Biography of Harvey Weinstein
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|Born|| (1952-03-19) March 19, 1952 (age 69)|
New York City, U.S.
|Education||University at Buffalo|
|Occupation||Former film producer|
(m. 1987; div. 2004)
(m. 2007; div. 2018)
|Relatives||Bob Weinstein (brother)|
|Criminal status||Incarcerated at Wende Correctional Facility, #20-B-0584|
Awaiting a second trial in Los Angeles
|Criminal charge||Rape, criminal sex act, sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct|
|Penalty||23 years in prison|
Harvey Weinstein (/ˈwaɪnstiːn/; born March 19, 1952) is an American film producer and convicted sex offender. He and his brother Bob Weinstein co-founded the entertainment company Miramax, which produced successful independent films including Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), The Crying Game (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Heavenly Creatures (1994), Flirting with Disaster (1996), and Shakespeare in Love (1998). Weinstein won an Academy Award for producing Shakespeare in Love and seven Tony Awards for plays and musicals, including The Producers, Billy Elliot the Musical, and August: Osage County. After leaving Miramax, Weinstein and his brother Bob founded The Weinstein Company, a mini-major film studio. He was co-chairman, alongside Bob, from 2005 to 2017.
In October 2017, following sexual abuse allegations dating back to the late 1970s, Weinstein was dismissed from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. More than 80 women had made allegations against Weinstein by October 31. The allegations sparked the #MeToo social media campaign and many sexual abuse allegations against powerful men around the world; this phenomenon is referred to as the "Weinstein effect". Weinstein was arrested and charged with rape in New York in May 2018. He was found guilty of two of five felonies in February 2020, was sentenced to 23 years in prison, and is serving his sentence at Wende Correctional Facility. His earliest possible release date is November 9, 2039 when he would be 87 years old.
Weinstein was born on March 19, 1952, in the Flushing section of Queens, New York, to diamond cutter Max Weinstein (1924-1976) and his wife, Miriam (1926-2016) (née Postel). His family is Jewish, and his maternal grandparents had immigrated from Poland. He grew up with his younger brother, Bob, in a housing co-op named Electchester in New York City. He graduated from John Bowne High School and attended the State University of New York at Buffalo. Weinstein, his brother Bob, and Corky Burger independently produced rock concerts as Harvey & Corky Productions in Buffalo through most of the 1970s. Harvey & Corky Productions brought top acts to Buffalo, including Frank Sinatra, The Who, Jackson Browne, and the Rolling Stones. Weinstein's longtime friend, Jonathan A. Dandes, followed him to Buffalo; he has described Weinstein as "aggressive" and "consumed" in matters of business.
1970s: Early work and creation of Miramax
In the late 1970s, using profits from their concert promotion business, the brothers founded the independent film distribution company Miramax, named after their parents Miriam and Max. The company's first releases were primarily music-oriented concert films, such as Paul McCartney's Rockshow.
1980s: Success with arthouse and independent films
In the early 1980s, Miramax acquired the rights to two British films of benefit shows filmed for the human rights organization Amnesty International. Working closely with Martin Lewis, the producer of the original films, the Weinstein brothers edited the two films into one movie tailored for the American market. The resulting film was released as The Secret Policeman's Other Ball in May 1982, and it became Miramax's first hit. The movie raised considerable sums for Amnesty International and was credited by Amnesty with having helped to raise its profile in the United States.
The Weinsteins slowly built upon this success throughout the 1980s with arthouse films that achieved critical attention and modest commercial success. Harvey Weinstein and Miramax gained wider attention in 1988 with the release of Errol Morris' documentary The Thin Blue Line, which detailed the struggle of Randall Dale Adams, a wrongfully convicted inmate sentenced to death row. The publicity that soon surrounded the case resulted in Adams' release and nationwide publicity for Miramax. In 1989, their successful launch release of Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies, and Videotape propelled Miramax to become the most successful independent studio in America.
Weinstein at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival
Also in 1989, Miramax released two arthouse films, Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover and director Pedro Almodóvar's film Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, both of which the MPAA rating board gave an X-rating, effectively stopping nationwide release for these films. Weinstein sued the MPAA over the rating system. His lawsuit was later thrown out, but the MPAA introduced the NC-17 rating two months later.
1990s–2004: Further success, Disney ownership deal
Miramax continued to grow its library of films and directors until, in 1993, after the success of The Crying Game, Disney offered the Weinsteins $80 million for ownership of Miramax. The brothers agreed to the deal that would cement their Hollywood clout and ensure that they would remain at the head of their company. The following year, Miramax released its first blockbuster, Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, and distributed the popular independent film Clerks.
Miramax won its first Academy Award for Best Picture in 1997 with the victory of The English Patient. (Pulp Fiction was nominated in 1995 but lost to Forrest Gump.) This started a string of critical successes that included Good Will Hunting (1997) and Shakespeare in Love (1998), both of which won several awards, including numerous Academy Awards.
2005–2017: The Weinstein Company
The Weinstein brothers left Miramax on September 30, 2005, to form their own production company, The Weinstein Company, with several other media executives, directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, and Colin Vaines, who had successfully run the production department at Miramax for 10 years. In February 2011, filmmaker Michael Moore took legal action against the Weinstein brothers, claiming he was owed $2.7 million in profits for his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), which he said had been denied to him by "Hollywood accounting tricks". In February 2012, Moore dropped the lawsuit for an undisclosed settlement.
On October 8, 2017, Harvey Weinstein was fired from the company after a laundry list of sexual abuse charges were revealed. After months of unsuccessfully attempting to have it or its library purchased by another company, the company was forced into bankruptcy, with Lantern Entertainment purchasing all assets in 2018. The company was shut down on July 16, 2018, and the website sometime thereafter.
Weinstein in 1973
Managerial style and controversies
While lauded for opening up the independent film market and making it financially viable, Weinstein has been criticized for the techniques he applied in his business dealings. Peter Biskind's book Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film denounced Miramax's release history and editing of arthouse films. For example, the book states that 54 had been originally made as an arthouse film but, after Ryan Phillippe's sudden rise to stardom, Weinstein forced director Mark Christopher to re-edit and re-shoot the film to make it more mainstream.
Weinstein re-edited several Asian films and dubbed them in English. Weinstein tried to release the English-dubbed versions of Shaolin Soccer and Hero in the United States theatrically, but they scored badly in test screenings, leading Weinstein to release the films in United States cinemas in their original language. Furthermore, Weinstein re-edited 1993 Cannes Palme d'Or winner Farewell My Concubine for U.S. theatrical release; 1993 Cannes jury head Louis Malle was furious. "The film we admired so much in Cannes is not the film seen in this country, which is twenty minutes shorter — but it seems longer, because it doesn't make any sense", Malle complained.
When Weinstein was charged with handling the U.S. release of Princess Mononoke, director Hayao Miyazaki was reported to have sent him a samurai sword in the mail. Attached to the blade was a stark message: "No cuts." Miyazaki commented on the incident: "Actually, my producer did that. Although I did go to New York to meet this man, this Harvey Weinstein, and I was bombarded with this aggressive attack, all these demands for cuts. I defeated him." Weinstein and his brother Bob have also been criticized for altering the vision of foreign filmmakers hired to create movies for Miramax, such as on the 1997 projects Mimic (directed by Guillermo del Toro) and Nightwatch (directed by Dane Ole Bornedal). Weinstein has always insisted that such changes were done in the interest of creating the most financially viable film. "I'm not cutting for fun", he said in an interview. "I'm cutting for the shit to work. All my life I served one master: the film. I love movies."
Another example cited by Biskind was Phillip Noyce's The Quiet American (2002), the release of which Weinstein delayed following the September 11 attacks owing to audience reaction in test screenings to the film's critical tone toward past U.S. foreign policy. After being told the film would go straight to video, Noyce planned to screen the film at the Toronto International Film Festival in order to mobilize critics to pressure Miramax to release it theatrically. Weinstein decided to screen the film at the festival only after he was lobbied by star Michael Caine, who threatened to boycott publicity for another film he had made for Miramax. The Quiet American received mostly positive reviews at the festival, and Miramax eventually released the film theatrically. However, it was alleged that Miramax did not make a major effort to promote the film for Academy Award consideration, though Caine was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Weinstein acquired a reputation for ruthlessness and fits of anger. According to Biskind, Weinstein once put a New York Observer reporter in a headlock while throwing him out of a party. On another occasion, Weinstein excoriated director Julie Taymor and her husband during a disagreement over a test screening of her movie Frida.
In a 2004 newspaper article, in New York magazine, Weinstein appeared somewhat repentant for his often aggressive discussions with directors and producers. However, a Newsweek story on October 13, 2008, criticized Weinstein, who was accused of "hassling Sydney Pollack on his deathbed" about the release of the film The Reader. After Weinstein offered $1 million to charity if the accusation could be proven, journalist Nikki Finke published an email sent by Scott Rudin on August 22 asserting that Weinstein "harassed" Anthony Minghella's widow and a bedridden Pollack until Pollack's family asked him to stop.
In September 2009, Weinstein publicly voiced opposition to efforts to extradite Roman Polanski from Switzerland to the U.S. regarding a 1977 charge that he had drugged and raped a 13-year-old, to which Polanski had pleaded guilty before fleeing the country. Weinstein, whose company had distributed Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, a film about the Polanski case, questioned whether Polanski committed any crime, prompting Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to insist that Polanski's guilty plea indicated that his action was a crime, and that several other serious charges were pending.
An analysis of Academy Award acceptance speeches from 1966 to 2016 found that Weinstein had been thanked or praised in 34 speeches—as many times as God, and second only to Steven Spielberg (with 43 mentions).
Weinstein has been active on issues such as poverty, AIDS, juvenile diabetes, and multiple sclerosis research. Until October 2017, he served on the board of the Robin Hood Foundation, a New York City-based non-profit that targets poverty, and co-chaired one of its annual benefits. He has been critical of the lack of gun control laws and universal healthcare in the United States.
Weinstein is a longtime supporter of and contributor to the Democratic Party, including the campaigns of President Barack Obama and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. He supported Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, and in 2012 he hosted an election fundraiser for Obama at his home in Westport, Connecticut.
Weinstein was active in the fashion industry. He produced Project Runway, the fashion reality show, making stars of designer Michael Kors, model Heidi Klum and editor Nina Garcia. He was instrumental in the revival of Halston, collaborating with Tamara Mellon, Sarah Jessica Parker, and stylist Rachel Zoe. He licensed the option to revive the Charles James brand. Celebrities were asked to wear Marchesa (his ex-wife's label) at least once if they were in a Weinstein movie. His production companies were frequently involved in fashion-themed movies, including Madonna's W.E., Robert Altman's Prêt-à-Porter, and Tom Ford's A Single Man. Stars of Weinstein's films appeared on more than a dozen Vogue covers.
In October 2017, The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that more than a dozen women accused Weinstein of sexually harassing, assaulting, or raping them. Many other women in the film industry subsequently reported similar experiences with Weinstein, who denied "any nonconsensual sex". As a result of these accusations, Weinstein was fired from his production company, suspended from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He also resigned from the Directors Guild of America and was denounced by leading figures in politics whom he had supported. The Los Angeles Police Department opened a criminal investigation for alleged rape, and New York and London police began investigating other sexual assault allegations. On October 10, 2017, Weinstein's wife, Georgina Chapman, announced that she was leaving him and divorced Weinstein in January 2018.
Ronan Farrow reported in The New Yorker that Weinstein hired British-Israeli private intelligence firm Black Cube in order to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against him. Using false identities, private investigators from Black Cube reportedly tracked and met journalists and actresses, in particular Rose McGowan, who accused Weinstein of rape. Weinstein reportedly had Black Cube and other agencies "target, or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focused on their personal or sexual histories".
The allegations precipitated a wave of "national reckoning" against sexual harassment and assault in the United States known as the Weinstein effect. Compounded by other sexual harassment cases earlier in the year, the Weinstein reports and subsequent #MeToo hashtag campaign, which encouraged individuals to share their suppressed stories of sexual misconduct, created a cavalcade of allegations across multiple industries that brought about the swift ouster of many men in positions of power both in the United States and, as it spread, around the world.
In 2019, the documentary Untouchable was released with interviews from several of his accusers.
Charges, arrest, and trial
Weinstein was charged by the New York County District Attorney's Office with "rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women" on May 25, 2018. He was arrested the same day after surrendering to the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
Weinstein was later released after $1 million bail was posted on his behalf. He surrendered his passport and was required to wear an ankle monitor, with travel being restricted to New York and Connecticut. His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said Weinstein would plead not guilty. A trial date was set for January 6, 2020. On that date, Weinstein was also charged in Los Angeles with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in 2013.
Conviction and sentencing
After deliberating for five days, a jury convicted Weinstein on February 24, 2020, of two of five criminal charges: one count of criminal sexual assault in the first degree and one count of rape in the third degree. The jury found him not guilty regarding predatory sexual assault, which could have led to a life sentence. He was remanded to jail at Rikers Island in New York City pending his sentencing hearing on March 11, 2020, when he was sentenced to 23 years in prison. He is serving his sentence at Wende Correctional Facility. He has said through his attorneys that he would appeal the verdict. Weinstein was stripped of his honorary CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) on September 18, 2020.
Weinstein still faces a criminal trial in Los Angeles and his extradition was scheduled for July of 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic. His lawyers recently objected for paper work demanding his extradition, putting the trial on another delay, and his representative Norman Effman says that he suffers from health problems such as almost being legally blind, sleep apnea, and back problems typical for old age.
In March 2020, while incarcerated in Wende Correctional Facility in western New York during the COVID-19 pandemic, Weinstein tested positive for COVID-19. He reportedly did not show symptoms of the disease, was placed in isolation at the prison, and on April 1, 2020, was stated to be recovering. On November 17, 2020, Weinstein was placed in isolation owing to suspected COVID-19 symptoms. On November 19, it was reported that he did not have COVID-19, but that his health was declining.
Weinstein has been married twice. In 1987, he married his assistant Eve Chilton; they divorced in 2004. They had three daughters: Remy (previously Lily; born 1995), Emma (born 1998), and Ruth (born 2002). In 2007, he married English fashion designer and actress Georgina Chapman. They have a daughter and a son. On October 10, 2017, Chapman announced she was leaving Weinstein after the sexual harassment accusations. They divorced the following year.
Playwright and dramatist David Mamet has completed a play titled Bitter Wheat, which deals principally with the Weinstein controversy concerning his arrest in 2018. As stated in the New York Post in May 2018: "The plan is to open Mamet's new play in London... [S]ources say Mamet is wary of another run at Broadway unless his Weinstein play gets a good reception in England. He's got a shot with Daniel Evans, the young director who's in talks to do it".
This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.
|1981||The Burning||also writer (story)|
|1982||The Secret Policeman's Other Ball|
|1986||Playing for Keeps||also writer|
|1988||Light Years a.k.a. Gandahar (English Version)|
|1998||Shakespeare in Love||Academy Award for Best Picture |
BAFTA Award for Best Film
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Satellite Award for Best Film – Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
|2000||Malèna||Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language|
|2002||Gangs of New York||Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture |
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated – Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture
|2003||Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World||co-producer (uncredited)|
|2009||Nine||Satellite Award for Best Film – Musical or Comedy |
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
|2011||My Week with Marilyn||Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best British Film |
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
|The Current War||Film generally released in 2019.|
|1986||Playing for Keeps||also writer and producer|
|1987||The Gnomes' Great Adventure|
|The Lemon Sisters||co-executive producer|
|Strike It Rich|
|Crossing the Line||co-executive producer|
|1991||Madonna: Truth or Dare|
|A Rage in Harlem|
|The Pope Must Diet|
|Dust Devil||co-executive producer|
|Into the West||co-executive producer|
|1993||Benefit of the Doubt|
|The Night We Never Met|
|The Hour of the Pig|
|Map of the Human Heart|
|Pulp Fiction||co-executive producer |
|Il Postino: The Postman|
|The Englishman who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain|
|Blue in the Face|
|Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead|
|A Month by the Lake|
|The Journey of August King|
|The Crossing Guard|
|The English Patient|
|Flirting with Disaster|
|The Crow: City of Angels|
|The Last of the High Kings|
|1997||Addicted to Love|
|She's So Lovely|
|Good Will Hunting|
|The Wings of the Dove|
|Princess Mononoke||English-language version|
|1998||A Price Above Rubies|
|Since You've Been Gone||TV film|
|Halloween H20: 20 Years Later|
|Little Voice||co-executive producer|
|Talk of Angels|
|B. Monkey||co-executive producer|
|Playing by Heart|
|She's All That|
|My Life So Far|
|Teaching Mrs. Tingle|
|In Too Deep|
|Music of the Heart|
|The Cider House Rules|
|2000||The Crow: Salvation|
|Down to You|
|Love's Labour's Lost|
|The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring||film credit only; wasn't involved in actual film|
|The Shipping News|
|Scary Movie 2|
|Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back|
|2001–2005||Project Greenlight||Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program (2002, 2004, 2005)|
|The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers||film credit only; wasn't involved in actual film|
|Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams|
|Waking Up in Reno|
|Confessions of a Dangerous Mind|
|The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King||film credit only; wasn't involved in actual film|
|Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over|
|My Boss's Daughter|
|Scary Movie 3|
|Bad Santa||co-executive producer|
|The Human Stain|
|Kill Bill: Volume 1|
|Shall We Dance?|
|Kill Bill: Volume 2|
|2004–2017||Project Runway||Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program (2005–2015)|
|The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl|
|The Brothers Grimm|
|Scary Movie 4|
|Breaking and Entering|
|School for Scoundrels|
|Who's Your Caddy?|
|The Nanny Diaries|
|Zack and Miri Make a Porno|
|Capitalism: A Love Story|
|The King's Speech|
|Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil|
|Spy Kids: All the Time in the World|
|I Don't Know How She Does It|
|Silver Linings Playbook|
|2013||Escape from Planet Earth|
|Scary Movie 5|
|Lee Daniels' The Butler|
|August: Osage County|
|Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom|
|Sin City: A Dame to Kill For|
|2015||Woman in Gold|
|The Hateful Eight|
|War & Peace|
|47 Meters Down|
|Amityville: The Awakening|
Awards and honors
Harvey Weinstein had won numerous awards before his sexual assault allegations surfaced. On September 26, 2000, Harvey Weinstein was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) by the University at Buffalo. On April 19, 2004, Weinstein was appointed an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of his contributions to the British film industry. This award was "honorary" because Weinstein is not a citizen of a Commonwealth country. On March 2, 2012, Weinstein was made a knight of the French Legion of Honour, in recognition of Miramax's efforts to increase the presence and popularity of foreign films in the United States.
The University of Buffalo revoked his honorary doctorate, saying his conduct "contradicts the spirit of the honorary degree", while French President Emmanuel Macron revoked his Legion of Honour, both in late 2017. On September 18, 2020, Weinstein was stripped of the honorary CBE.
The table below lists additional awards given to Weinstein. Those not shared with others have also since been rescinded.
|1996||Britannia Awards||Britannia Award for Excellence in Film||shared with Bob Weinstein|
|1997||Gotham Awards||Producers Award||shared with Bob Weinstein and James Schamus|
|1998||GLAAD Media Award||GLAAD Excellence in Media Award||shared with Bob Weinstein|
|2001||British Independent Film Awards||Special Jury Prize||shared with Bob Weinstein|
|2002||British Film Institute||British Film Institute Fellowship||2017|
|2003||Saturn Award||Special Award||shared with Bob Weinstein|
|2003||DVD Exclusive Awards||Producer Award||shared with Bob Weinstein|
|2013||Producers Guild of America Award||Milestone Award||shared with Bob Weinstein|
|2014||Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African & African American Research||W. E. B. Du Bois Medal||2017|
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Poem of the day
June Night In Washington
by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey
The scent of honeysuckle,
Drugging the twilight
With its sweet opiate of lovers' dreams!
The last red glow of the setting sun
On the red brick wall
Of the neighboring house,
And the scramble of red roses over it!
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