NEW YORK (AP) — Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is on indefinite leave from the company he co-founded while an internal investigation into numerous sexual harassment allegations against him is completed.
The board of directors of The Weinstein Co. said Friday that Weinstein’s future with the company depends on his therapeutic progress and the results of the internal investigation.
The announcement came a day after The New York Times reported that Weinstein has over the years reached at least eight legal settlements with women over alleged harassment.
“We believe it is important to learn the full truth regarding the article’s very serious accusations, in the interests of the Company, its shareholders and its employees,” the company said.
The statement is signed by four of six remaining board members.
The board named attorney John Kiernan of the firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP as the head of the internal investigation. It did not give a time frame for when the investigation would be completed.
The statement says it is essential for The Weinstein Co. to have a culture where women can work with respect and without fear of harassment or discrimination.
The New York Times expose chronicled allegations against Weinstein from actress Ashley Judd and former employees at both the Weinstein Co. and Weinstein’s former company, Miramax
Leadership of The Weinstein Co. will be assumed by Weinstein’s brother, Bob Weinstein, and David Glasser, the company’s chief operating officer and president.
The Weinstein Co. board of directors has pressured Weinstein to step down from the company he helped create, said a person familiar with the board’s deliberations who was not authorized to speak publicly. Weinstein has resisted, hoping to weather the storm. Discussions between Weinstein and the board have been heated and contentious, the person said.
Weinstein on Thursday issued a lengthy statement that quoted Jay-Z and asked for “a second chance.” He and his lawyers, including Charles J. Harder, have also in statements and interviews criticized the New York York Times’ report, though neither has referenced anything specific.
The Weinstein Co. board of directors are composed largely of investors like Tudor Group founder Paul Tudor Jones and WPP Group executive Lance Maerov. Board member Dirk Ziff, a billionaire investor, resigned Thursday.
Messages to Ziff and current board members were not returned Friday.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Weinstein attorney Lisa Bloom both defended Weinstein and acknowledged he’d been “stupid.” She saluted the women who have come forward to allege wrongdoing but said many allegations were overblown and consisted of Weinstein telling a woman she “looked cute without my glasses.”
Congressional Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and potential 2020 presidential contender Elizabeth Warren, on Friday began giving charities thousands of dollars in donations they had received from the disgraced Hollywood titan.
Weinstein and his family have given more than $1.4 million in political contributions since the 1992 election cycle, nearly all of it to Democratic lawmakers, candidates and their allies, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.