Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth
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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Weinstein Employees: 'We Did Not Know We Were Working For a Serial Sexual Predator'

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A group of Weinstein Company employees have issued a statement condemning their former boss Harvey Weinstein and requesting to be released from their NDAs so that they can “speak openly.”

In the statement issued to The New Yorker, the staff members insist they were unaware of Weinstein’s alleged assaults but claim responsibility for being “part of the problem.”

The statement begins:

We came to work at this company because we love movies. We grew up watching Miramax films, and came to associate that name, and later the name Weinstein, with great storytelling.

Some of us have been here for years, others for just for a few months. Some have been here since their first college internship, others joined the team after a rigorous application process. All of us were excited to get the job, proud to be working for a company with such an illustrious history.

The statement goes on to acknowledge that staff members recognized Weinstein as a known blowhard and womanizer:

We all knew that we were working for a man with an infamous temper. We did not know we were working for a serial sexual predator. We knew that our boss could be manipulative. We did not know that he used his power to systematically assault and silence women. We had an idea that he was a womanizer who had extra-marital affairs. We did not know he was a violent aggressor and alleged rapist.

But to say that we are shocked and surprised only makes us part of the problem.

Our company was built on Harvey’s unbridled ambition – his aggressive deal making, his insatiable desire to win and get what he wanted, his unabashed love for celebrity – these traits were legendary, and the art they produced made an indelible mark on the entertainment industry.

But we now know that behind closed doors, these were the same traits that made him a monster. He created a toxic ecosystem where his abuse could flourish unchecked for decades.

In the weeks since The New York Times and The New Yorker published corroborative reports about Weinstein’s decades of sexual assault, Weinstein has been fired from his company, as well as booted from both the Academy and the Producers Guild of America.

Last week, the company’s CEO Bob Weinstein denied that Weinstein Co. is in trouble and assured that the films currently in development are not in danger. He has since been accused of sexual harassment. Members of Hollywood are meanwhile looking to distance themselves from the Weinstein name. Most recently, Channing Tatum pulled out of developing a film project about sexual abuse with the company.

The employees who issued the statement chose to remain anonymous in the statement (they’re identified as “select staff members”). They cite NDAs as a roadblock to transparency:

We know that in writing this we are in open breach of the non-disclosure agreements in our contracts. But our former boss is in open violation of his contract with us – the employees – to create a safe place for us to work.

We have nothing to hide, and are as angry and baffled as you are at how Harvey’s behavior could continue for so long. We ask that the company let us out of our NDAs immediately – and do the same for all former Weinstein Company employees – so we may speak openly, and get to the origins of what happened here, and how.

We unequivocally support all the women who have come forward, many of whom we count among our own friends and colleagues. Thank you for speaking out. When the New York Times and The New Yorker articles broke, we wept. We see you, we admire you, and we are in this fight alongside you.

And while we can only speak for the people represented in this statement, none of us ever knowingly acted as a so-called “honeypot”. That is disgusting and renders us all victims of Harvey’s disgraceful behavior.

Further on in the statement, the staff members make a point to separate themselves from the company’s board and its decisions while pointing out: “Non-disclosure agreements only perpetuate this culture of silence.” And: “Harvey Weinstein is far from the only sociopathic bully we’ve exalted over the years.” The statement ends with a call for “radical transparency and accountability” across the film industry.

Read the full statement here.

A corresponding New Yorker piece about the Weinstein Company’s supposed knowledge of the allegations describes the internal mood after the stories broke, as experienced by employees. Weinstein reportedly told an assistant, while crying, “I’m not that guy. I’m not that guy”:

On the following Tuesday, the staff convened in a conference room, with soul-food takeout from Bubby’s. As they gathered, someone mentioned that The New Yorker story was up. The assembled employees read in silence. They listened to the tape. They knew that voice too well. Some began to shake, and many of them wept as they contemplated the roles they might have played as accomplices, unwitting or not. “People were having a wave of retroactive memories,” a creative executive who worked on the letter told me. “Some of the stories were within the time frame of people who still worked there.” A longtime employee offered to answer questions based on his experiences travelling with Harvey. There was a silence, and then, according to the creative executive, “One of the female assistants was, like, ‘Tell us everything.’ ”

Read that full story here.