Harvey Weinstein born March 19, 1952 is an American former film producer. He and his brother Bob Weinstein co-founded the entertainment company Miramax, which produced several successful independent films, including Sex, Lies, and Videotape 1989, The Crying Game 1992, Pulp Fiction 1994, Heavenly Creatures 1994, Flirting with Disaster 1996, and Shakespeare in Love 1998. Weinstein won an Academy Award for producing Shakespeare in Love, and garnered seven Tony Awards for a variety of plays and musicals, including The Producers, Billy Elliot the Musical, and August: Osage County. After leaving Miramax, Weinstein and his brother Bob founded The Weinstein Company, a mini-major film studio. He was co-chairman, alongside Bob, from 2005 to 2017.
In October 2017, following sexual abuse allegations against Weinstein, he was dismissed from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. By October 31, over 80 women had made allegations against Weinstein. The allegations sparked the “#MeToo” social media campaign and many similar sexual abuse allegations against and dismissals of powerful men around the world, called the “Weinstein effect.” On May 25, 2018, Weinstein was arrested in New York, charged with rape and other offenses, and released on bail.
Weinstein has been active on issues such as poverty, AIDS, juvenile diabetes, and multiple sclerosis research. He serves on the Board of the Robin Hood Foundation, a New York City-based non-profit that targets poverty, and co-chaired one of its annual benefits. He is critical of the lack of gun control laws and universal health care in the United States.
Weinstein is a longtime supporter and contributor to the Democratic Party including the campaigns of President Barack Obama and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry. He supported Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, and in 2012, he hosted an election fundraiser for Obama at his home in Westport, Connecticut.
Weinstein was active in the fashion industry. He produced Project Runway, the fashion reality show, making stars of designer Michael Kors, model Heidi Klum and editor Nina Garcia. He was instrumental in the revival of Halston, collaborating with Tamara Mellon, Sarah Jessica Parker and stylist Rachel Zoe. He licensed the option to revive the Charles James brand. Celebrities were asked to wear Marchesa his wife’s label at least once if they were in a Weinstein movie. His production companies were frequently involved in fashion-themed movies, including Madonna’s W.E., Robert Altman’s Prêt-à-Porter and Tom Ford’s A Single Man. Stars of Weinstein’s films appeared on more than a dozen Vogue covers.
In October 2017, The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that more than a dozen women accused Weinstein of sexually harassing, assaulting, or raping them. Many other women in the film industry subsequently reported similar experiences with Weinstein, who denied raping the women. As a result of these accusations, Weinstein was fired from his production company, suspended from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, resigned from the Directors Guild of America, his wife Georgina Chapman left him, and leading figures in politics whom he had supported denounced him. The Los Angeles Police Department opened a criminal investigation for alleged rape, and New York and London police are investigating other sexual assault allegations.
Ronan Farrow reported in The New Yorker that Weinstein hired British-Israeli private intelligence firm Black Cube in order to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against him. Using false identities, private investigators from Black Cube tracked and met journalists and actresses, in particular Rose McGowan, who accused Weinstein of rape. Weinstein had Black Cube and other agencies “target, or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories.”
The allegations precipitated a wave of “national reckoning” against sexual harassment and assault in the United States,known as the Weinstein effect. Compounded by other sexual harassment cases earlier in the year, the Weinstein reports and subsequent #MeToo hashtag campaign, which encouraged individuals to share their suppressed stories of sexual misconduct, created a cavalcade of allegations across multiple industries that brought about the swift ouster of many men in positions of power both in the United States and, as it spread, around the world.
On May 25, 2018, Weinstein was charged by New York police with “rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women”. On that day, he was arrested after surrendering to police.
Weinstein was later released after a million dollars of bail was posted on his behalf. He later surrendered his passport and was required to wear an ankle monitor, with travel being restricted to New York and Connecticut. His lawyer Benjamin Brafman said Weinstein would plead not guilty.
Weinstein has been married twice. In 1987, he married his assistant Eve Chilton; they divorced in 2004. They had three children: Remy(previously Lily born 1995, Emma born 1998, and Ruth born 2002. In 2007, he married English fashion designer and actress Georgina Chapman. They have a daughter, India Pearl (born 2010), and a son, Dashiell born 2013. On October 10, 2017, Chapman announced she was leaving Weinstein after the sexual harassment accusations.
Both Vanity Fair and The New York Post have announced the completion by the playwright and dramatist David Mamet of the play titled Bitter Wheat to deal principally with the Weinstein controversy concerning his arrest in 2018. As stated in The New York Post in May 2018: “The plan is to open Mamet’s new play in London… Sources say Mamet is wary of another run at Broadway unless his Weinstein play gets a good reception in England. He’s got a shot with Daniel Evans, the young director who’s in talks to do it”.