TV Academy to consider expelling Harvey Weinstein
LOS ANGELES — The Television Academy has voted to begin disciplinary proceedings against disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein.
The academy, which bestows the Emmy awards, said a hearing has been set for November to consider “action up to and including termination of academy membership.”
Weinstein, who recently has been accused of multiple acts of sexual harassment and assault spanning decades, has been fired from The Weinstein Co., a TV and movie film production company he co-founded with his brother Bob. He has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Producers Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
He is now facing criminal inquiries in three cities after an Italian actress told Los Angeles detectives the disgraced film mogul raped her in a hotel room in 2013.
Police confirmed Thursday they are looking into the woman’s allegations, and her attorney said he would give additional details about them at a news conference outside a downtown Los Angeles courthouse on Friday afternoon.
The unidentified woman is an Italian model and actress, according to an announcement of attorney David M. Ring’s press conference. In addition to talking to detectives, the woman and Ring spoke to the Los Angeles Times on Thursday, telling them Weinstein bullied his way into her hotel room, refused to leave and raped her.
Sallie Hofmeister, a representative for Weinstein, said in a statement that Weinstein “unequivocally denies allegations of non-consensual sex.”
The Los Angeles investigation comes after announcements last week by police in New York and London that they are taking a new look at allegations involving the Oscar-winner. New York police are taking a fresh look for complaints involving Weinstein and the department has encouraged anyone who may have information about abuses by the producer to contact the department. London police are investigating allegations of sexual assault against him made by two women.
On Friday, a former television and stage actress said Weinstein ruined her career ambition after he exposed himself to her during a meeting in 1989. Speaking at a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred, Heather Kerr said that after she arrived at his office, he told her to sit on the couch and kept saying she needed to be “good” if she wanted to succeed. He then pulled down his zipper and exposed himself.
Kerr says she backed away from him, left the room and hurried out of the building. After some theater work, she quit acting. “I felt so powerless,” she tearfully recalled. Her acting credits in the 1980s include the TV shows “The Facts of Life” and “Mama’s Family.”
More than 40 women have accused Weinstein, 65, of harassment or abuse. Actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Lupita Nyong’o have all accused Weinstein of harassment, while actresses Asia Argento and Rose McGowan have accused the film mogul of raping them.
Nyong’o accused Weinstein of several incidents of harassment in an op-ed piece published by The New York Times on Thursday, including a 2011 incident in which she said the mogul tried to give her a massage at his Connecticut home. She refused, instead giving the mogul a massage and leaving when he said he wanted to take off his pants, Nyong’o wrote.
Also on Thursday, a group of about 30 staffers for The Weinstein Company stated in a letter published online by The New Yorker that they didn’t know they were “working for a serial sexual predator.”
The employees say they knew of Weinstein’s “infamous temper” and that he could be “manipulative,” but didn’t know “that he used his power to systematically assault and silence women.”
“We know that in writing this we are in open breach of the non-disclosure agreements in our contracts,” the letter stated. “But our former boss is in open violation of his contract with us – the employees – to create a safe place for us to work.
Representatives for Weinstein and The Weinstein Company didn’t immediately return a request for comment on the letter Friday.
The stories of harassment and abuse dating back decades has led to the total downfall of a producer who once ruled Hollywood’s awards season with a string of contenders including “Shakespeare in Love,” for which he shared an Oscar, and films such as “The King’s Speech” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Since The New York Times published its initial expose on Oct. 5, honors conferred on Weinstein by Harvard University and the British Film Institute have been rescinded, and several Democratic lawmakers have donated political contributions they received from Weinstein to charity.