Attorney Lisa Bloom is no longer advising embattled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein as he deals with the fallout of sexual harassment allegations that date back several years.
“I have resigned as an advisor to Harvey Weinstein,” Bloom tweeted Saturday. “My understanding is that Mr. Weinstein and his board are moving toward an agreement.”
Weinstein’s leave of absence from the production house he co-founded with his brother began on Friday, and the company announced the hiring of a team of lawyers to conduct an investigation into sexual harassment claims against the movie mogul outlined in a New York Times story.
Bloom’s work for Weinstein had drawn criticism in some quarters since her firm usually defends women in such cases.
According to the Times story, Weinstein has reached at least eight legal settlements with women over allegations of sexual harassment, with his accusers including actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan.
Weinstein, 65, issued a statement Thursday announcing his plans to take a leave of absence.
“I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed,” he said. “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”
The Weinstein Company board of directors issued a statement late Friday, saying the board members “strongly endorse” Weinstein’s leave of absence and take “extremely seriously the accusations” raised in the Times story.
“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,” the board said, according to a copy of the statement released by The Hollywood Reporter.
The company announced the hiring of attorney John Kiernan, along with his partners Matthew Fishbein, a former chief assistant U.S. attorney; and Helen Cantwell, a former federal and state prosecutor. The attorneys will “undertake a thorough and independent investigation and report to the full board on the results of that investigation,” according to the company.
Weinstein’s brother, Bob, and COO David Glasser will lead the company during Harvey Weinstein’s absence.
“As Harvey has said, it is important for him to get professional help for the problems he has acknowledged,” according to the company. “Next steps will depend on Harvey’s therapeutic progress, the outcome of the board’s independent investigation and Harvey’s own personal decisions.”
Meanwhile, organizers of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project’s annual Legacy Awards — the LGBTQ group’s gala fundraiser honoring entertainment industry figures who “made a profound and lasting impact on LGBT storytelling and the LGBT community” — announced The Weinstein Company would no longer be honored at the Oct. 22 ceremony.
Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob founded the Miramax film-production house in the late 1970s. The company produced hit films including “Pulp Fiction,” “The Thin Blue Line,” “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!,” “The Crying Game” and “Clerks.”
The brothers sold the company to Disney in 1993 but continued to run it until 2005, when they left to create The Weinstein Company. The studio’s credits include “The King’s Speech,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Butler” and “The Imitation Game.”
—City News Service