Harvey Weinstein will take a leave of absence from the Weinstein Company, following a report in the New York Times detailing decades of allegations of sexual misconduct. The Times spoke to several former Weinstein employees and industry types — including Ashley Judd — who said the influential movie producer treated them inappropriately, with behavior ranging from “appearing nearly or fully naked in front of them, requiring them to be present while he bathed or repeatedly asking for a massage or initiating one himself.”
In a statement to the Times, Weinstein wrote: “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.” He also told the paper he was working with therapists and planning to take a leave of absence to “deal with this issue head on.” Earlier this week, the Oscar-winning film producer reportedly lawyered up to kill the Times’ report, and a similar investigation in the works at The New Yorker. In his full statement, Weinstein quoted Jay-Z’s album 4:44, and said he plans to channel his anger toward Wayne LaPierre, the NRA, and an upcoming movie about President Donald Trump:
Update, 3:40 p.m.: Weinstein’s “long way to go” will include a lawsuit against the New York Times, one of his lawyers told The Hollywood Reporter. “The New York Times published today a story that is saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein,” Weinstein’s lawyer Charles Harder, who represented Hulk Hogan in the Gawker suit, wrote in a statement. “It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by 9 different eyewitnesses. We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish. We are preparing the lawsuit now. All proceeds will be donated to women’s organizations.” Harder did not disclose how much Weinstein would seek in damages, but “Page Six” reports that sources say the producer might ask as much as $50 million.
Update, 6 p.m.: The Weinstein Company’s board of directors will meet by end of day Friday to determine Harvey Weinstein’s fate at the indie film and TV studio. Variety reports: “Under one scenario being teased in the company’s upper echelons, Weinstein’s brother Bob will assume the leadership of the company along with David Glasser, the Weinstein Company’s chief operating officer and president. It’s unclear if Weinstein will be suspended or forced out of the company entirely. He has an ownership stake in the company that could complicate any moves to oust him.”