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Starmaker Harvey Weinstein eclipsed by sexual harassment revelations

October 9, 2017 at 6:40 PM EDT
Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, has been fired from the influential film company he founded after The New York Times detailed three decades of sexual harassment allegations against him from scores of women who worked for him. William Brangham reports.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now: the unraveling of a Hollywood mogul.

Harvey Weinstein has been ousted from his perch atop his eponymous movie company after numerous allegations of sexual harassment that span decades have come to light.

William Brangham has the story.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN: Well, I worked for 25 years here.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: One of the most powerful men in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein, has been fired from the influential film company he founded.

He was out just three days after this bombshell report in The New York Times detailed three decades of sexual harassment allegations against him from scores of women who worked with or for his company.

Among those going public, actresses like Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd, both of whom detailed unwanted sexual advances and harassing behavior.

The Times reported that Weinstein has reached private settlements with at least eight different accusers over the years.

LAUREN SIVAN, Journalist: I was so shocked. I could not believe what I was witnessing.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: This morning, journalist Lauren Sivan went on Megyn Kelly’s show alleging that Weinstein cornered her a decade ago and performed an obscene sexual act in front of her.

LAUREN SIVAN: But more than the disgusting act, which, of course, was gross, it was the demeaning part of it all that, just 20 minutes earlier, he was having this great conversation with me, and I felt so great and flattered about it.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: His first company, Miramax, founded by Weinstein and his brother Bob, was a groundbreaking force in movies in the 1990s, churning out independent hits like “Pulp Fiction,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “Good Will Hunting.”

Weinstein was considered a star-maker in Hollywood, launching the careers of directors like Quentin Tarantino and actors like Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck.

Even Meryl Streep joked about Weinstein’s outsized power in her 2012 Golden Globe acceptance speech.

MERYL STREEP, Actress: I just want to thank my agent, Kevin Huvane, and God, Harvey Weinstein.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MERYL STREEP: The punisher. Old Testament I guess.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Today, Streep released a statement to Huffington Post saying: “The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported. One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew.”

Besides Streep, however, many of Weinstein’s longtime collaborators have thus far remained silent on the allegations. But younger stars, like writer and director Lena Dunham, have spoken out, asking why it took so long for this story to break when many in Hollywood allegedly knew of his behavior all along.

In a tweet, Dunham wrote: “Easy to think Weinstein company took swift action, but this has actually been the slowest action, because they always, always knew.”

Even President Trump, who’s rejected accusations of his own sexual harassment, didn’t seem shocked at the allegations against Weinstein.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I have known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I’m not at all surprised to see it.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In a statement to The New York Times last week, Weinstein apologized for the pain his past behavior has caused.

For the PBS NewsHour, I’m William Brangham.

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