The Weinstein Company board of directors is conflicted over the fate of disgraced Co-CEO Harvey Weinstein, an individual close to crisis told TheWrap on Friday.
A late Thursday phone call with the board dissolved into chaos, the insider said, as allegations of sexual misconduct have forced board members to reevaluate Weinstein’s role.
Options on the table include Weinstein’s termination, an indefinite suspension or a six-month suspension. On Thursday, Weinstein announced he would take a leave of absence from TWC shortly after The New York Times reported that he had paid eight women over a 30-year period to cover up sexual misconduct. He apologized for his past behavior, but said the article contained many inaccuracies.
The board was divided over its options, the individual said, but seems united in a demand for a thorough investigation. Missing from the call was billionaire investor and board member Dirk Ziff, who resigned from the TWC board Friday.
A formal announcement regarding the investigation is expected sometime on Friday. A timeline for the Harvey decision is unknown.
A spokesperson for TWC had no comment on the outcome of the board’s deliberations.
The 12-year-old film and TV company is at least temporarily in the hands of Weinstein’s brother and co-CEO, Bob, and COO/President David Glasser, who first joined TWC in 2008.
According to an individual familiar with the situation, senior TWC executives including Harvey’s brother, Bob, were “floored” by many of the details in The New York Times story — including actress Ashley Judd’s claims that Harvey had sexually propositioned her two decades ago.
Judd told the Times that Weinstein asked to massage her in a hotel room and pressured her to watch him shower during a meeting two decades ago.
While many believed Weinstein strayed outside his marriages, the individual told TheWrap, senior executives were not aware of the many payoffs to make allegations of sexual harassment go away.
Weinstein’s lawyers also told the board there had been “eight to 12” settlements over the years and that Weinstein himself had made the payments, the insider said. The New York Times only cited eight payoffs, with women generally receiving between $80,000 and $150,000.
According to the individual, the new details that emerged in the Times piece did not sit well with the privately held company’s board, whose members include:
- Lance Maerov, SVP of corporate development at WPP Group USA
- Tim Sarnoff, Deputy CEO at Technicolor
- Marc Lasry, owner of Milwaukee Bucks and CEO of Avenue Capital Group
- Tarak Ben Ammar, owner of French distributor Quinta Communications
- Paul Tudor Jones, founder of The Tudor Group
The mogul himself was said to be very combative and resisting the charges despite making a public apology, and saying he wanted to sue the Times.
Harvey and Bob Weinstein co-founded the indie film company Miramax in 1979 and grew it into a powerhouse brand that made art-house films mainstream — and reshaped the Academy Awards race with aggressive marketing and buzz.
The company was bought by Disney in 1993, where the brothers continued to run the company — and dominate the Oscar race — until they left in 2005 to launch the new privately held The Weinstein Company. The brothers have a 44 percent stake in the firm, according to the Times.
Thom Geier contributed to this post.