times accusing him of numerous sexual harassment instances over the past three decades. In the wake of the exposé, dozens more women came forward with sexual harassment allegations against him.

Weinstein was subsequently dismissed from The Weinstein Co. and stripped of membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Producers Guild of America.

Police in multiple U.S. cities are currently investigating the accusations against him.

The Weinstein controversy triggered the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault. Deneuve was among several individuals who criticized it as "puritanical," but she later apologized.

This year's MIFF runs through April 26. Actress Nastassja Kinski and actor John Savage are on the main competition jury, while Claire McCarthy's Sundance movie Ophelia is in the main competition.