On February 24, 2020, in a New York City courtroom, disgraced entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein was found guilty on two of five possible counts involving two women: a first-degree criminal sexual act and a third-degree rape. He was found not guilty of the three most serious charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape involving two women (Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann) in separate incidents. The jury, consisting of seven men and five women, deliberated for nearly a week.
The trial began on January 6, 2020, after experiencing many delays. Weinstein, who is 67, did not testify at his trial. After the verdict was read, Weinstein was immediately taken to jail, where he will be held until his sentencing on March 11, 2020. He faces up to 29 years in prison.
Weinstein is also facing sexual-assault charges in Los Angeles, where he is accused of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another woman on two consecutive nights during Oscars week in 2013.
Weinstein was first arrested in May 2018, when he turned himself into the New York Police Department. He was arrested and charged with rape and forced oral sex. According to the Associated Press, the rape charge was for an unidentified woman who claims that Weinstein raped her at a New York hotel room in 2013. The oral sex charge was for a 2004 incident in which former aspiring actress Lucia Evans claims that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him at his New York office.
In October 2018, the charge involving Evans was dismissed. According to CNN, Evans’ attorney Carrie Goldberg implied that the charge was dropped for political reasons because of a “feud between the NYPD and the DA’s office.” Goldberg added that the dropped charge “does speak to a system desperate in need of reform.”
A few famous actresses testified against Weinstein in his New York trial: Annabella Sciorra (who says that Weinstein raped her in her apartment in 1993 and 1994) and Rosie Perez, who testified that Sciorra told her about being raped shortly after the incident. Perez found out much later that Sciorra’s alleged rapist was Weinstein, but Perez did not go to police because Sciorra swore her to secrecy at the time.
According to the Associated Press, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. made this statement after the verdict was revealed: “This is the new landscape for survivors of sexual assault in America, I believe, and it is a new day. It is a new day because Harvey Weinstein has finally been held accountable for crimes he committed. Weinstein is a vicious, serial sexual predator who used his power to threaten, rape, assault and trick, humiliate and silence his victims. Weinstein with his manipulation, his resources, his attorneys, his publicists and his spies did everything he could to silence to survivors.”
Weinstein’s attorneys said that they will appeal the verdict. His defense attorney Donna Rotunno commented after the verdict was revealed: “Harvey is unbelievably strong. He took it like a man. He knows that we will continue to fight for him, and we know that this is not over.”
Weinstein’s conviction and imprisonment for sex crimes are considered landmarks for the #MeToo movement, which became a major cultural force in October 2017, when the New York Times and the New Yorker reported that Weinstein has a long history of sexual misconduct allegations, going back as far as the 1980s. The reports detailed how he silenced many of his alleged victims with financial settlements and non-disclosure agreements. In the years since those reports were published, more than 100 women have come forward to claim that Weinstein sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them. Weinstein has denied all the allegations, and says any sex acts he committed were consensual.
After the reports were published, Weinstein was fired by The Weinstein Company (the entertainment firm that Harvey co-founded with his brother Bob); Harvey’s second wife, Georgina Chapman, divorced him; and the company filed for bankruptcy. The Weinstein Company has since been purchased by investment group Lantern Entertainment.
In March 2019, Lantern and Gary Barber launched Spyglass Media Group, which will own the library previously owned by The Weinstein Company. Italian film distributor Eagle Pictures, cinema chain Cineworld (which own Regal Cinemas) and later AT&T’s Warner Bros. were brought in as minority holders. The library includes Oscar-winning movies “The King’s Speech,” “The Artist,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Django Unchained,” “The Hateful Eight,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Iron Lady,” as well as partial ownership of the fashion reality TV competition “Project Runway.”
Several industry organizations (including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) have expelled Harvey Weinstein from their membership, and he has been sued by several women for sexual harassment/sexual misconduct. Ashley Judd, one of his accusers, is also suing him for defamation because she claims Harvey Weinstein damaged her reputation and career after she rejected his sexual advances.
Since the accusations about Weinstein were made public, there have been several books, news stories and documentaries about his scandals. The most notable feature-length documentary so far about Weinstein is Hulu’s “Untouchable,” which began streaming in September 2019. The entertainment industry website Deadline reported in 2018 that Plan B (Brad Pitt’s production company) and Annapurna Pictures are planning a dramatic feature film about how The New York Times broke the Weinstein #MeToo story. The movie, if it’s made, will likely begin filming after all of Weinstein’s criminal cases have been resolved.
Harvey Weinstein’s downfall is widely considered to be the turning point of the #MeToo cultural movement, which has survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault publicly telling their stories and seeking justice. The #MeToo movement has also led to sexual misconduct allegations against many other famous and powerful men, often resulting in the accused losing their jobs and/or being sued.
The Harvey Weinstein scandal has made this year’s award-show season a turning point in the entertainment industry that has largely shunned and condemned Weinstein, one of the most powerful award-show campaigners of the past 30 years. Since October 5, 2017, dozens of stories about 65-year-old Weinstein have been made public (most notably in articles published by the New York Times and the New Yorker), accusing the former movie mogul of sexual misconduct, including verbal harassment, indecent exposure, groping, rape and other forms of non-consensual assault spanning nearly 30 years. The reported victims (all women) include actresses, assistants, producers and executives, who all claim to either have been personally harassed or assaulted by Weinstein, or know those who have been victims of Weinstein’s misconduct but were pressured to stay silent about it.
Actresses who have claimed that Weinstein sexually harassed them include Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Mira Sorvino, Ashley Judd, Rosanna Arquette, Kate Beckinsale, Angie Everhart, Minka Kelly and Cara Delevingne, while actresses Rose McGowan and Asia Argento have accused Weinstein of rape. Weinstein has denied that he had non-consensual sexual contact with any of his accusers. According to the New York Times, Weinstein settled at least eight sexual harassment cases out of court, most recently in 2015. Police in New York, California and London are reportedly investigating claims of sexual misconduct by Weinstein, and are urging anyone with information to contact the proper authorities.
Weinstein co-founded Miramax Films in 1979, and left the company in 2005 to co-found The Weinstein Company (TWC). He has since been ousted from TWC, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the organization behind the Oscars) and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (the organization behind the BAFTA Awards). Weinstein is the second person to ever be expelled from AMPAS. (The other person, actor Carmine Caridi, was expelled in 2004 for leaking Academy movie screeners.) Although he has been expelled from AMPAS and BAFTA, Weinstein can still keep any awards that he has won from those organizations. (He won an Oscar for being one of the producers of 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love.”) TWC, which has publicly condemned Weinstein, has announced that it is changing the company name, and the company will probably be put up for sale.
The End of an Era
Miramax first made a big impact at the Oscars with 1989’s “My Left Foot,” which was nominated for five Oscars (including Best Picture), and won two Oscars: Best Actor (for Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Supporting Actress (for Brenda Fricker). Miramax’s Oscar-winning streak continued with numerous movies, including 1994’s “Pulp Fiction,” 1996’s “The English Patient,” 1997’s “Good Will Hunting,” 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love,” 2002’s “Chicago,” 2003’s “Cold Mountain,” 2004’s “The Aviator,” 2007’s “No Country for Old Men” and 2007’s “There Will Be Blood.”
TWC also has many films that won Oscars. It can be said that TWC’s power peaked from 2010 to 2012. The company had back-to-back wins for Best Picture with 2010’s “The King’s Speech” and 2011’s “The Artist,” two movies that won Oscars in several other major categories, including Best Director and Best Actor. In 2012, TWC had Oscar-winning box-office hits with “Silver Linings Playbook”(for which Jennifer Lawrence was named Best Actress) and “Django Unchained,” which won Oscars for Quentin Tarantino (Best Original Screenplay) and Christoph Waltz (Best Supporting Actor). Waltz also won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for 2009’s “Inglourious Basterds,” a Tarantino film distributed by TWC. Tarantino (who has worked with Miramax or TWC for all the movies that Tarantino has directed) has since released a statement condemning Weinstein, as have former Weinstein colleagues such as Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Ben Affleck and Judi Dench.
In recent years, TWC’s clout during awards season has significantly decreased. The 2013 African-American drama “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which was once predicted to be a dominate force at the Oscars, was famously snubbed by not getting any Oscar nominations. The 2015 Western crime drama “The Hateful Eight” (directed by Tarantino) was a box-office disappointment, failed to win in major categories at several award shows, and ultimately won only one Oscar: for Best Original Score. The 2015 lesbian drama “Carol” didn’t win any Oscars, despite getting six nominations. The 2016 adoption drama “Lion” was also nominated for six Oscars, but didn’t win any. Although nominated at several other award shows, “Lion” was also shut out of winning prizes at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
TWC had a sleeper hit and critical acclaim with the 2017 crime mystery “Wind River,” but the movie didn’t get much Oscar buzz after it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. Now, TWC movies have virtually no chance of getting any nominations at the Oscars or other major award shows for the forseeable future, which is why the company is changing its name and will likely be sold in order to reinvent itself.
In addition to being a powerful awards campaigner, Weinstein (and TWC and Miramax) developed a reputation for throwing lavish, star-studded parties during awards season. That Weinstein party era is effectively over. It’s likely that Netflix and Amazon will take over the reigns as the companies outside the major studio system that will throw the most lavish parties during awards season, while older major studios such as Fox and Warner Bros. will still have considerable influence in the party circuit. In addition, A24 (which won big at the Oscars this year with “Moonlight”) is poised to become the independent movie studio with the most clout during awards season—a reputation that TWC had back in the early 2010s. One thing is for certain: Weinstein will not be invited to the most important industry parties for the forseeable future, although it’s probable that he will eventually be invited to less influential events several years after the scandal.
Weinstein’s second (and future ex) wife, Georgina Chapman, has also had her career ruined by the scandal. Chapman, who married Weinstein in 2007, co-founded the luxury fashion label Marchesa in 2004, around the time that she started dating Weinstein. Numerous stories have since come out that Weinstein told many famous actresses to wear Marchesa outfits at important events, and he allegedly threatened to hurt their careers if they didn’t wear the outfits. Marchesa’s rapid rise to success has been so interwined with Weinstein’s influence that people have found it difficult to separate Marchesa’s identity from Weinstein, even though Chapman announced on October 10, 2017, that she was leaving Weinstein. She hasn’t officially filed for divorce yet, but it’s only a matter of time until she does. Marchesa has already lost important business deals because of the scandal, and the label is unlikely to be worn by any star at major events this awards season.
As heinous as the crimes are that Weinstein has been accused of committing, AMPAS’s decision to expel Weinstein might strike many people as hypocritical, considering that convicted rapist Roman Polanski won an Oscar for Best Director for 2002’s “The Pianist,” even though he has famously avoided serving his sentence for raping a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles in 1977. Polanski (who pled guilty to the crime) fled to France in 1978, and his status as a fugitive from the law means that since 1978, he has not been in the United States or countries that could extradite him back to the U.S., because he knows he would be sent immediately to prison.
[May 3, 2018 UPDATE: Convicted rapists Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby have been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy released this statement: “The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors met on Tuesday night (May 1) and has voted to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership in accordance with the organization’s Standards of Conduct. The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity.”]
Amazon Studios and the Effects of the Weinstein Scandal
But now it’s 2017, and AMPAS is clearly sending a message that any Academy member or potential Oscar nominee who is publicly accused of multiple incidents of sexual misconduct will no longer be as tolerated as they once were. That’s why Amazon Studios’ “Manchester by the Sea” dodged several bullets, but the company could still feel the effects of the Weinstein scandal. Casey Affleck, who settled two sexual-harassment lawsuits in 2010, won an Oscar and several other major awards for Best Actor for 2016’s “Manchester by the Sea.” Casey Affleck’s sexual-harassment scandal was reported many times in media coverage of “Manchester by the Sea” and during the movie’s awards campaign. However, in the wake of the Weinstein scandal, it’s doubtful that Casey Affleck (the younger brother of Oscar winner/former Weinstein colleague Ben Affleck) would have much of a chance of being nominated if he were eligible for the same awards today.
In fact, considering how much the award-show campaigning will be affected by the Weinstein scandal, “Manchester by the Sea” (which was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture) is an example of the type of movie that probably wouldn’t have been nominated for as many Oscars or other major awards in this post-Weinstein-scandal era. If “Manchester by the Sea” (which also garnered writer/director Kenneth Lonergan an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay) had been released in 2017, not 2016, the movie might have been passed over for any Oscar nominations altogether if there had been enough boycott pressure around the movie. And it wouldn’t have just been because of Casey Affleck. Matt Damon, one of the producers of “Manchester by the Sea,” has been tainted by the Weinstein scandal because Damon was accused of pressuring the Los Angeles Times to kill a story in 2004 that would have exposed Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct. Damon, who won a screenwriting Oscar with Ben Affleck for Miramax’s “Good Will Hunting,” has vehemently denied that he knew about or tried to cover up for Weinstein’s misdeeds, and Damon has publicly condemned Weinstein since the scandal broke.
Amazon Studios, the distributor for “Manchester by the Sea,” is also caught up in the Weinstein fallout in other ways. On October 12, 2017, the company suspended Amazon Studios head Roy Price after “The Man in the High Castle” producer Isa Hackett accused him of sexual harassment. Meanwhile, McGowan (who has accused Weinstein of raping her in 1997) claims that she told Price about the rape, and urged him not to work with Weinstein, but he did nothing about it because Price allegedly told McGowan that there wasn’t enough proof. In the wake of the scandal, Amazon has announced that it is reviewing its relationship with TWC.
[October 17, 2017 UPDATE: Price has officially exited Amazon Studios. Although he resigned, his resignation was reportedly forced. In other words, he was fired.]
Amazon also has a contract with Woody Allen, who has had his own sex scandals that have negatively affected his reputation, including accusations that he molested his adopted daughter Dylan in the 1980s. Allen has vehemently denied the allegations, and was cleared in a police investigation. Allen has also commented on the Weinstein scandal by condemning sexual harassment but also cautioning against the dangers of false accusations and having a “witch hunt” mentality. But given Amazon Studios’ association with Weinstein and two other high-profile men accused of sexual misconduct, it remains to be seen if Amazon will be a major contender for movies during this awards season. Amazon’s comedy film “The Big Sick” has gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews, but will acclaim from movie critics be enough for the movie to get Oscar nominations?
For TV awards, it remains to be seen how Amazon Studios (which has award-winning shows such as “Transparent,” “Mozart in the Jungle” and “The Man in the High Castle”) will fare at the 2018 Emmy Awards, since the Weinstein scandal broke after the 2017 Emmy Awards took place.
TWC TV Fallout
TWC’s TV series include “Project Runway,” “Spy Kids: Mission Critical,” a still-untitled show from former NBC News host Tamron Hall and a still-untitled show from “Silver Linings Playbook” director David O. Russell. Of those series, “Project Runway” is the only one likely to survive long past the Weinstein scandal and possibly win awards.
“Project Runway” host/executive producer Heidi Klum (who won an Emmy for hosting the show in 2013) is one of numerous people in the entertainment industry who have issued statements condemning Weinstein and sexual misconduct. “Project Runway” debuted in 2004, and has been renewed through 2019. The series spinoffs “Project Runway All-Stars” and “Project Runway: Junior” also are renewed. Even before the Weinstein scandal, “Project Runway” has won just two Emmy Awards out of 44 Emmy nominations. But in the wake of the scandal, the show’s chances of winning an Emmy again have significantly diminished.
Weinstein Broadway Backlash
Weinstein’s recent Broadway credits include “Finding Neverland,” “The Elephant Man” and the Tony-winning “All the Way.” His biggest Broadway success was 2002’s “The Producers,” which holds the record for the most Tony Awards (12 Tonys) won by a production in a single year. However, in light of the scandal, Weinstein will likely be shunned from working on Broadway productions for the next several years.
Golden Globes Litmus Test
The first major award show to feel the effects of the Weinstein scandal will be the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards, which will take place on January 7, 2018. Nominations for the show will be announced on December 11, 2017. The Golden Globes, which are voted for by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, give prizes to movies and TV shows. Considering that Weinstein will be virtually shut out of major award shows for many years to come, any project associated with him is unlikely to end up being a winner.
Meryl Streep, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Mira Sorvino and Judi Dench—five actresses who have won Oscars for their roles in movies distributed by Harvey Weinstein-founded The Weinstein Company (TWC) and Miramax Films—have joined the growing list of celebrities who are speaking out against the sexual harassment and sexual assault that TWC co-founder Weinstein is accused of committing for more than 30 years.
Streep has publicly praised Weinstein over the years, but on October 9, 2017, she issued a statement saying, in part: “The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported. The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes. One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew … Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game.” Other stars—such as Glenn Close, Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow and Mark Ruffalo—have also made public statements condemning Weinstein. (Click here to read many of their statements.)
On October 7, 2017, Weinstein issued an apology that read, in part: “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.” He also said he was in therapy for his admitted anger issues and “demons.” Through his representatives, Weinstein has denied the most serious allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
Weinstein was fired from TWC on October 8, 2017—three days after a New York Times article gave detailed accounts of these accusations, which included allegations made by actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan that Weinstein sexually harassed them in the 1990s. The New York Times investigation reported that over the past several years, Weinstein had least eight sexual-harassment cases against him that were settled out of court; the most recently known case was in 2015.
Allegations published by the New York Times and the New Yorker on October 10, 2017, give first-hand accounts by numerous women with various jobs in the entertainment industry (including assistants, producers, executives and actresses) who talk about being the targets of sexual misconduct by Weinstein. Angelina Jolie, Paltrow, Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette are among the other actresses who claim that they have been sexually harassed by Weinstein early in the actresses’ careers. Meanwhile, actress/filmmaker Asia Argento told the New Yorker that Weinstein raped her in 1997, and she felt pressured to have other sexual encounters with him over the next five years.
According to the reports, Weinstein’s main tactic would be to lure a woman to be alone with him in a hotel room or other private area, with Weinstein leading the woman to believe that it was a business meeting to help her career. The allegations often included salacious details such as Weinstein getting naked and asking the woman he was alone with to give him a nude massage, watch him take a shower and/or have sex with him. In some cases, Weinstein would allegedly masturbate in front of the woman or force the woman to touch his penis.
Lucia Evans, a former aspiring actress, told the New Yorker of a disturbing encounter with Weinstein in which she claims he forced her to perform oral sex on him during what she thought would be a business meeting with him in 2004.
Weinstein, who is 65, has been married to fashion mogul Georgina Chapman (co-founder of the Marchesa brand) since 2007, but she announced on October 10, 2017, that they have separated. Weinstein was married to his first wife, Eve Chilton, from 1987 to 2004. His has three daughters with Chilton: Remy (previously Lily), born in 1995; Emma, born 1998; and Ruth, born in 2002. Weinstein has two children with Chapman: daughter India Pearl (born in 2010) and son Dashiell (born in 2013).
In 2015, Weinstein was investigated by the New York Police Department for groping actress Ambra Battilana Gutierrez during a private business meeting at TWC headquarters in New York City, but the Manhattan District Attorney declined to file charges. On October 10, 2017, New Yorker released a NYPD sting audio tape made at a hotel a few days after the incident that has Weinstein admitting to groping her breast and trying to convince Gutierrez to come into his hotel room.
Weinstein was a major donor to several progressive causes and Democratic politicians, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Since the scandal broke, Obama and Clinton have issued statements condemning Weinstein. Some of the politicians, such as Senators Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, have stated that they would take the amount of money that Weinstein donated to them and give it to charitable causes.
Over the years, Weinstein earned a reputation for being a vengeful bully to many people in the industry, but he earned just as much praise and admiration from those who benefited from his help. He was considered one of the movie industry’s most powerful campaigners for prestigious awards. TWC’s Oscar-winning movies include “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.” Streep won an Oscar for her role as Margaret Thatcher in TWC’s “The Iron Lady,” while Winslet won an Oscar for TWC’s “The Reader.” Among the other celebrities who have won Oscars for TWC films include Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Penélope Cruz (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), Quentin Tarantino (“Django Unchained”), Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) and Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Django Unchained”).
Weinstein co-founded TWC in 2005 with his brother Bob Weinstein. The Weinstein brothers co-founded Miramax Films in 1979, and headed the company until 2005. Miramax, which was bought by Disney in 1993, is the movie studio behind such Oscar-winning films as “Shakespeare in Love” and “Chicago.” Paltrow and Dench won Oscars for “Shakespeare in Love,” while Sorvino won an Oscar for Miramax’s “Mighty Aphrodite.”
In recent years, TWC’s power has been waning. The company, which also has departments for television and books, has not had a big movie hit since 2012’s “Django Unchained.” And although 2016’s “Lion” received six Oscar nominations, the movie did not win any Oscars.