Harvey Weinstein is a prolific filmmaker. Over the course of his career, he’s produced or executive produced over 100 movies, winning multiple Academy Awards and betting both himself and his investors millions of dollars. He’s been personally awarded the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to British filmmaking, as well as made a knight of the French Legion of Honour in recognition of his work on foreign films.
His activism in AIDS, juvenile diabetes, and multiple sclerosis research, as well as a vocal support of gun control laws and universal healthcare, are lauded by liberals and Democrats across America.
However, recent allegations by dozens of women, including high profile actresses that have worked on his films, revealed a side to Weinstein that has been a dark secret in Hollywood for decades. The cheerful film buff and liberal activist facade have hidden a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and only now has the disguise been ripped off to reveal the predator within.
Here are the dark secrets Hollywood doesn’t want you to know about Harvey Weinstein.
5. He Assaults Women
On Oct. 5, 2017, The New York Times ran an exposé that revealed Weinstein had been paying off women who accused him of sexual assault for decades. Following that article, another piece by The New Yorker was published that alleged Weinstein had assaulted 13 women and sexually assaulted three of them. Prominent actresses like Kate Beckinsale, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Rose McGowan all came forward with their own harrowing tales of assault at Weinstein’s hand.
It had been an open secret in Hollywood that Weinstein used his power as a studio executive to extract sexual gratification from actresses, willingly or otherwise, but it’s only recently been revealed that his behavior was well known enough to have specific clauses written into his employment contract with The Weinstein Company. If Weinstein “treated someone improperly in violation of the company’s Code of Conduct,” the contract began, he would reimburse TWC “damages of $250,000 for the first such instance, $500,000 for the second such instance, $750,000 for the third such instance, and $1,000,000 for each additional instance.”
Since the scandal broke, Weinstein has been fired from the board of the company be began with his brother Bob, as well as having his membership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revoked.
4. He Loves Being In Charge
Even if you’re not a woman, working with Weinstein was never a walk in the park. He’s notorious for requiring any film he produces to conform to his own personal vision of what the film should be. When he acquired the rights to distribute several foreign films, including Shaolin Soccer, Hero, and Princess Mononoke, he tried to heavily edit all three films to the point where the original directors had to threaten him just to get him to stop.
Hayao Miyazaki, director of Princess Mononoke, sent him a very special message on editing. He mailed a katana to Weinstein’s home with a small note attached that read simply, “No cuts”. Weinstein got the message and released the film as is.
3. He’s Got a Legendary Temper
Weinstein is also well known in Hollywood for having a temper that can get away from him at times that would cause loud and obnoxious public outbursts. At one point, he put a New York Observer reporter in a headlock before tossing him out of a party. He also blasted award-winning theatre and film director Julie Taymor following a test screening of her movie Frida, screaming “you are the most arrogant person I have ever met,” before turning to her partner, film composer Elliot Goldenthal, and bellowing, “I don’t like the look on your face. Why don’t you defend your wife, so I can beat the s— out of you?”
His reputation for having a temper eventually got him sent to anger management classes by his head of production. He’d later be diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes and would blame his fits of rage on spiking blood sugar levels.
2. He’s A Bully
A man who always has to be in charge and has a temper is a prime candidate to be called a bully. Perhaps the best example of this is the movie The Reader, a German drama that Miramax acquired the rights to release in the US. Weinstein desperately wanted to release the film in 2008, however, producers Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack wanted to delay the release to early 2009. The catch was Minghella died in March 2008 while Pollack was dying of cancer. Weinstein would continue to harass Pollack while he was on his deathbed until Pollack’s family intervened.
The Reader released in December 2008 after Pollack had passed away.
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1. He Defended Roman Polanski
In 1977, Roman Polanski, a French-Polish film director and producer, was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. As part of a plea bargain, he was sentenced to probation, but as further details of the incident came to light the judge reneged on the deal and was about to sentence Polanski to 50 years in prison. He then promptly fled the United States to France, where there was no extradition treaty.
Polanski was eventually arrested while visiting Switzerland in 2009, however, the arrest stirred controversy in the US due to the judge’s reversal on the plea deal. Harvey Weinstein publicly voiced opposition to efforts to extradite Polanski to the US, saying, “We’re calling on every film-maker we can to help fix this terrible situation.”
While he later clarified that his position was against the judge for his poor handling of Polanski’s case, nobody denies that Polanski sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl.
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