Harvey Weinstein pleads his case at explosive board meeting

While Harvey Weinstein told The New York Times that he is planning a leave of absence as co-chairman of The Weinstein Co. following the paper's exposé, the mogul doesn't want to be banished from his company permanently.

On Thursday, the Weinstein Co. board held an emergency meeting — a scream-filled session of infighting between members — in New York with Weinstein present. At the meeting, Weinstein's concern with taking a leave from the board and his role as co-chairman was that there were no assurances that he would be allowed in the future to return, a source tells The Hollywood Reporter.

A statement from The Weinstein Co. announcing a leave of absence for Weinstein and an internal investigation is said to be forthcoming as early as Friday, this source says. Under one of the proposals discussed, co-chairman Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein's brother, and TWC president/COO David Glasser would take over the company.

The board convened hours after the publication of an investigation in The New York Times detailing allegations of sexual harassment of actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, as well as former female assistants and TWC employees.

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Harvey Weinstein in recent years
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09: Film Producer Harvey Weinstein attends Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's 'The Current War' TIFF Premiere Party Hosted by Cactus Club Cafe And Johnnie Walker Black Label at First Canadian Place on September 9, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by GP Images/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Film producer Harvey Weinstein attends the premiere of 'House of Z' hosted by Brooks Brothers with The Cinema Society at Crosby Street Hotel on September 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 2: (L-R) Elizabeth Olsen, Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman attend The Weinstein Company with FIJI, Grey Goose, Lexus and NetJets host the after party for 'Wind River' at The Skylark on August 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 25: Harvey Weinstein (L) and Georgina Chapman attend the amfAR Gala Cannes 2017 at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 25, 2017 in Cap d'Antibes, France. (Photo by Dave Benett/amfAR2017/Dave Benett/WireImage for amfAR )
CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 25: Harvey Weinstein speaks on stage during the amfAR Gala Cannes 2017 at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 25, 2017 in Cap d'Antibes, France. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 11: Co-creator, Executive Producer & Actor Aziz Ansari, film producer Harvey Weinstein and VP of Original Series for Netflix Cindy Holland attend the Netflix Master Of None S2, Premiere NY Screening 2017 on May 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Netflix)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 09: Film producer Harvey Weinstein poses with writer Plum Sykes during her book launch celebration for 'Party Girls Die In Pearls' at Brooks Brothers on May 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 4: Harvey Weinstein speaks at International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children 2017 Gala for Child Protection at Gotham Hall on May 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Owen Hoffmann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NY - APRIL 30: (Exclusive Coverage) Harvey Weinstein attends 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge celebrates 25th Anniversary of 'Reservoir Dogs' with private party for Harvey Weinstein and Quentin Tarantino at 1 Hotel on April 30, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for 1 Hotel)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: Film Producer Harvey Weinstein attends 'Reservoir Dogs' 25th Anniversary Screening during 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at The Beacon Theatre on April 28, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: Harvey Weinstein attends the 2017 National Geographic FURTHER FRONT at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: (L-R) Harvey Weinstein, Don Lemon, and Dan Abrams attend The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media 2017 at The Pool on April 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Harvey Weinstein and Blake Lively attend 2017 Time 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TIME)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04: Harvey Weinstein is seen on April 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Harvey Weinstein, and Jay Z speak onstage during TIME AND PUNISHMENT: A Town Hall Discussion with JAY Z and Harvey Weinstein on Spike TV at MTV Studios on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Spike)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Producer Harvey Weinstein (L) and designer Georgina Chapman arrive at the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 25: (L-R) Actor Dev Patel, producer Harvey Weinstein and actress Priyanka Bose attend The Weinstein Company's Pre-Oscar Dinner in partnership with Bvlgari and Grey Goose at Montage Beverly Hills on February 25, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson (L) and Producer Harvey Weinstein attend a dinner to celebrate The GCC and The Journey To Sustainable Luxury on February 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/ Getty Images for Eco-Age)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 15: Mandy Moore, Harvey Weinstein and Anna Wintour attend the Marchesa Fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Skylight Clarkson Sq on February 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Kat Florence (L) and Harvey Weinstein attend as The Weinstein Company, Entertainment Film Distributors and STUDIOCANAL celebrate the 2017 BAFTA after party in partnership with Ben Sherman, Kat Florence, and Grey Goose at Rosewood London on February 12, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09: Harvey Weinstein attends the Power of Film and Moving Images symposium at The Royal Institution on February 9, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
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Weinstein's quick action to step aside is intended, at least in part, to appease filmmakers, agents and producers who do business with TWC. But the stunning turn of events puts the fate of the company in doubt, since Harvey Weinstein — however polarizing — has been its figurehead, while Bob Weinstein has taken a lower profile.

Glasser has long been Harvey Weinstein’s No. 2, playing a key role in dealmaking and running all aspects of the company, including helping to guide the film slate.

In addition to Harvey and Bob Weinstein, the TWC board include Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, financier Tarak Ben Ammar and hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, as well as Richard Koenigsberg, Lance Maerov, Tim Sarnoff and Dirk Ziff. The board members are said to have challenged Harvey Weinstein directly, and the mogul fired back that he will survive the scandal. 

Earlier on Thursday, Weinstein's lawyer Charles Harder announced that he would be taking legal action against the Times, writing in an email: "The New York Times published today a story that is saturated withand defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein. It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by nine different eyewitnesses." Lisa Bloom, famous for working with victims of sexual assault and harassment, is also representing Weinstein. 

The Weinstein brothers launched TWC in 2005 after leaving Miramax in an acrimonious split with Disney. Miramax, launched in 1979, was unparalleled in its success during the 1980s and 1990s, turning out such hits as Clerks, Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting and Shakespeare in Love and scoring numerous Oscar nominations and best picture wins for films such as The English Patient and Chicago.

TWC has likewise enjoyed success. The King's Speech (2010), one of the top-grossing independent films of all time, won the Oscar for best picture and was followed a year later by a best-picture win for The Artist. However, TWC has largely struggled in film the past two years while attempting to build its television business. 

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