Film producer Harvey Weinstein ousted from Weinstein Co.

FILE - In this March 2, 2014 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Oscars in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein, the sharp-elbowed movie producer whose combative reign in Hollywood made him an Academy Awards regular, was terminated from The Weinstein Company on Sunday following an expose that detailed decades of sexual abuse allegations made against Weinstein by actresses and employees.

In a statement, the company’s board of directors announced his termination Sunday night, capping the swift downfall of one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers and expelling him from the company he co-created.

“In light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days, the directors of The Weinstein Company — Robert Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar — have determined, and have informed Harvey Weinstein, that his employment with The Weinstein Company is terminated, effective immediately,” the company’s board said in a statement on Sunday night.

Weinstein had previously voluntarily taken an indefinite leave of absence following the revelation of at least allegations of sexual harassment uncovered in an expose Thursday by The New York Times. The board on Friday endorsed that decision and announced an investigation into the allegations, saying it would determine the co-chairman’s future with the company.

But the Weinstein Co. board, which includes Weinstein’s brother, went further on Sunday, firing the executive who has always been its primary operator, public face and studio chief. Under his leadership, the Weinstein Co. has been a dominant force at the Oscars, including the rare feat of winning back-to-back best picture Academy Awards with “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.” In recent years, however, Weinstein’s status has diminished because of money shortages, disappointing box-office returns and executive departures.

An attorney for Weinstein didn’t immediately return messages Sunday.

A spokesperson for The Weinstein Co. declined to provide further details on Weinstein’s firing. Messages left for attorney John Keirnan of the firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, who had been appointed to lead an investigation, weren’t immediately returned Sunday.

Weinstein on Thursday issued a lengthy statement that acknowledged causing “a lot of pain.” He also asked for “a second chance.” But Weinstein and his lawyers also criticized The New York Times’ report in statements and interviews, and vowed an aggressive response.

“We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting,” said a New York Times spokesperson in a statement. “Mr. Weinstein was aware and able to respond to specific allegations in our story before publication. In fact, we published his response in full.”

The New York Times article chronicled allegations against Weinstein from film star Ashley Judd and former employees at both The Weinstein Co. and Weinstein’s former company, Miramax. Weinstein made his name with Miramax, the company he founded with his brother Bob in 1979. They sold it to Disney in 1993 for $60 million. The company was a fixture of the 1990s independent film movement, launching the careers of filmmakers Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith and Steven Soderbergh, and winning best picture with “Shakespeare in Love” and “The English Patient.”

The allegations triggered cascading chaos at the Weinstein Co. Numerous members of its all-male board have stepped down since Thursday. The prominent attorney Lisa Bloom, daughter of well-known Los Angeles women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, on Saturday withdrew from representing Weinstein, as did another adviser, Lanny Davis.

 

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