Weinstein Company Fires Co-Founder Harvey Weinstein

Oct 9, 2017
Originally published on October 9, 2017 8:19 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right. The Oscar-winning Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has now been fired from his own company. This comes after The New York Times detailed decades of alleged sexual harassment of actresses and female employees. That report said at least eight women had reached settlements with Harvey Weinstein in exchange for their silence. NPR's Andrew Limbong reports.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: When the allegations became public, Harvey Weinstein said he was going to take a leave of absence. That didn't fly. Since Thursday, more women came forward. Three members of the Weinstein Company's board quit. And his adviser, attorney Lisa Bloom, resigned. Kim Masters is editor-at-large at the Hollywood Reporter and host of KCRW's The Business. She says she's not surprised he was terminated.

KIM MASTERS: Once this started, you kind of knew there was going to be more and more and more.

LIMBONG: Rumors and stories of Weinstein's sexual behavior have been around Hollywood for decades.

MASTERS: The first time I met him face-to-face was at a lunch. And he said, what have you heard about me? And I said what I had heard about him and women in the bluntest possible language.

LIMBONG: It was an off-the-record conversation, so she won't say what she asked him.

MASTERS: But I will say that he did not seem shocked at all.

LIMBONG: The other reason he was fired, Masters says, is Weinstein's skill at picking and making Oscar-winning movies has waned in recent years.

MASTERS: They just haven't been able to get one really hit out of the park. And that creates vulnerability. The business is said to be struggling. And I don't know how it's going to go forward. I mean, it may have to change the name. It's pretty toxic right now to even say Weinstein.

LIMBONG: At his peak, the movie producer and donor to Democratic candidates and liberal causes was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. In the late '70s, Harvey and his brother Bob co-founded Miramax. That production company helped establish the careers of a lot of famous people - Quentin Tarantino, Gwyneth Paltrow and a couple of young guys named Matt Damon and Ben Affleck with "Good Will Hunting."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GOOD WILL HUNTING")

BEN AFFLECK: (As Chuckie) You got something none of us have.

MATT DAMON: (As Will) Oh, come on. Why is it always this? I mean, I owe it to myself to do this, that. What if I don't want to?

AFFLECK: (As Chuckie) No, no. You don't owe it to yourself. You owe it to me.

LIMBONG: The Weinstein brothers left Miramax and formed the Weinstein Company in 2005, producing more award-winning movies like "The Artist," "Silver Linings Playbook," and "The King's Speech." When the original Times article was published, Weinstein said he was taking time off to work on himself. Though he admitted to some bad behavior, one of his lawyers threaten to sue The New York Times. Even in Hollywood, Kim Masters says, Harvey Weinstein's behavior was extreme. She also says sexual harassment will continue as long as there's not gender parity in Hollywood management.

MASTERS: This is still a male-dominated business. And as long as males dominate - I'm sorry to say - I don't want to tar the entire gender. But I think as long as men have that much money and power, things can happen.

LIMBONG: And even though Harvey Weinstein was fired, it's likely that more damaging information will surface in the coming days and weeks. Andrew Limbong, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.