The fall from grace for one of Hollywood’s most powerful executives was much more quick than many likely anticipated only a few days ago. Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced cofounder and CEO of The Weinstein Company, was fired, the company’s board of directors said in a statement Sunday. The move caps a weekend in which Weinstein was fighting for survival as more and more allegations of sexual abuse emerged following an explosive New York Times story that detailed how the powerful film executive sexually harassed a series of women throughout the years.
Following the report, Weinstein suddenly found that “few in Hollywood want to be on his side,” the Los Angeles Times wrote earlier Sunday. After the New York Times story was published it was notable that no one publicly came to his defense and many big names in Hollywood expressed support to Weinstein’s accusers. That trend only continued as new allegations started coming out over the weekend. In one of the most detailed and troubling reports, TV journalist Lauren Sivan said Weinstein once masturbated in front of her until he ejaculated.
He wasn’t just abandoned in Hollywood. Many prominent Democrats in Washington also started to distance themselves from Weinstein and several said they would give his political donations to charity. And as more allegations saw the light of day many of his allies abandoned him, including his attorney Lisa Bloom and one-third of the Weinstein Company’s all-male board.
The Weinstein Company’s board didn’t mince words and made it clear Weinstein was fired. “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,” read the statement.
Despite the strongly worded statement though, it seems the company’s board decided to fire Weinstein only after he refused to step down. Deadline’s Mike Fleming explains why the board likely felt it had no other choice:
Amidst volatile exchanges, 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.