The Weinstein Company board said Friday that it strongly endorses Harvey Weinstein’s decision to take an indefinite leave of absence while it investigates the sexual misconduct allegations against him. But it left open the possibility that he could return.
The decision stopped well short of the most severe potential option: removing him from the company that bears his name.
“We strongly endorse Harvey Weinstein’s already-announced decision to take an indefinite leave of absence from the Company, commencing today,” the statement said. “As Harvey has said, it is important for him to get professional help for the problems he has acknowledged. Next steps will depend on Harvey’s therapeutic progress, the outcome of the Board’s independent investigation, and Harvey’s own personal decisions.”
In the meantime, the Company will be under the leadership of its co-chairman, Bob Weinstein, and its chief operating officer David Glasser.
Weinstein is struggling in both public and private spaces, an individual close to the situation told TheWrap. He’s sincere in his public repentance but privately resigns to fight harassment accusations tooth and nail, said the insider. His inner circle is insisting on a lengthy treatment, while Harvey wants to “dictate the terms,” the person said.
The situation has also taken a toll on the board. Tim Sarnoff, deputy CEO of Technicolor, resigned Friday afternoon, according to an insider. He joined Dirk Ziff, who resigned Friday morning. Ziff did not attend an emergency meeting Thursday night. Sarnoff did, but did not sign the statement released Friday.
Another board member, Paul Tudor Jones, founder of the asset management company The Tudor Group, also did not sign the statement. He is expected to resign in the coming hours or days, an individual familiar with the matter said, and more may follow in his place.
Representatives for Sarnoff and Tudor Jones did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The board has retained a law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, to investigate the allegations made in Thursday’s bombshell New York Times story, in which numerous women, including Ashley Judd, accused the movie mogul of sexual harassment over several decades.
Here’s the full statement from the board:
The undersigned members of the Weinstein Company’s Board of Representatives, constituting a majority of the Board, make the following statement.
We take extremely seriously the accusations published in today’s New York Times about our Company’s co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. It is essential to our Company’s culture that all women who work for it or have any dealings with it or any of our executives are treated with respect and have no experience of harassment or discrimination.
We believe it is important to learn the full truth regarding the article’s very serious accusations, in the interests of the Company, its shareholders and its employees. To that end, we have retained an independent and leading lawyer and firm, John Kiernan of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, to undertake a thorough and independent investigation and report to the full Board on the results of that investigation. Working with Mr. Kiernan will be his partners Matthew Fishbein, former Chief Assistant United States Attorney for both the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and Helen Cantwell, former prosecutor in the Southern District of New York and the New York County District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Unit, who have extensive experience in these kinds of investigations. The investigating lawyers will be reporting to a special committee of the board composed exclusively of independent directors
We strongly endorse Harvey Weinstein’s already-announced decision to take an indefinite leave of absence from the Company, commencing today. As Harvey has said, it is important for him to get professional help for the problems he has acknowledged. Next steps will depend on Harvey’s therapeutic progress, the outcome of the Board’s independent investigation, and Harvey’s own personal decisions.
In the meantime, the Company is under the leadership of its Co-Chairman, Bob Weinstein, and its Chief Operating Officer, David Glasser, who plan to proceed with business in the ordinary course.
Tarak Ben Ammar