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Harvey Weinstein

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Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Weinstein in 2011
Born (1952-03-19) March 19, 1952 (age 68)
EducationUniversity at Buffalo
OccupationFilm producer
Years active1979–2017
Spouse(s)
Eve Chilton
(m. 1987; div. 2004)

Georgina Chapman
(m. 2007; div. 2018)
Children5
RelativesBob Weinstein (brother)
Criminal information
Criminal statusCurrently incarcerated, awaiting second trial in Los Angeles
Conviction(s)
1 count of third-degree rape, 1 count of criminal sexual assault in the first degree
Criminal chargeRape, criminal sex act, sex abuse, and sexual misconduct
Penalty23 years

Harvey Weinstein CBE (/ˈwnstn/; born March 19, 1952) is an American former film producer and a convicted sex offender. He and his brother Bob Weinstein co-founded the entertainment company Miramax, which produced successful independent films including Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), The Crying Game (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Heavenly Creatures (1994), Flirting with Disaster (1996), and Shakespeare in Love (1998).[1] Weinstein won an Academy Award for producing Shakespeare in Love and seven Tony Awards for plays and musicals, including The Producers, Billy Elliot the Musical, and August: Osage County.[2] After leaving Miramax, Weinstein and his brother Bob founded The Weinstein Company, a mini-major film studio. He was co-chairman, alongside Bob, from 2005 to 2017.

In October 2017, following sexual abuse allegations, Weinstein was dismissed from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[3][4] More than 80 women had made allegations against Weinstein by October 31.[5] The allegations sparked the #MeToo social media campaign and many similar sexual abuse allegations against (and dismissals of) powerful men around the world; this phenomenon is referred to as the "Weinstein effect". Weinstein was arrested and charged with rape in New York on May 25, 2018.[6] He was found guilty of two of five felonies on February 24, 2020.[7][8][9] He was sentenced to 23 years in prison,[10][11] and was initially held at Rikers Island prison before being transferred to Wende Correctional Facility where he is known as inmate No. 20B0584.[12][13]

Early life

Weinstein was born March 19, 1952, in the Flushing section of Queens, New York,[14] to diamond cutter Max Weinstein[15] and his wife, Miriam (née Postel).[15][16] His family is Jewish,[17] and his maternal grandparents were Polish immigrants.[18] He grew up with his younger brother, Bob, in a housing co-op named Electchester in New York City. He graduated from John Bowne High School and attended the State University of New York at Buffalo.[19] Weinstein, his brother Bob, and Corky Burger independently produced rock concerts as Harvey & Corky Productions in Buffalo through most of the 1970s.[19][20] Harvey & Corky Productions brought top acts to Buffalo, including Frank Sinatra, Jackson Browne and The Rolling Stones. The group eventually purchased a Clarence, New York nightclub and named it Stage One.[citation needed] Weinstein's longtime friend, Jonathan A. Dandes, followed him to Buffalo; he has described Weinstein as "aggressive" and "consumed" in matters of business.[21][22]

Film career

1970s: Early work and creation of Miramax

Both Weinstein brothers had grown up with a passion for films, and they desired to enter the film industry.[citation needed] In the late '70s, using profits from their concert promotion business, the brothers created an independent film distribution company named Miramax, after their parents, Miriam and Max Weinstein.[16] The company's first releases were primarily music-oriented concert films such as Paul McCartney's Rockshow.[23]

1980s: Success with arthouse and independent films

In the early 1980s, Miramax acquired the rights to two British films of benefit shows filmed for the human rights organization Amnesty International. Working closely with Martin Lewis, the producer of the original films, the Weinstein brothers edited the two films into one movie tailored for the American market. The resulting film was released as The Secret Policeman's Other Ball in May 1982, and it became Miramax's first hit. The movie raised considerable sums for Amnesty International and was credited by Amnesty with having helped to raise its profile in the United States.[19][20]

Weinstein at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival

The Weinsteins slowly built upon this success throughout the 1980s with arthouse films that achieved critical attention and modest commercial success. Harvey Weinstein and Miramax gained wider attention in 1988 with the release of Errol Morris' documentary The Thin Blue Line, which detailed the struggle of Randall Dale Adams, a wrongfully convicted inmate sentenced to death row. The publicity that soon surrounded the case resulted in Adams' release and nationwide publicity for Miramax. In 1989, their successful launch release of Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies, and Videotape propelled Miramax to become the most successful independent studio in America.[24]

Also in 1989, Miramax released two arthouse films, Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, and director Pedro Almodóvar's film Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, both of which the MPAA rating board gave an X-rating, effectively stopping nationwide release for these films. Weinstein sued the MPAA over the rating system. His lawsuit was later thrown out, but the MPAA introduced the NC-17 rating two months later.[25]

1990s–2000s: Further success, Disney ownership deal

Miramax continued to grow its library of films and directors until, in 1993, after the success of The Crying Game, Disney offered the Weinsteins $80 million for ownership of Miramax.[26] The brothers agreed to the deal that would cement their Hollywood clout and ensure that they would remain at the head of their company, and the next year, Miramax released their first blockbuster, Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, and distributed the popular independent film Clerks.

Miramax won its first Academy Award for Best Picture in 1997 with the victory of The English Patient. (Pulp Fiction was nominated in 1995 but lost to Forrest Gump.)[27] This started a string of critical successes that included Good Will Hunting (1997) and Shakespeare in Love (1998), both of which won several awards, including numerous Academy Awards.[28][29][30][31]

2005–2017: The Weinstein Company

The Weinstein brothers left Miramax on September 30, 2005, to form their own production company, The Weinstein Company, with several other media executives, directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, and Colin Vaines, who had successfully run the production department at Miramax for 10 years.[32] In February 2011, filmmaker Michael Moore took legal action against the Weinstein brothers, claiming he was owed $2.7 million in profits for his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), which he said had been denied to him by "Hollywood accounting tricks".[33] In February 2012, Moore dropped the lawsuit for an undisclosed settlement.[34]

In the aftermath of the sexual misconduct allegations against Weinstein, the company was forced into bankruptcy, with Lantern Entertainment purchasing all assets in 2018. The company was shut down on July 16, 2018 and the website sometime thereafter.

Managerial style and controversies

While lauded for opening up the independent film market and making it financially viable, Weinstein has been criticized for the techniques he applied in his business dealings. Peter Biskind's book Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film[19] denounced Miramax's release history and editing of arthouse films. For example, the book states that 54 was originally made as a non-mainstream arthouse film, but after Ryan Phillippe's sudden rise to stardom, Weinstein forced director Mark Christopher to re-edit and reshoot the film to make it more mainstream.

Harvey Weinstein also had a habit of re-editing Asian films and dubbing them in English. Weinstein tried to release the English-dubbed versions of Shaolin Soccer and Hero in the United States theatrically, but their English-dubbed versions scored badly in test screenings in the United States, so Weinstein finally released the films in United States cinemas with their original language.[35][36] Furthermore, Weinstein re-edited 1993 Cannes Palme d'Or winner Farewell My Concubine for U.S. theatrical release; 1993 Cannes jury head Louis Malle was furious. "The film we admired so much in Cannes is not the film seen in this country, which is twenty minutes shorter — but it seems longer, because it doesn't make any sense," Malle complained.[37]

When Harvey Weinstein was charged with handling the U.S. release of Princess Mononoke, director Hayao Miyazaki was reported to have sent him a samurai sword in the mail. Attached to the blade was a stark message: "No cuts." Miyazaki commented on the incident: "Actually, my producer did that. Although I did go to New York to meet this man, this Harvey Weinstein, and I was bombarded with this aggressive attack, all these demands for cuts. I defeated him."[38] He and his brother Bob have also been criticized for altering the vision of foreign filmmakers hired to create movies for Miramax, such as on the 1997 projects Mimic (directed by Mexican Guillermo del Toro)[39] and Nightwatch (directed by Dane Ole Bornedal).[40]

Weinstein has always insisted that such changes were done in the interest of creating the most financially viable film. "I'm not cutting for fun," he said in an interview. "I'm cutting for the shit to work. All my life I served one master: the film. I love movies."[20][41]

Another example cited by Biskind was Phillip Noyce's The Quiet American (2002), whose release Weinstein delayed following the September 11 attacks owing to audience reaction in test screenings to the film's critical tone toward past U.S. foreign policy. After being told the film would go straight to video, Noyce planned to screen the film in Toronto International Film Festival in order to mobilize critics to pressure Miramax to release it theatrically. Weinstein decided to screen the film at the festival only after he was lobbied by star Michael Caine, who threatened to boycott publicity for another film he had made for Miramax. The Quiet American received mostly positive reviews at the festival, and Miramax eventually released the film theatrically, but it was alleged that Miramax did not make a major effort to promote the film for Academy Award consideration, though Caine was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.[19]

Weinstein acquired a reputation for ruthlessness and fits of anger.[42] According to Biskind, Weinstein once put a New York Observer reporter in a headlock while throwing him out of a party. On another occasion, Weinstein excoriated director Julie Taymor and her husband during a disagreement over a test screening of her movie Frida.[20]

In a 2004 newspaper article, in New York magazine, Weinstein appeared somewhat repentant for his often aggressive discussions with directors and producers.[43] However, a Newsweek story on October 13, 2008, criticized Weinstein, who was accused of "hassling Sydney Pollack on his deathbed" about the release of the film The Reader. After Weinstein offered $1 million to charity if the accusation could be proven, journalist Nikki Finke published an email sent by Scott Rudin on August 22 asserting that Weinstein "harassed" Anthony Minghella's widow and a bedridden Pollack until Pollack's family asked him to stop.[44][45]

In September 2009, Weinstein publicly voiced opposition to efforts to extradite Roman Polanski from Switzerland to the U.S. regarding a 1977 charge that he had drugged and raped a 13-year-old, to which Polanski had pleaded guilty before fleeing the country.[46] Weinstein, whose company had distributed Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, a film about the Polanski case, questioned whether Polanski committed any crime,[47] prompting Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to insist that Polanski's guilty plea indicated that his action was a crime, and that several other serious charges were pending.[48]

An analysis of Academy Award acceptance speeches from 1966 to 2016 found that Weinstein had been thanked or praised in 34 speeches—as many times as God, and second only to Steven Spielberg (with 43 mentions).[49]

Activism

Weinstein has been active on issues such as poverty, AIDS, juvenile diabetes, and multiple sclerosis research. Until October 2017,[50] he served on the Board of the Robin Hood Foundation, a New York City-based non-profit that targets poverty, and co-chaired one of its annual benefits.[51] He is critical of the lack of gun control laws and universal healthcare in the United States.[52]

Weinstein is a longtime supporter of and contributor to the Democratic Party, including the campaigns of President Barack Obama and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.[53] He supported Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign,[54] and in 2012, he hosted an election fundraiser for Obama at his home in Westport, Connecticut.[55]

Fashion

Weinstein was active in the fashion industry. He produced Project Runway, the fashion reality show, making stars of designer Michael Kors, model Heidi Klum and editor Nina Garcia.[56] He was instrumental in the revival of Halston, collaborating with Tamara Mellon, Sarah Jessica Parker, and stylist Rachel Zoe. He licensed the option to revive the Charles James brand. Celebrities were asked to wear Marchesa (his wife's label) at least once if they were in a Weinstein movie. His production companies were frequently involved in fashion-themed movies, including Madonna's W.E., Robert Altman's Prêt-à-Porter, and Tom Ford's A Single Man. Stars of Weinstein's films appeared on more than a dozen Vogue covers.[57]

Sexual crimes

Allegations of sexual crimes

In October 2017, The New York Times[58] and The New Yorker[3] reported that more than a dozen women accused Weinstein of sexually harassing, assaulting, or raping them. Many other women in the film industry subsequently reported similar experiences with Weinstein,[59][60][61] who denied "any nonconsensual sex". As a result of these accusations, Weinstein was fired from his production company,[62] suspended from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts,[63] and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[4] He also resigned from the Directors Guild of America[64] and was denounced by leading figures in politics whom he had supported.[65] The Los Angeles Police Department opened a criminal investigation for alleged rape,[66] and New York and London police began investigating other sexual assault allegations.[67] On October 10, 2017, Weinstein's wife, Georgina Chapman, announced that she was leaving him.[68]

Ronan Farrow reported in The New Yorker that Weinstein hired British-Israeli private intelligence firm Black Cube in order to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against him. Using false identities, private investigators from Black Cube reportedly tracked and met journalists and actresses, in particular Rose McGowan, who accused Weinstein of rape. Weinstein reportedly had Black Cube and other agencies "target, or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories."[69][70][71]

The allegations precipitated a wave of "national reckoning" against sexual harassment and assault in the United States,[72] known as the Weinstein effect. Compounded by other sexual harassment cases earlier in the year, the Weinstein reports and subsequent #MeToo hashtag campaign, which encouraged individuals to share their suppressed stories of sexual misconduct, created a cavalcade of allegations across multiple industries that brought about the swift ouster of many men in positions of power both in the United States and, as it spread, around the world.[73][74]

In 2019, a documentary Untouchable was released with interviews from several of his accusers.[75]

Charges, arrest, and trial

Weinstein was charged by New York police with "rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women" on May 25, 2018. He was arrested the same day after surrendering to police.[6]

Weinstein was later released after $1 million bail was posted on his behalf. He surrendered his passport and was required to wear an ankle monitor, with travel being restricted to New York and Connecticut. His lawyer Benjamin Brafman said Weinstein would plead not guilty.[76] A trial date was set for January 6, 2020.[77] On that date, Weinstein was also charged in Los Angeles with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in 2013.[78]

Conviction and sentencing

After deliberating for five days, a jury convicted Weinstein on February 24, 2020 of two of five criminal charges: one count of criminal sexual assault in the first degree and one count of rape in the third degree.[7][8][79][80] The jury found him not guilty regarding predatory sexual assault, which could have led to a life sentence.[81][82][83][84] He was remanded to jail at Rikers Island in New York City pending his sentencing hearing on March 11, when he was sentenced to 23 years in prison.[10][85][86] He has said through his attorneys that he would appeal the verdict.[87]

Weinstein still faces a criminal trial in Los Angeles, after which he will begin serving his sentence in New York before any possible sentence in California.[86] As of March 13, 2020, it is unclear if this appeal will be filed before or after his upcoming charges on similar counts in Los Angeles.[88]

Personal life

Weinstein has been married twice. In 1987, he married his assistant Eve Chilton; they divorced in 2004.[43][89] They had three daughters: Remy (previously Lily; born 1995), Emma (born 1998), and Ruth (born 2002).[90] In 2007, he married English fashion designer and actress Georgina Chapman.[91] They have a daughter, India Pearl (born 2010),[92] and a son, Dashiell[93] (born 2013).[94] On October 10, 2017, Chapman announced she was leaving Weinstein after the sexual harassment accusations.[68] They divorced the next year.[95][96]

In March 2020, while incarcerated in Wende Correctional Facility in western New York during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, Weinstein tested positive for COVID-19.[97] He reportedly did not show symptoms of the disease, was placed in isolation at the prison and on April 1 2020 was stated to be recovering.[98][99]

Popular culture

Both Vanity Fair and the New York Post have announced the completion by the playwright and dramatist David Mamet of the play titled Bitter Wheat which is to deal principally with the Weinstein controversy concerning his arrest in 2018. As stated in the New York Post in May 2018: "The plan is to open Mamet's new play in London...sources say Mamet is wary of another run at Broadway unless his Weinstein play gets a good reception in England. He's got a shot with Daniel Evans, the young director who's in talks to do it".[100]

Selected filmography

Crystal128-tv.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

Producer

Year Film Notes
1981 The Burning also writer (story)
1982 The Secret Policeman's Other Ball
1985 Deep End Documentary
1986 Playing for Keeps also writer
1988 Light Years a.k.a. Gandahar (English Version)
1995 Restoration co-producer
1998 Shakespeare in Love Academy Award for Best Picture
BAFTA Award for Best Film
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Satellite Award for Best Film – Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
2000 Malèna Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language
2002 Gangs of New York Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated – Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
2003 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World co-producer (uncredited)
2009 Nine Satellite Award for Best Film – Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
2011 My Week with Marilyn Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best British Film
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
2017 Tulip Fever
The Current War Film generally released in 2019.

Director

Year Film Notes
1986 Playing for Keeps also writer and producer
1987 The Gnomes' Great Adventure

Executive producer

Year Film Notes
1989 Scandal co-executive producer
The Lemon Sisters co-executive producer
1990 Hardware
Strike It Rich
Crossing the Line co-executive producer
1991 Madonna: Truth or Dare
A Rage in Harlem
The Pope Must Diet
1992 Reservoir Dogs
Dust Devil co-executive producer
Into the West co-executive producer
1993 Benefit of the Doubt
The Night We Never Met
True Romance
The Hour of the Pig
Map of the Human Heart
1994 Mother's Boys
Pulp Fiction co-executive producer
Il Postino: The Postman
Prêt-à-Porter
1995 Smoke
The Englishman who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain
Blue in the Face
Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead
A Month by the Lake
The Journey of August King
The Crossing Guard
1996 Beautiful Girls
The English Patient
Flirting with Disaster
The Pallbearer
Scream
Jane Eyre
The Crow: City of Angels
Emma
The Last of the High Kings
Victory co-executive producer
1997 Addicted to Love
Nightwatch
Mimic
She's So Lovely
Jackie Brown
Good Will Hunting
Cop Land
The Wings of the Dove
Princess Mononoke English-language version
Scream 2
Air Bud
1998 A Price Above Rubies
Phantoms
Senseless
Wide Awake
Ride
Since You've Been Gone TV film
The Mighty
Velvet Goldmine
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
54
Rounders
Little Voice co-executive producer
Talk of Angels
B. Monkey co-executive producer
The Faculty
Playing by Heart
1999 Guinevere
She's All That
My Life So Far
Teaching Mrs. Tingle
Outside Providence
In Too Deep
Mansfield Park
Holy Smoke!
Music of the Heart
The Cider House Rules
2000 The Crow: Salvation
Down to You
Scream 3
Love's Labour's Lost
Committed
Scary Movie
Chocolat
The Yards
Bounce
Dracula 2000
2001 The Others
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring film credit only; wasn't involved in actual film
Iris
The Shipping News
Spy Kids
Texas Rangers
Scary Movie 2
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
2001–2005 Project Greenlight Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program (2002, 2004, 2005)
2002 Chicago
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers film credit only; wasn't involved in actual film
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
Below
Waking Up in Reno
Equilibrium
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
2003 Cold Mountain
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King film credit only; wasn't involved in actual film
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
My Boss's Daughter
Duplex
Scary Movie 3
Bad Santa co-executive producer
The Human Stain
Kill Bill: Volume 1
2004 Jersey Girl
Ella Enchanted
Fahrenheit 9/11
The Aviator
Finding Neverland
Shall We Dance?
Kill Bill: Volume 2
2004–2017 Project Runway Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program (2005–2015)
2005 Sin City
Cursed
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl
The Brothers Grimm
Underclassman
Proof
Derailed
2006 Clerks II
Scary Movie 4
Pulse
Breaking and Entering
Miss Potter
School for Scoundrels
2007 Grindhouse
The Mist
Rogue
Sicko
Halloween
Awake
1408
Who's Your Caddy?
The Nanny Diaries
2008 Superhero Movie
Rambo
The Reader
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Soul Men
2009 Inglourious Basterds
Fanboys
Halloween II
Capitalism: A Love Story
2010 Piranha 3D
The King's Speech
The Fighter
2011 The Artist
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
Scream 4
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World
Apollo 18
Butter
I Don't Know How She Does It
2012 W.E.
Piranha 3DD
Silver Linings Playbook
Django Unchained
2013 Escape from Planet Earth
Scary Movie 5
Lee Daniels' The Butler
August: Osage County
One Chance
Fruitvale Station
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
2014 Vampire Academy
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Paddington
Big Eyes
Marco Polo
2015 Woman in Gold
Southpaw
Carol
Macbeth
Burnt
The Hateful Eight
2016 Sing Street
War & Peace
Lion
The Founder
Gold
2017 Wind River
Leap!
47 Meters Down
Amityville: The Awakening
The Upside

Awards and honors

Harvey Weinstein had previously won numerous awards before his sexual assault allegations surfaced. On September 26, 2000, Harvey Weinstein was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) by the University at Buffalo.[101] He was awarded again on April 19, 2004, when Weinstein was appointed an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his contributions to the British film industry. This award was "honorary" because Weinstein is not a citizen of a Commonwealth country.[102] On March 2, 2012, Weinstein was made a knight of the French Legion of Honour, in recognition of Miramax's efforts to increase the presence and popularity of foreign films in the United States.[103]

All of the awards mentioned above except for the Order of the British Empire were revoked or stripped by November 2017. Alma mater said his conduct "contradicts the spirit of the honorary degree", while French President Emmanuel Macron revoked his Legion of Honour.[104][105][106][107] The table below lists additional awards given to Weinstein. Those not shared with others have also since been rescinded.

Year Association Award Notes Rescinded
1996 Britannia Awards Britannia Award for Excellence in Film shared with Bob Weinstein
1997 Gotham Awards Producers Award shared with Bob Weinstein and James Schamus
1998 GLAAD Media Award GLAAD Excellence in Media Award shared with Bob Weinstein
2001 British Independent Film Awards Special Jury Prize shared with Bob Weinstein
2002 British Film Institute British Film Institute Fellowship 2017[108][109]
2003 Saturn Award Special Award shared with Bob Weinstein
2003 DVD Exclusive Awards Producer Award shared with Bob Weinstein
2013 Producers Guild of America Award Milestone Award shared with Bob Weinstein
2014 Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African & African American Research W. E. B. Du Bois Medal 2017[110][111]

References

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