Harvey Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Company—the film studio he cofounded with his brother, Bob—on Sunday in the wake of the New York Times investigative piece published Thursday that recounted decades of sexual harassment allegations from women in the industry. On Friday, Weinstein took an indefinite leave of absence while an independent investigation was made into the allegations surrounding him. On Sunday, the Weinstein Company’s board of directors terminated his employment.
In a statement, the company’s board announced: “In light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days, the directors of The Weinstein Company—Robert Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar—have determined, and have informed Harvey Weinstein, that his employment with The Weinstein Company is terminated, effective immediately.”
The Times exposé on Thursday included an on-the-record account from actress Ashley Judd, who described an incident with Weinstein two decades ago in which the studio mogul asked to massage her or have her watch him take a shower. Other women have described similar stories of coercion and sexual advances as what was described in the Times report and at least eight have reached settlements with Weinstein, according to the newspaper. On Friday night, the Huffington Post published a new story from TV journalist Lauren Sivan about an alleged incident involving Weinstein in 2007. According to Sivan, who at the time was working for a local news station in Long Island, Weinstein cornered her in the kitchen of Cafe Socialista, a now-closed restaurant in the West Village, and proceeded to masturbate in front of her. “Yeah. This happened,” Sivan tweeted. “luckily I didn’t need a job or favor from him + didn’t have to be polite. Others did. Keep that in mind.”
The termination caps off a weekend of intense speculation about Weinstein’s future at the company. On Saturday, high-profile lawyer Lisa Bloom resigned from Weinstein’s team. Bloom had been criticized for her representation of Weinstein—which she described on Good Morning America as an “adviser” role—because of her previous work for victims of sexual harassment, and because of her professional connection to Weinstein. (Earlier this year, it was announced the Weinstein Company was producing a Trayvon Martin miniseries based on two books, one of which was written by Bloom.) “My understanding is that Mr. Weinstein and his board are moving toward an agreement,” Bloom wrote on Twitter on Saturday. As of Thursday evening, Weinstein was still planning to sue The New York Times. (“I bear responsibility for my actions, but the reason I am suing is because of the Times’ inability to be honest with me, and their reckless reporting,” he told the New York Post in an interview.)
The “open secret” of Weinstein’s alleged behavior, and of sexual harassment in the industry, has dominated Hollywood conversation since the Times report. Rose McGowan, who reportedly reached a settlement with Weinstein but did not comment for the Times story, was vocal about the reports on Twitter: “Ladies of Hollywood, your silence is deafening.” “I see this as a tipping point,” Girls executive producer Jenni Konner told the Times on Sunday. “This is the moment we look back on and say, ‘That’s when it all started to change.’” A filmmaker, speaking anonymously to Vulture, cited the career resurgence of Mel Gibson as an example of Hollywood’s short memory. “Don’t look to Hollywood to be so morally righteous,” the filmmaker told Vulture. “In Hollywood, there’s no morality. No one cares, no one remembers.” Janice Min, the former editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, suggested that the story might continue for some time. “No name comes up more than Harvey Weinstein in this sort of behavior,” she told Jim Rutenberg at the Times. “I guarantee there are many more rocks to overturn.”