The UK’s Edenbridge Bonfire Society each year chooses what it refers to as “a celebrity guy” to send up in flames in celebration of Guy Fawkes Night. Last year’s effigy was Donald Trump. This year, it’s Harvey Weinstein.
The town in Kent unveiled an 11-meter-tall likeness of the disgraced producer this week (see above), which will be burned Saturday during its annual bonfire. The event, which comes a day ahead of the actual Guy Fawkes Night, raises money for local charities.
Weinstein, who is being investigated by multiple law enforcement agencies in the U.S., also is the subject of an investigation by London police on allegations of sexual assault lodged by seven women.
A spokesperson for the Edenbridge Bonfire Society said: “As with last year, there were many strong contenders for this year’s celebrity guy, particularly in the political and cultural world. However, Weinstein was the obvious option due to allegations of outrageous and despicable conduct, which we at Edenbridge Bonfire Society obviously found completely abhorrent.”
The spokesperson added, “While the burning of the guys is aimed as a light-hearted way to mark the traditional bonfire night celebrations in the UK, there is of course nothing funny about Weinstein’s behavior, so it seemed only fair that he gets his comeuppance in effigy form.”
The history of Guy Fawkes Night goes back to 1605, when British radical Fawkes and a group of provincial English Catholics attempted to blow up the House of Lords and kill King James I in order to help restore a Catholic to the crown. The plot was foiled on November 5 when authorities at Westminster Palace found Fawkes guarding the explosives. Celebrating the fact that the King had survived, people lit bonfires around London. To this day, Brits celebrate Guy Fawkes Night every year with fireworks displays and the burning of his effigy on a bonfire.
Weinstein joins other celebrities to have been targets for Edenbridge including Russell Brand, Lance Armstrong, FIFA chief Sepp Blatter, soccer star Wayne Rooney, politician Gordon Brown and Saddam Hussein.
The BBC says more than 10,000 people are expected to attend the event, with families visiting from London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.