Harvey’s Weinstein’s $5 million pledge to fund an endowment for women filmmakers at the USC School of Cinematic Arts has been rejected by the university, it said today. That news comes amid a swirling scandal surrounding a pair of bombshell exposes last week in the New York Times and today in the New Yorker that allege decades of sexual harassment by the Oscar-winning movie mogul.
Both reports featured on-the-record sources recounting similar experiences with the former Miramax and The Weinstein Company founder. When the first of those reports, by the New York Times, surfaced Thursday, Weinstein cited the USC pledge to cap his response to the allegations:
One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year. It will be named after my mom and I won’t disappoint her.
Earlier in the day, a Change.org petition launched by a USC student asked the university to reject Weinstein’s pledge. Later in the day, as the petition neared 300 signatures, USC sent out a statement rejecting the pledge: “The USC School of Cinematic Arts will not proceed with Mr. Weinstein’s pledge to fund a $5M endowment for women filmmakers.”
“I am very pleased and very surprised. It happened so quickly,” said Tiana Lowe, the senior behind the petition. “I published the petition at 10 AM. I hope that helped them make up their minds.”
Weinstein was fired by TWC on Sunday.