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Fame and celebrity

Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein loses key supporters after sex harassment allegations

Prominent lawyer says she’s no longer representing Hollywood heavyweight as he confronts sexual harassment allegations dating back years

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 October, 2017, 3:36pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 October, 2017, 12:38pm

Harvey Weinstein continued to lose key support over the weekend from people within his close circle of associates and in the larger media industry as the disgraced film executive moved to contain the fallout from his sexual harassment scandal.

Two important members of his crisis team quit Saturday, including Los Angeles lawyer Lisa Bloom, who had been criticised for representing Weinstein.

“I have resigned as an adviser to Harvey Weinstein,” Bloom wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

“My understanding is that Mr Weinstein and his board are moving toward an agreement.”

In addition, crisis manager Lanny Davis stepped down from Weinstein’s team and would no longer be serving him as an adviser, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Davis declined to comment through his office. The Washington-based lawyer is a former special counsel to President Bill Clinton and has been a long-time friend to Hillary Clinton.

Weinstein was a major supporter for Hillary Clinton’s failed run for the presidency, donating tens of thousands of dollars to her campaign and throwing celebrity fundraisers for the Democratic nominee.

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump was asked by a reporter what he thought about the Weinstein scandal. The president said he has known Weinstein a long time, adding: “I’m not at all surprised to see it.”

Democrats have come under attack for their connections to Weinstein, and the Los Angeles Times reported Friday that several senators are giving away money donated to them by Weinstein as they seek to distance themselves from the scandal.

The departures come after at least three Weinstein Co. board members resigned their positions in the wake of allegations published in The New York Times that the Oscar-winning movie and TV producer had sexually harassed numerous actresses and employees over a span of more than 20 years.

The board members who resigned include billionaire Dirk Ziff, a managing partner at Ziff Capital Partners, as well as Marc Lasry and Tim Sarnoff.

The remaining board members said Friday they have hired a law firm to investigate the sexual harassment allegations against the film boss, who is taking a leave of absence from the company.

On Saturday, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski threatened to pull out of her book deal with Weinstein’s publishing imprint unless he resigns.

“Harvey Weinstein needs to resign from his companies, face his sickness, and go into a long, self-imposed exile,” Brzezinski wrote on Twitter.

Brzezinski hosts MSNBC’s Morning Joe along with Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist.

The latest resignations also come after a new report surfaced late Friday in the Huffington Post claiming that Weinstein had made unwanted sexual advances toward a TV journalist, Lauren Sivan, a decade ago in New York, including cornering Sivan at a restaurant and masturbating in front of her.

On Saturday, Sivan tweeted that she was only able to come forward now about the incident “because of women far braver than me”.

Sivan’s claims were not previously reported in The New York Times, whose bombshell article Thursday cited actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan as among those whom Weinstein allegedly preyed upon.

The report also stated that Weinstein had reached at least eight settlements with women who had claims against him.

When the scandal broke Thursday, some of the public criticism against Weinstein was also directed at Bloom for her decision to advise the producer.

Bloom has been known for her legal work defending women, including those who have brought various accusations against former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and Bill Cosby.

In the days since the Weinstein scandal broke, the 65-year-old producer has sent a series of mixed messages in response to the lurid allegations.

While Weinstein expressed contrition for his past behaviour – saying that he realises “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it” – his lawyer, Charles Harder, has said Weinstein is planning on suing The New York Times over the report.

The New York Times has stated that it stands behind its story.