Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein may have been disgraced. He’ll never be able to show his face in Hollywood — or many other locales, for that matter — ever again. Most people will remember him simply as a rapacious ghoul who should have been thrown in the hoosegow long ago. However, at the very least, he’s thus far managed to avoid spending much time inside of a courtroom.
That’s could be about to change — at least for the studio that bears his name.
The New York Times reported Sunday that the sale of The Weinstein Company has hit a serious snag, as New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has “filed a lawsuit against the studio and its fraternal founders alleging that they repeatedly violated state and city laws barring gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and coercion.”
The lawsuit was filed electronically in a Manhattan court this weekend, apparently to prevent a sale of the company to a group of investors for $275 million.
“If financiers get spooked, Mr. Schneiderman’s move could ultimately kill the proposed deal, putting the Weinstein Company on an almost certain path to bankruptcy,” The Times reported.
The Times also noted that “the final-stage talks came to a screeching halt on Sunday afternoon, according to the two people briefed on the process, as the investor group received word that Mr. Schneiderman was about to file a lawsuit based on an ongoing four-month investigation into the Weinstein Company’s internal dealings.”
“Any sale of the Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
The Weinstein Company has been bleeding money since The Times became the first major publication to go on the record with concrete accusations against the Hollywood mogul back in October of 2017.
However, rumors about Weinstein’s behavior had been floating around the entertainment world for decades, with innuendoes appearing everywhere from blind gossip columns to Oscar nomination ceremonies, all while being mostly ignored by the mainstream media.
Ever since the first Times piece, dozens of accusers came out accusing Weinstein of inappropriate — if not illegal — behavior. Meanwhile, the Weinstein Co. has continued to fight bankruptcy.
While it’s worth noting that Schneiderman is known for using high-profile legal cases for political posturing (a series of actions against Donald Trump, including a rumor that he’s been working with special counsel Robert Mueller to press state charges against Paul Manafort to eliminate the possibility of a presidential pardon, is fairly illustrative), this isn’t exactly baseless “Bonfire of the Vanities”-level legal preening here.
That’s because it’s difficult to believe the only person at the Weinstein Co. who knew Harvey Weinstein was a serial degenerate was Harvey Weinstein. In fact, it’s hardly a matter of belief; Harvey’s contract with the Weinstein Co. specifically accounted for his reprehensible behavior.
As Deroy Murdock noted it at National Review, “Weinstein’s employment contract permitted him to engage in sexual harassment, get sued for it, and have the Weinstein Company pay judgments to his victims. Beyond that, he could keep his job, provided that he reimbursed the studio for these penalties and then paid fines internally to the company, based on a predictable and graduated scale for each harassment offense.”
When you’re codifying a pay scale for increasingly escalating sexual harassment offenses in an employment contract, there’s a serious problem. And it’s not just with the employee being contracted.
As for the schlubby roué himself, Weinstein is, at last report, still nursing his wounds in the Arizona desert. (Astute readers may recall that he entered “sex rehab” there, checked out after a week, and then checked back in after a predictable hue and cry.)
It remains to be seen whether or not Weinstein will appear in connection the lawsuit, should it ever go to court, or whether he’ll face criminal charges for any of his alleged offenses. However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the laundry list of problems for Hollywood’s most infamous reprobate aren’t going away anytime soon.
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