Weakened by five years of box office flops and disappointments, exposed by five years without an Oscar nomination, if the early media reports prove true, uber-producer Harvey Weinstein is finally going to face a reckoning involving decades of rumors and reports surrounding his appalling personal behavior.
The news that Weinstein has lawyered up big-time is not in dispute. He is already surrounded by the high-powered David Boies and Charles Harder. Also on the team is Lisa Bloom, who specializes in sexual misconduct cases. Bloom is usually on the other side of the table, the one representing the women who claim to have been abused, not the one defending the alleged abuser.
One wonders if Weinstein hiring the media-savvy Bloom was not an early move on his part to ensure she is a cable news ally, as opposed to foe. Because according to Variety, what is coming are charges of “sexual allegations and improper workplace behavior“:
Harvey Weinstein has hired a high-powered team of attorneys to push back on soon-to-be-published bombshell stories from the New York Times and the New Yorker detailing sexual allegations and improper workplace behavior against him. Some women making the charges are believed to be on the record.
Although allegations like these are nothing new and have been floating around (and even joked about) since the 1990s, no one would have dared come forward until now. Weinstein was just too powerful for too long — a magical period that started in 1989 with Sex, Lies and Videotape, straight through to 2012. For nearly a quarter century, Weinstein’s magic touch turned independent cinema into box office and Oscar gold (nearly 20 Best Picture nominations, plus 3 wins).
Everyone wanted to work with him.
Everyone wanted him to pick up and distribute their passion project.
Weinstein was the bear no one dared poke.
Also in his favor was Weinstein’s strident left-wing activism and politics. As we have learned over the decades when it comes to the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, and John Edwards, holding and advancing the kind of politics the mainstream and entertainment media sees as “correct,” allows you to get away with almost anything — as long you remain useful to them.
Weinstein’s power was such that even Peter Biskind’s Down and Dirty Pictures, a 2004 book detailing Weinstein’s “artistic anger,” famous temper, and bullying of subordinates, did nothing to slow him down.
The worm began to turn in 2005 when Weinstein and his brother Bob announced they were leaving Miramax, the company they founded in 1979 and sold to Disney in 1993. Unhappy over their lack of independence, the brothers bolted and formed The Weinstein Company that same year. A number of hits followed, as did Oscar nominations and wins, but after a banner 2012, the bottom began to fall out with a weaker and weaker slate of releases — including some high-profile flops such as Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
The inevitable stories about The Weinstein Company’s financial problems soon followed, and the first crack in the scandal dam was published by the New York Times just last month, allegations of financial wrongdoing involving an AIDS charity.
Whether or not the coming allegations prove true, one thing is for sure: the hitless and aging Harvey Weinstein (he’s 65) is no longer shielded by power.