Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein has been forced out of Weinstein Company, the independent film studio he co-founded after The New York Times uncovered a series of sexual harassment allegations that go back decades.
The company released a statement that said that the movie mogul was terminated due to "new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days.” The act of removing him at the head of the company was initiated by the four members of the board namely, Richard Koenisberg, Tarak Ben Ammar, Harvey's own brother, Bob Weinstein and Lance Maerov.
Maerov said that information was brought to the board that Harvey Weinstein had broken the company's code of conduct. Although he did not specify which rule the film producer broke or if it had anything to do with the sexual allegations coming to light. The movie mogul was ousted from the company on Sunday, October 8th, and was officially notified of the act on the same day.
Harvey and his brother Bob were the founders of independent film company Miramax which they named after their parents Miriam and Max. On 1998 after a series of successful art house films, the brothers sold ownership of Miramax to Disney while still retaining managerial control. In 2005, the brothers left their old company and founded a new one, The Weinstein Company, where they served as co-chairmans. The brothers own 42% of the film outfit and with Harvey's departure, it is still not clear what will happen with those shares.
Friends and colleagues speak out
Over the years of being a major Hollywood producer, Harvey has proven himself a force to be reckoned in the film industry. His clout even extended beyond into the realm of politics. He is considered as a reliable patron and fundraiser for the Democratic party. But after the sexual harassment allegations came to light, several prominent Democrats like Senators Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren have sought to distance themselves from the fallen movie mogul, and have actually promised to channel his campaign contributions to charitable organizations.
Three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep who has collaborated several times with Weinstein has released a statement to the Huffington Post condemning the producer for the alleged sexual misconduct.
"Not everybody knew. Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally. I didn’t know about these other offenses: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues," Streep said in the statement. She then pointed out that "the behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar. Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game.”
Hopefully she is right, if the allegations are proven true and that he did engage in sexual misconduct, his fall from grace might serve as an example to others who would abuse their position of authority and actually face consequences.