As more and more women come forward with their experiences of being sexually harassed by Oscar-winning producer Harvey Weinstein, his brother is trying to maintain an air of normalcy. Bob Weinstein, who is now co-leading The Weinstein Company, has insisted that the company is healthy.
After the New York Times revealed a long history of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein—as well as a history of settlements for the incidents—Weinstein was fired from the company he co-founded with his brother. With numerous anecdotes from women, including Ashley Judd, who detailed how he would insist on meetings in hotel rooms and demand massages, Harvey Weinstein admitted that he needed help but also accused the Times of "reckless reporting" and suggested he would sue them for up to $50 million.
Then, earlier this week, The New Yorker added its own devastating report of other women accusing Weinstein of similar behavior—plus three women accusing him of rape. Director-actress Asia Argento gave a harrowing account of Weinstein forcing himself on her at the Cannes Film Festival while Lucia Evans described how he forced her to perform oral sex on him in his TriBeCa office building in 2004, when she was an aspiring actress. (The NYPD has reached out to Evans.)
A spokesperson for Weinstein has denied the accusations of sexual assault. Argento incorporated her encounter into her 2000 film Scarlet Diva:
— Asia Argento (@AsiaArgento) October 10, 2017
The fate of The Weinstein Company, the production company the brothers founded after their incredibly successful run at Miramax Films, has been the source of speculation in the wake of the allegations. With rumors flying that the company, which produced Oscar winners like The Artist, Silver Linings Playbook and The King's Speech, would shut down or be sold. Bob Weinstein issued a statement assuring the public that Paddington 2 was safe:
“Our banks, partners and shareholders are fully supportive of our company and it is untrue that the company or board is exploring a sale or shutdown of the company. ‘Polaroid’ is moving forward as planned with a release date of November 22 followed by ‘Paddington 2’ on January 12. The first ‘Paddington’ grossed over $75 million and we expect even greater success for ‘Paddington 2.’ Test screening scores are through the roof. ‘War with Grandpa’ starring Robert De Niro is scheduled for February 23, 2018. Business is continuing as usual as the company moves ahead.”
However, it's unclear what is happening to The Current War, a film about Thomas Edison starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last month, was supposed to be The Weinstein Company's bid for Oscars this year. Cumberbatch himself denounced Weinstein, "I am utterly disgusted by the continuing revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s horrifying and unforgivable actions. We need to collectively stand up and support victims of abuse such as the brave and inspiring women who have spoken out against him and say we hear you and believe you."
Since the Times and New Yorker articles have been published, a chorus of more actresses and others involved in the film industry came forward with their stories, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne, and Kate Beckinsale. After her mother told a French radio station about an incident on Friday, Eva Green said, "I met him for a business meeting in Paris at which he behaved inappropriately and I had to push him off. I got away without it going further, but the experience left me shocked and disgusted."
“I have not discussed this before because I wanted to maintain my privacy, but I understand it is important to do so as I hear about other women’s experiences. Women are often condemned when they speak out and their personal reputations tarnished by association.
“I salute the great bravery of the women who have come forward. We should recognise that this sort of behaviour exists everywhere and is not unique to the entertainment industry. The exploitation of power is ubiquitous. This behaviour is unacceptable and needs to be eliminated.”
A Weinstein Company-produced project for Amazon Studios, from director David O. Russell, starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore, was dropped on Friday. (Amazon Studios is now in the middle of its own sexual harassment scandal.)
Weinstein, who is now reportedly in Arizona for sex addiction treatment, has been one of the most influential figures in Hollywood since acquiring sex, lies and videotape and producing or distributing Clerks, The Piano, Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare in Love, The English Patient, Il Postino, The Talented Mr. Ripley and Gangs of New York. Quartz noted that Weinstein "was personally thanked or praised by name in at least 34 Academy Awards acceptance speeches from 1993 through 2016, based on a Quartz analysis of speeches through 1966 that were archived by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences*. That’s as much as God—and more than almost any other individual in the industry."
The Weinstein Company has reportedly been aware of payouts to women accusing Weinstein since 2015. Rose McGowan received a settlement for a 1997 incident at the Sundance Film Festival but had been bound by a non-disclosure agreement and was allegedly threatened by Weinstein's lawyers, so she would only allude to Weinstein. On Thursday though, McGowan tweeted, "HW raped me."