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Hollywood Academy Ousts Harvey Weinstein Over Sex Abuse Allegations

  • VOA News

FILE - Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Oscars, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, has ruled it will expel the powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein over allegations of sexual abuse.

The 54-member Board of Governors met Saturday to discuss the allegations and voted overwhelmingly to “immediately expel” the mogul famous for his ability to push small, well-made pictures into the Oscars race.

In a statement, the board said the decision to oust Weinstein was “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority.” It also said the expulsion was made “to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.”

It called the allegations that Weinstein traded professional favors for sexual ones “a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society.”

WATCH: Observers Looking to Hollywood to Take Lead on Sexual Harassment

Allegations

Weinstein’s expulsion comes after allegations emerged that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted a number of women over the past three decades.

Earlier this week, the British film academy said Weinstein’s membership in the organization had been “suspended, effective immediately.”

Weinstein was fired Monday by the board of his production company, the Weinstein Co., following an explosive New York Times report just days earlier, in which 13 women accused him of sexually harassing or assaulting them.

On Wednesday, French actress Lea Seydoux and model and actress Cara Delevingne joined the fast-growing list of Weinstein accusers.

Meanwhile, celebrity news website TMZ reported that Weinstein’s daughter called 911 Wednesday morning to say her dad was suicidal.

When officers responded to the call, Weinstein’s daughter Remy, told them no suicidal statements were made, and it was purely a family dispute. TMZ also reports Weinstein planned to leave the country for a rehab center sometime later that day.

New Yorker interview

On Tuesday, another report from The New Yorker emerged, in which three women accused Weinstein of raping them. Actresses Asia Argento and Lucia Evans went on the record in The New Yorker story to accuse Weinstein of raping them, while another woman chose to remain anonymous.

Among the accusers are some of Hollywood’s top stars, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosanna Arquette.

FILE - This combination photo shows actresses Angelina Jolie at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10, 2017, left, and Gwyneth Paltrow in Los Angeles on Oct. 29, 2015.
FILE - This combination photo shows actresses Angelina Jolie at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10, 2017, left, and Gwyneth Paltrow in Los Angeles on Oct. 29, 2015.

The New Yorker story said 16 current and former employees at The Weinstein Co. and Miramax, which Weinstein co-founded with his brother Bob, either witnessed or knew of Weinstein’s sexual abuse. According to the report, all of those employees said Weinstein’s sexual deviancy was widely known within the two companies.

The 65-year-old Weinstein oversaw production of many popular films over the past 30 years, including Shakespeare in Love, Pulp Fiction, Sex, Lies and Videotape, The English Patient, Good Will Hunting and The Butler. He ran Miramax and later the Weinstein movie companies with Bob Weinstein.

Weinstein’s fall came quickly after the Times report Oct. 5 of his unwanted sexual advances that stretched over nearly 30 years. The story said Weinstein, who is known in Hollywood for his demanding control of film productions and angry outbursts, had paid confidential settlements to his female accusers.

In a statement last week, Weinstein said, “The way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.” Later, he claimed some of the newspaper’s claims were false and said he would sue for defamation.

FILE - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks in Baltimore, June 5, 2017.
FILE - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks in Baltimore, June 5, 2017.

Politics

Weinstein has been a big donor in recent years to Democratic politicians in the U.S., including twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. But with the sexual harassment revelations, Democratic political figures scrambled over the weekend to distance themselves from the disgraced filmmaker.

Several Democrat politicians, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Elizabeth Warren, have promised to donate money they received from Weinstein to charities supporting women.

Clinton broke her silence on the matter earlier this week, saying she was “shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein.” She addedin a statement, “The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated.”

“Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status,” former President Barack Obama said in a statement Tuesday. “We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories.”

President Donald Trump said over the weekend he’s “known Harvey Weinstein for a long time” and he is “not at all surprised” by the sexual abuse allegations.

Matt Damon’s first film, Good Will Hunting, won him his first Oscar after Weinstein took a chance on a script from Damon and fellow unknown, Ben Affleck.

“We know this stuff goes on in the world. I did five or six movies with Harvey. I never saw this,” Damon told CNN’s Deadline in an interview published Tuesday.

He added later in the interview: “This morning, I just feel absolutely sick to my stomach.”

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