Former Berlin Film Festival Director Defends Harvey Weinstein From ‘Lynch Mob’: ‘Simply Disgusting’

Moritz De Hadeln ran the Berlin Film Festival for more than 20 years before leaving in 2001

Harvey Weinstein

Former Berlin Film Festival director Moritz de Hadeln has issued a defense of Harvey Weinstein, praising the disgraced Hollywood mogul for his “professional achievements” and noting that he has not been convicted of any crime.

“The lynch mob he is now experiencing is simply disgusting,” de Hadeln wrote in an op-ed titled “Weinstein’s Genius” in German for the Swiss paper Die Weltwoche.

De Hadeln, who ran the Berlin Film Festival for more than 20 years before leaving in 2001, pointed to the infamous Le Monde letter written by French women including Catherine Deneuve that called the #MeToo movement “puritanical” and a “witch hunt.”

“Weinstein’s private life was influenced by the environment in which they worked,” wrote de Hadeln, who also ran the Venice Film Festival for two years. “You cannot justify everything, but you cannot completely hide it. Film is an art that evokes the emotions of the audience. It sometimes demands everything from the actors, sometimes also expressing eroticism in front of the camera. And then the public demands that in private life they should resist any temptation and be icons of puritanism. That is simply hypocritical.”

De Hadeln also noted that Weinstein — who has been accused by dozens of women of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment and assault — “has not yet been convicted by a court of law for the crimes that numerous women accuse him of, the people’s voice denies him the right not to be guilty.”

De Hadeln argued that Weinstein’s contributions to cinema should prevent people from rushing to judgment before courts have weighed in.

“At the risk of recharging the wrath of some feminists: I wish they could do a more balanced job with Harvey Weinstein, whose professional achievements are undeniable,” he said. “When there are criminal offenses, the judiciary must intervene, but producers, associations, institutions and media should not presume to replace the judiciary.”

Weinstein, who was fired by the board of The Weinstein Company last October, has denied all allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

The New York Police Department has also launched an investigation into Weinstein, as well as police in Los Angeles and London. L.A. and Beverly Hills police have sent five cases to the Los Angeles County District Attorney for review.