Oscar board expels Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein
The board "voted well in excess of the required two-thirds majority" to expel him
Hollywood’s great and good voted to expel Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced film producer, from the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Science saying it was sending a message that the industry’s “era of wilful ignorance” and complicity in predatory behaviour was over.
The film world has faced intense questions over how much it knew about abuse that stretched back decades.
The Oscar body’s board of governors, including Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Whoopi Golderg, voted to remove him from the organisation’s ranks during an emergency meeting on Saturday.
It marks the just the latest step in an extraordinary fall from grace for a man whose companies claimed 81 Oscar wins, effectively expelling him from Hollywood.
In announcing the decision, the Academy said: “We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behaviour and workplace harassment in our industry is over.
“What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society.”
The announcement came nine days after Harvey Weinstein’s accusers first went public with allegations of lewd behaviour, sexual harassment and abuse. Still more women are coming forward with details of attacks in a scandal that threatens to spread through Hollywood.
The mother of Eva Green, the Bond girl in Casino Royale, says the 65-year-old producer threatened to destroy her daughter’s career after she rejected his advances.
Oprah Winfrey and Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue — representing the twin axes of entertainment and fashion in Mr Weinstein’s celebrity world — added their voices to the condemnation.
And reports emerged that Mr Weinstein’s contract with the company he founded may have protected him from being fired over allegations of sexual harassment so long as he settled any lawsuits.
Meanwhile, the list of victims grows daily.
Marlene Jobert, the French actress, said her daughter Eva Green had been targeted between 2010 and 2011.
“My daughter Eva was a victim of this horrible man … he is tenacious, he insisted over the course of several months. From the moment he arrived in Paris, he would start calling her,” she told French radio.
“She didn't respond ... she was a little bit intimidated, this guy had so much power! Power over all cinema.”
The breadth of the allegations and the fact Mr Weinstein operated for years with impunity has been taken as evidence of Hollywood’s enduring problem with lopsided power relationships. To critics, it is another symptom of the rot within an industry where young, beautiful actresses are reliant on powerful, wealthy male producers for their breaks.
Winfrey condemned what she said was “systemic enabling”.
“Thanks to the brave voices we’ve heard this week, many more will now be emboldened to come forward every time this happens,” she said. “I believe a shift is coming.”
Wintour, who was often photographed with Mr Weinstein in the front row of his wife’s fashion shows, said: “I feel horrible about what these women have experienced and admire their bravery in coming forward.”
In a sign of the way that the abuse was an open secret throughout the industry, Colin Firth has expressed his shame at failing to act when a co-star told him she had been harassed.
He made his comments after Sophie Dix, who starred opposite Firth in the black comedy Hour of the Pig, revealed how Mr Weinstein pinned her down in a hotel room when she was 22.
“Before I knew it, he started trying to pull my clothes off and pin me down and I just kept saying, 'No, no, no'. But he was really forceful,” she told Britain's Guardian newspaper.
Firth revealed that the actress described the incident to him at a party and said he admired her for speaking out.
“To my shame, I merely expressed sympathy,” he said.
“I didn't act on what she told me. It was a long time ago and I don't know if she remembers telling me, but the fact that I had that conversation has come back to haunt me in the light of these revelations.”
Although Mr Weinstein has apologised for inappropriate behaviour and said he is seeking therapy for sex addiction, he has denied the rape claims.
Sallie Hofmeister, a spokeswoman for the producer, said: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein.”
The producer was fired by the company’s board last Sunday as allegations of his abusive behaviour snowballed.
But that has not been enough to stop investors demanding the return of their money and for potential buyers to begin circling the Weinstein Company.
His brother, Bob Weinstein, was forced to issue a statement saying it was business as usual as the company prepared for the release next month of a new horror film, Polaroid, and the follow-up to the 2014 hit Paddington.
“Our banks, partners, and shareholders are fully supportive of our company, and it is untrue that the company or board is exploring a sale or shutdown of the company,” he said.
However, he issued his statement after the American banking giant Goldman Sachs said it was “exploring options” for its almost $1 million (Dh3.67m) stake in the Weinstein Company.
The scandal has also reached other parts of the film industry.
The head of Amazon’s video content has been put on indefinite leave after he was accused of ignoring actress Rose McGowan’s allegations that she had been raped by Mr Weinstein.
Roy Price, the head of Amazon Studios, has also been accused of sexually harassing Isa Hackett, the producer of Amazon show The Man In The High Castle.
Updated: October 15, 2017 05:28 AM