Friday, Oct. 6, 2017

Harvey Weinstein to be suspended during harassment inquiry

By JAKE COYLE

NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein will be suspended from his film company pending an internal investigation into sexual harassment claims leveled against the Oscar winner, a person with direct knowledge of the decision said Friday.

The person, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said an announcement on the suspension and investigation is expected on Friday. The decision was made by The Weinstein Co.'s board of directors.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Weinstein has over the years reached at least eight legal settlements with women over alleged harassment. Weinstein said Thursday that he was taking a leave of absence.

Leadership of The Weinstein Co. is expected to be assumed by Weinstein's brother, Bob Weinstein, and David Glasser, the company's chief operating officer and president.

The company will now conduct an internal investigation into Weinstein's behavior. The New York Times article chronicled allegations against Weinstein from actress Ashley Judd and former employees at both the Weinstein Co. and Weinstein's former company, Miramax.

The Weinstein Co. board of directors has pressured Weinstein to step down from the company he helped create, said the person familiar with the board's deliberations and decisions. Weinstein has resisted, hoping to weather the storm. Discussions between Weinstein and the board have been heated and contentious, the person said.

Weinstein on Thursday issued a lengthy statement that quoted Jay-Z and asked for "a second chance." He and his lawyers, including Charles J. Harder, have also in statements and interviews criticized the New York York Times' report, though neither has referenced anything specific.

The Weinstein Co. board of directors are composed largely of investors like Tudor Group founder Paul Tudor Jones and WPP Group executive Lance Maerov. Board member Dirk Ziff, a billionaire investor, resigned Thursday.

Messages to Ziff and current board members were not returned Friday.

The company will now conduct an internal investigation into Weinstein's behavior. The New York Times article chronicled allegations against Weinstein from actress Ashley Judd and former employees at both the Weinstein Co. and Weinstein's former company, Miramax.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Weinstein attorney Lisa Bloom both defended Weinstein and acknowledged he'd been "stupid." She saluted the women who have come forward to allege wrongdoing but said many allegations were overblown and consisted of Weinstein telling a woman she "looked cute without my glasses."

Congressional Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and potential 2020 presidential contender Elizabeth Warren, on Friday began giving charities thousands of dollars in donations they had received from the disgraced Hollywood titan.

Weinstein and his family have given more than $1.4 million in political contributions since the 1992 election cycle, nearly all of it to Democratic lawmakers, candidates and their allies, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

2017-10-06 22:58:25 GMT

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