Hollywood seems to be turning its back on Harvey Weinstein in the wake of a New York Times report indicating that the movie mogul sexually harassed women for decades.
Not only was Weinstein fired from his namesake corporation, the Weinstein Company, on Sunday, he also reportedly asked a host of fellow film executives to help him keep his job — to no avail.
“My board is thinking of firing me,” Weinstein wrote in a letter to several executives at various film companies and obtained by the Hollywood Reporter. “All I’m asking is let me take a leave of absence and get into heavy therapy and counseling. Whether it be in a facility or somewhere else, allow me to resurrect myself with a second chance. A lot of the allegations are false as you know, but given therapy and counseling as other people have done, I think I’d be able to get there.”
Janice Min, a part owner of the Hollywood Reporter, tweeted that people who received the email — including NBC Universal vice chairman Ron Meyer, Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav, and former Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg — felt little sympathy for Weinstein.
Outside of his private plea, it’s clear Weinstein is losing supporters, and fast. Over the weekend, Lisa Bloom resigned as his head spokesperson, and the Weinstein Company reportedly allowed principals on several projects produced by Weinstein to remove his name from the credits. Dozens of actors, including Susan Sarandon, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Meryl Streep, and Judi Dench — who said in 2011 that she had a tattoo in Weinstein’s honor on her rear — also issued statements on Monday condemning Weinstein’s alleged actions and celebrating the women who came forward.
“One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew,” Streep said. “I didn’t know about these other offenses: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues; I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts … The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar. Each brave voice that is raised, heard, and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game.”
While Streep might not have known, Weinstein’s alleged improprieties were long an open secret in the industry and in the media world. Dozens of reporters say they chased the story to no avail, sometimes in the face of intense pressure from Weinstein’s camp. The Wrap’s Sharon Waxman said Sunday that when she reported on claims of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct as a reporter at the Times in 2004, she received calls from Russell Crowe and Matt Damon that resulted in the story being “stripped of any reference to sexual favors or coercion.”
It’s a remarkable turnaround for Hollywood, which has, in the past, been somewhat more forgiving of sexual predators: Woody Allen, for example, remains a popular and in-demand filmmaker, despite on-the-record allegations that he sexually molested his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. And in 2009, more than 100 filmmakers and actors signed a petition asking for Roman Polanski, who pled guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old in 1977 and subsequently fled the United States, to be released by Swiss police. The petition, according to IndieWire, described the case as “a case of morals.”