Per a statement just released by the board:
“In light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days, the directors of The Weinstein Company – Robert Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar – have determined, and have informed Harvey Weinstein, that his employment with The Weinstein Company is terminated, effective immediately.”
This is the capper of a weekend in which Weinstein traveled to Los Angeles from New York, to fight for his job as numerous members of the board of directors formerly loyal to Harvey Weinstein quit in disgust. Amidst volatile exchanges, the remaining members of the board asked him to resign. He would not do it. They asked to cash him out. He declined. So they fired him. It remains to be seen whether Weinstein will sue the board of directors, but after subsequent tawdry stories surfaced following the bombshell report by The New York Times, those board members have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of The Weinstein Company.
Clearly,the decision was made that the company would not be able to survive what likely will be a continuing revelation of stories by women claiming they had been harassed, over the years. Morale at TWC has been rock bottom since the NYT revelations, and it became clear, just as it was at Fox News with Roger Ailes, or any number of companies rocked by sexual harassment allegations, that this company would not be salvageable unless drastic measures were taken. The board is continuing its own investigation of Weinstein’s reported bad behavior.
So the board will go with Bob Weinstein as chairman (he had long been co-chairman with his brother, who kept an understated profile by comparison), and David Glasser, who seems likely to be asked to move up from COO to CEO. Clearly, there will be more to come on this, perhaps the most sudden and shocking story since Sony was hacked by the North Koreans. All this is happening in real time so it might take until early next week for the new leaders to gain titles.
Weinstein built Miramax, and TWC hand in hand with his brother, even if he took a back seat over recent years as the genre division Dimension Films stopped making a reliable slate of films. Glasser has been the longtime buffer between the often volcanic temper of the brothers and the TWC staff. Glasser set plans to exit, and was set to resurface in a top position with Jeffrey Katzenberg at DreamWorks Animation, to move that company into live action. The Weinstein Brothers convinced him to return, and that return halted an exodus of core longtime staffers. All eyes will be on what Bob Weinstein and David Glasser do now to keep a bunch of big TV packages going forward, and salvage film relationships and several promising Oscar bait movies on track in the current Oscar race. That includes the Taylor Sheridan-directed Wind River, a drama that brings focus to unreported the rape of Native Americans in remote tribal areas in this country, and the Benedict Cumberbatch-Michael Shannon drama The Current War. The latter film was edited recently under the direct supervision of Harvey Weinstein and is said to be much tighter than the cut premiered at Toronto. Another film, the Bryan Cranston-Kevin Hart Intouchables remake The Upside, won’t be a factor in the Oscars race. Contractually, Hart’s Jumanji remake contract called for a six-week exclusive window for that film so it will not be in the awards mix.
All of this corporate stuff becomes minutia compared to the tawdry allegations of former Weinstein colleagues describing alleged indiscretions perpetrated against producers and actresses who claim Weinstein harassed them. But consider that Quentin Tarantino, who has made every career movie with Harvey Weinstein, has a big one coming up focusing on the Manson Family murders of Sharon Tate and others in the 60s. Every studio in town will clamor to back Tarantino. Will he stay with TWC, his career-long home, when he was so closely tied to Harvey? Also, there are 190 TWC employees who were demoralized last week and are reading every one of these updates, wondering if they will have jobs next week. So the continuing dynamics of the company are terrifically important and the question will be: can the understated Bob Weinstein and David Glasser keep it all together?
After tonight’s board of directors announcement, it looks like they will get their chance. TWC’s future depends on their ability to pull it off.