USC Rejects Harvey Weinstein's $5M Women's Program Donation
The decision comes after a Change.org petition launched Tuesday pleaded for the university to "refuse Harvey Weinstein's blood money in exchange for its soul."
In the wake of two bombshell exposés from The New Yorker and The New York Times leveling allegations of sexual harassment and rape against Harvey Weinstein, USC's School of Cinematic Arts has refused Weinstein's $5 million endowment to grant scholarships to women directors.
"The USC School of Cinematic Arts will not proceed with Mr. Weinstein’s pledge to fund a $5M endowment for women filmmakers," the university confirmed Tuesday in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
USC's decision to reject the fund, which Weinstein pledged one year ago, comes shortly after university student Tiana Lowe launched a Change.org petition calling on the school to "refuse Harvey Weinstein's blood money in exchange for its soul."
"As a woman at USC, the prospect that my university might sell an indulgence to ease Harvey Weinstein’s non-existent guilt saddens me," the petition reads. "The prospect that, given their pattern of atrocious tolerance to violence against women, they almost certainly will disgusts me."
Lowe urged the university to lean on "the expansive and charitable Trojan family" alumni, writing, "We don't need this money. What we need is some damn principles."
As of press time, just over 100 people had signed the petition, which currently has a goal of 200 signatures.
Weinstein, in a statement released shortly after the Times published its investigative report alleging "decades of harassment," announced that Women in the Cinematic Arts, a foundation to grant scholarships to female filmmakers at USC, was still in the works.
"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," his statement read.
Since the publication of both exposés, multiple women have gone on the record to speak out about their traumatic experiences with Weinstein, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.
Earlier on Tuesday, Paltrow told the Times she feared she would be fired after rejecting the mogul's sexual advances when she was 22 years old. Jolie told the paper she had a "bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did."
Oct. 10, 3:02 p.m. Updated to include USC's statement on its decision to reject Weinstein's fund