Harvey Weinstein will take an “indefinite” leave of absence from the Weinstein Company, the board announced Friday afternoon.
The board has also retained John Kiernan, of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, to conduct an independent investigation of sex harassment allegations following the New York Times’ bombshell report on Thursday.
“We strongly endorse Harvey Weinstein’s already-announced decision to take an indefinite leave of absence from the Company, commencing today,” the board said in a statement. “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.”
Co-chairman Bob Weinstein and COO David Glasser will run the company in Weinstein’s absence.
Harvey Weinstein in recent years
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 is not going down without a fight. In a lengthy board meeting on Thursday, he made it clear that he intends to return. The board meeting got heated, as board members pushed back and argued for a full and independent investigation.
The conflict has proved to be too much for three board members, all of whom resigned on Friday.
Tim Sarnoff, deputy CEO of Technicolor, tendered his resignation soon after returning from a trip to Europe on Friday. “He could not dedicate the time necessary to be an effective board member,” a Technicolor official said.
Variety has confirmed that that billionaire investors Marc Lasry and Dirk Ziff also resigned from the board. Board member Paul Tudor Jones did not sign the board statement issued Friday afternoon. His status remains uncertain.
An insider says that the board members did not sign up for a messy internal battle, and opted to get out now rather than deal with such an ordeal.
The full statement:
“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 yesterday’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.
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