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Harvey Weinstein brother says company ‘business is continuing as usual’ amid Hollywood sex assault scandal

By MARK KENNEDY, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The chorus of Hollywood stars denouncing film producer Harvey Weinstein echoed across the Atlantic on Friday, even as his brother said the embattled production company that bears both their names insisted business was “continuing as usual.”

Bob Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Co. issued a statement saying the company wasn’t shutting down or exploring a sale following allegations that co-founder Weinstein sexually harassed or sexually assaulted dozens of women. The statement mentioned a slate of three upcoming films — Polaroid, Paddington 2 and War with Grandpa — and said: “Business is continuing as usual as the company move ahead.”

The public pressure increased on the one-time movie mogul, with Oscar-winners and former Weinstein colleagues Emma Thompson and Quentin Tarantino airing their displeasure, and more actresses coming forward to describe harrowing hotel encounters with movie mogul.

“I don’t think you can describe him as a sex addict — he’s a predator. There’s a difference,” Thompson, who starred in the Weinstein produced film Brideshead Revisited, said on BBC Two’s Newsnight. ”What he’s at the top of the ladder of is a system of harassment and belittling and bullying and interference.”

Some 30 women — including actresses Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow — have spoken out recently to say Weinstein had sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them. Weinstein was fired Sunday by The Weinstein Co., a studio he co-founded with his brother. Harvey Weinstein has denied any nonconsensual sexual conduct with any women.

Thompson said she had only “business contact” with Weinstein but recalled his “bullying behavior.” The actress said there are “many” men in Hollywood in the Weinstein vein and asked: “Does it only count if you really have done it to loads and loads and loads of women or does it count if you do it to one woman, once? I think the latter.”

Tarantino said he was “stunned and heartbroken” about the allegations, but needed time to wrap his head around it. In a brief statement via Twitter relayed by Amber Tamblyn, Tarantino, whose films Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and The Hateful Eight were produced by Weinstein, says he will address the issue soon.

“For the last week I’ve been stunned and heartbroken about the revelations that have come to light about my friend for 25 years Harvey Weinstein. I need a few more days to process my pain, emotions, anger and memory and then I will speak publicly about it.”

More actresses took to social media to describe uncomfortable past meetings Weinstein had requested with them in hotels.

Minka Kelly said on Instagram on Friday that after meeting Weinstein at an industry party, he invited her to his hotel room. Uncomfortable with that, they instead met at a hotel restaurant, joined by an assistant who left shortly afterward.

Kelly said Weinstein suggested he’d give her “a lavish life filled with trips around the world on private planes” if she agreed to be his girlfriend. She declined, saying she wanted to keep things professional, and excused herself. He allegedly responded: “I trust you won’t tell anyone about this.”

Kelly, who had a role in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which was produced by Weinstein’s company, said she spoke out to add her voice to those demanding such abuses end.

“I’m sorry for obliging his orders to be complicit in protecting his behavior, which he obviously knew was wrong or he wouldn’t have asked me not to tell anyone in the first place,” she wrote.

Claire Forlani, who starred in “Meet Joe Black,” said she also felt regret for not speaking up sooner about multiple meetings in her 20s with Weinstein, a man she recalled requested massages and whom she called in a tweeted statement a “master manipulator.”

“I had two Peninsula Hotel meetings in the evening with Harvey and all I remember was I ducked, dived and ultimately got out of there without getting slobbered over, well just a bit,” she wrote. He bragged about the actresses he had slept with “and what he had done for them.”

Social media remained a flashpoint. Rose McGowan, one accuser who has heavily relied on Twitter, was locked out of her account over what the company said were violations of its terms of service, prompting a protest movement using the hashtag WomenBoycottTwitter.

In response, Twitter issued a statement, saying it was “proud to empower and support the voices on our platform, especially those that speak truth to power. We stand with the brave women and men who use Twitter to share their stories, and will work hard every day to improve our processes to protect those voices.”
Pushback against Weinstein and his company also came after Showtime said it will not move forward with an Oliver Stone drama in development, Guantanamo, unless The Weinstein Co. was removed as a producer.
The drama about detainees at Guantanamo Bay had not yet been approved for a series and scripts are currently being written. Showtime was a partner with The Weinstein Co. in the project but the network said Friday “we do not intend to move forward with the current configuration of the project and are exploring our options.”

Robert De Niro, Julianne Moore and director David O. Russell said late Friday that they had agreed to scrap an untitled Amazon Studios series that was being produced by The Weinstein Co. The move came one day after Amazon Studios suspended its chief, Roy Price, after a producer on another series publicly accused him of making crude comments directed at her.

 

[Feature photo: Associated Press]