NEW YORK CITY (JTA) – Harvey Weinstein was fired from the movie production firm he started following sexual harassment allegations by several women, including actress Ashley Judd.
The Weinstein Company’s directors announced the dismissal Sunday, Oct. 8, citing “new information about misconduct” by Weinstein, who co-founded the firm in 2005.
The board said in a statement that Weinstein’s employment “is terminated, effective immediately.”
The New York Times had recently published an article alleging that Weinstein had harassed Judd and Rose McGowan, another Hollywood actress, as well as many other female talents and employees over decades.
In the aftermath Weinstein, 65, issued a statement in which he said he would “take a leave of absence” from his production firm and “spend more time with a therapist.”
Despite saying that he could not be “more remorseful about the people I hurt” with his behavior, Weinstein also said The Times report was rife with inaccuracies and that he plans to sue the paper for $50 million, the New York Post reported.
According to The Times’ expose of Weinstein — who produced many box office hits including “Pulp Fiction,” “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” “The Crying Game” and “Clerks” — he used his position of influence in Hollywood to demand sexual favors from actresses and female assistants over the past three decades.
He has paid off at least eight women to settle complaints about his lewd behavior, according to The Times.
The women, most in their early to mid-20s at the time of the abuse, said Weinstein would appear near or fully naked, make them watch him bathe or give him a massage, and in at least one instance press a young employee for sex, The Times reported.
Some were paid $80,000 to $150,000 each to make their complaints go away, according to The Times, with “Scream” actress McGowan, then 23, getting $100,000 in 1997 over an incident that took place during the Sundance Film Festival. Sexual harassment in the workplace isn’t necessarily always this extreme. If this is something you are worried about, you can click here for more information.
Weinstein, who is Jewish, wrote earlier this year that he planned to direct a film next year based on Leon Uris’ book about the Warsaw Ghetto, Mila 18. He recalled reading Mila 18 during a trip to visit his great-grandmother in Israel as a kid.
“I guess it is personal – I lost eight great aunts and uncles to Auschwitz. Luckily for me, my grandmother and grandfather moved to America in the 20s while their families stayed back in Poland and Belarus. My great grandmother escaped with the Zionists as did one of her sons,” Weinstein wrote in an op-ed for Deadline.
With his brother Bob, Weinstein founded Miramax—named for their parents, Mira and Max Weinstein—and later The Weinstein Company.
A prominent supporter of liberal and Democratic causes, Weinstein spoke in 2015 at a fund-raiser for the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, where he was presented with the organization’s Humanitarian Award. In his speech, he urged Jews in the fight against anti-Semitism to “stand up and kick these guys in the ass.”