Harvey Weinstein on Indefinite Leave of Absence from Weinstein Co. Following Alleged Sexual Harassment Claims
By Liz Calvario
Harvey Weinstein will take an indefinite leave of absence from his company followed by an independent investigation, the board of directors of The Weinstein Co. announced on Friday in a statement obtained by ET.
The news comes after TheNew York Timespublished a report on Thursday alleging that the high-powered studio mogul has reached eight settlements with women over sexual harassment claims from 1990 - 2015.
The board stated that they have hired an independent law firm to investigate the claims and support Weinstein's decision to take a leave of absence from the company.
"The undersigned members of the Weinstein Company’s Board of Representatives, constituting a majority of the Board, make the following statement.
We take extremely seriously the accusations published in today’s New York Times about our Company’s co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. 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.
We believe it is important to learn the full truth regarding the article’s very serious accusations, in the interests of the Company, its shareholders and its employees. To that end, we have retained an independent and leading lawyer and firm, John Kiernan of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, to undertake a thorough and independent investigation and report to the full Board on the results of that investigation. Working with Mr. Kiernan will be his partners Matthew Fishbein, former Chief Assistant United States Attorney for both the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and Helen Cantwell, former prosecutor in the Southern District of New York and the New York County District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Unit, who have extensive experience in these kinds of investigations. The investigating lawyers will be reporting to a special committee of the board composed exclusively of independent directors.
We strongly endorse Harvey Weinstein’s already-announced decision to take an indefinite leave of absence from the Company, commencing today. As Harvey has said, it is important for him to get professional help for the problems he has acknowledged. Next steps will depend on Harvey’s therapeutic progress, the outcome of the Board’s independent investigation, and Harvey’s own personal decisions.
In the meantime, the Company is under the leadership of its Co-Chairman, Bob Weinstein, and its Chief Operating Officer, David Glasser, who plan to proceed with business in the ordinary course."