Maria Contreras-Sweet has issued her first public statement since The Weinstein Company announced plans to file for bankruptcy, saying the deal she hoped would mark a turning point in the history of the embattled studio is now dead.
“I was surprised to read in a publication a letter from The Weinstein Company representatives that they were terminating our negotiations to purchase the assets of TWC,” Contreras-Sweet said. “Based on our discussions, it was my understanding that we were close to signing the transaction documents in a couple of days. Regrettably, it appears that this transaction has now ended.”
The former administrator of the Small Business Administration said she envisioned creating a women-led company that would have retained the employees, assumed its liabilities and created a mediation process for victims of sexual harassment and assault. She said those efforts to “did not materialize as we had hoped.”
The announcement comes as some industry observers speculated that Sunday’s bankruptcy announcement was a ploy to accelerate the $500 million deal.
Here’s her full statement:
I was surprised to read in a publication a letter from The Weinstein Company (TWC) representatives that they were terminating our negotiations to purchase the assets of TWC. Based on our discussions, it was my understanding that we were close to signing the transaction documents in a couple of days. Regrettably, it appears that this transaction has now ended.
It is important for me to reiterate the values that have embodied this deal since day one. My initial offer letter dated November 4, 2017, clearly stated my intentions to build a company led by women, to retain the employees, to assume all liabilities and protect small businesses, to create a mediation process for victims and guarantee a litigation fund that would supplement existing insurance coverage. In addition, the cornerstone of our plan was to launch a company that represented the gold standard in governance and transparency.
Inspired by the #MeToo movement, I started down this path with a vision of providing a turning point for the company and, indeed, serve as an example for a cultural reversal in an industry anxious to shed a mantle of shame. While the contagion of sexual harassment has infested all industries, I’ve been heartened to see the highly influential entertainment industry become the North Star in this remedial movement. This powerful industry touches the hearts and minds of the global population.
Today, only 4% percent of venture capital goes to women. I do not believe that women have only 4% of the good ideas.
While our efforts did not materialize as we had hoped, I am grateful for my investors who saw the compelling value of a women-led board. As I have done in the past, in public and private life, I will continue to seek ways to encourage women to take control of their own future, including through business ownership.
I wish all the stakeholders the best possible outcome.