Harvey Weinstein’s company on Sunday said it will file for bankruptcy following the collapse of a $500 million deal to sell its assets to a group of investors led by Maria Contreras-Sweet.
If the deal had gone through, the Weinstein Company would have been renamed and operated by a board of mostly women. The bidders had promised to raise a minimum of $40 million to compensate Weinstein’s victims.
Talks were abandoned two weeks ago when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Weinstein Company. Schneiderman criticized the proposed deal and questioned whether Weinstein’s victims would see any of the promised funds.
“While we recognize that this is an extremely unfortunate outcome for our employees, our creditors, and any victims, the Board has no choice but to pursue its only viable option to maximize the Company’s remaining value: an orderly bankruptcy process,” wrote the company in an email.
Roughly 130 employees remain at the Weinstein Company, which has been searching for a way to avoid bankruptcy as the lawsuits continue to pile up.
The allegations against Weinstein began last October, with more than 50 women claiming he sexually harassed or assaulted them. Three women accused him of rape. Weinstein acknowledged causing “a lot of pain,” but rejected the accusations of harassment and rape.
The film mogul was fired by his own company on October 8th, just three days after the story broke. His wife announced she was leaving him on October 10th.
Later that month, Weinstein was expelled from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the organization that puts on the Oscars) and the Producers Guild of America.
Harvard University withdrew a medal awarded to Weinstein in 2014 and the British Film Institute stripped him of the BFI Fellowship it awarded him in 2002. The BBC announced in mid-December it would be making a “definitive documentary” about the Weinstein scandal.
Despite numerous lawsuits and an investigation by the New York Police Department, Weinstein was never charged with a crime.
Author’s Note: The failure to charge Weinstein represents a missed opportunity to change Hollywood’s culture of sexual abuse. By allowing him to walk free, they were in effect supporting other men who are doing the same thing: taking advantage of women looking to advance their careers.
Stripping Weinstein of his prestige, awards, reputation, and money will do nothing to help past and future victims of sexual abuse at this point. The damage was being done for more than 30 years.