After Accusations Hollywood Asks: Is Harvey Weinstein Done?

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Harvey Weinstein, the larger-than-life Hollywood executive and Oscar-winner, is taking a leave of absence from his own company after an explosive expose revealing decades of sexual harassment against women, from employees to actress Ashley Judd, was

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NEW YORK (AP) — Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is on indefinite leave from the company he co-founded while an internal investigation into numerous sexual harassment allegations against him is completed, The Weinstein Co.'s board of directors announced Friday.

"We strongly endorse Harvey Weinstein's already announced decision to take an indefinite leave of absence from the Company, commencing today," the board said in a statement. "As Harvey has said, it is important for him to get the professional help for the problems he has acknowledged. Next steps will depend on Harvey's therapeutic process, the outcome of the board's independent investigation and Harvey's own personal decisions."

The announcement came a day after The New York Times reported that the co-chairman of the Weinstein Co. has over the years reached at least eight legal settlements with women over alleged harassment.

Attorney John Kiernan of the firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP was named the head of the investigation. The Weinstein Co. board did not give a time frame for when the investigation would be completed.

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Image 1 of 3 This combination photo shows actors, Rose McGowan at a premiere in Los Angeles on April 15, 2015, left, and Ashley Judd in Beverly Hilla, Calif. on July 25, 2017. Producer Harvey Weinstein is taking a leave of absence from his company after The New York Times released a report alleging decades of sexual harassment against women, including employees and actress Ashley Judd. The Times reports two company officials say at least eight women have received settlements, including actress Rose McGowan. less This combination photo shows actors, Rose McGowan at a premiere in Los Angeles on April 15, 2015, left, and Ashley Judd in Beverly Hilla, Calif. on July 25, 2017. Producer Harvey Weinstein is taking a leave of ... more Photo: File, AP Image 2 of 3 CORRECTS FROM SUSPENDED TO INDEFINITE LEAVE - FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2017 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at The Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globes afterparty at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Weinstein is on indefinite leave from his film company pending an internal investigation into sexual harassment claims leveled against the Oscar winner. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File) less CORRECTS FROM SUSPENDED TO INDEFINITE LEAVE - FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2017 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at The Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globes afterparty at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in ... more Photo: Chris Pizzello, Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Image 3 of 3 CORRECTS FROM SUSPENDED TO INDEFINITE LEAVE - FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2016 file photo, producer Harvey Weinstein participates in the "War and Peace" panel at the A&E 2016 Winter TCA in Pasadena, Calif. Weinstein is on indefinite leave from his film company pending an internal investigation into sexual harassment claims leveled against the Oscar winner. The decision was announced by The Weinstein Co.'s board of directors. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File) less CORRECTS FROM SUSPENDED TO INDEFINITE LEAVE - FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2016 file photo, producer Harvey Weinstein participates in the "War and Peace" panel at the A&E 2016 Winter TCA in Pasadena, Calif. Weinstein ... more Photo: Richard Shotwell, Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP Weinstein on 'indefinite leave' during harassment inquiry 1 / 3 Back to Gallery

"We believe it is important to learn the full truth regarding the article's very serious accusations, in the interests of the Company, its shareholders and its employees," the company said. The statement was signed by four board members: co-chairman Bob Weinstein, who is Harvey Weinstein's brother, Tarak Ben Ammar, Lance Maerov and Richard Koenigsberg.

The statement was not signed by several businessmen who were part of The Weinstein Co. board before the story broke. They did not return messages seeking comment Friday.

Board member Dirk Ziff, a billionaire investor, resigned Thursday.

Representatives did not immediately respond to questions about Weinstein's status with the film company. A person familiar with the board's deliberations but unauthorized to speak publicly told The Associated Press earlier Friday that Weinstein would be suspended from the company. But Friday's statement only said it "strongly endorsed" Weinstein's decision to take the indefinite leave of absence.

Weinstein's attorneys also did not respond to emails seeking comment Friday.

Weinstein has had a powerful perch in Hollywood for three decades, producing films like "Pulp Fiction" and "Shakespeare in Love," for which he won an Oscar. But his stature has diminished in recent years and his company has suffered from a string of executive exits, layoffs mounting lawsuits and delayed releases.

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After news broke on Thursday afternoon of Harvey Weinstein's history of sexual harassment the immediate reaction was swift and damning. At least two Democractic politicians, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Sen. Cory Booker from New Jersey gave away the money donated to their campaign by Weinstein. In both cases, the money went to women's organizations. In the past, Weinstein also donated to Hilary Clinton, Sen. Martin Heinrich from New Mexico and Sen. Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut.

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The New York Times expose chronicled allegations against Weinstein from actress Ashley Judd and former employees at both the Weinstein Co. and Weinstein's former company, Miramax, over the course of several decades. The report made an enormous impact felt throughout the movie industry and elsewhere.

"This abuse of power must be called out, however powerful the abuser, and we must publicly stand with those brave enough to come forward," wrote actress America Ferrera on Twitter. Many others, including Lena Dunham and Brie Larson also added their voices to the uproar.

The board of directors has pressured Weinstein to step down from the company he helped create, said a person familiar with the board's deliberations who was not authorized to speak publicly. Weinstein has resisted, hoping to weather the storm. Discussions between Weinstein and the board have been heated and contentious, the person said.

Leadership of The Weinstein Co. will be assumed by Bob Weinstein and David Glasser, the company's chief operating officer.

Weinstein on Thursday issued a lengthy statement that acknowledged causing "a lot of pain." He also asked for "a second chance." But Weinstein and his lawyers, including Charles J. Harder, have criticized the New York Times' report in statements and interviews, though neither has referenced anything specific.

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News of Harvey Weinstein's undisclosed sexual harassment allegations have been shaking Hollywood. Now, actresses are speaking out on Twitter to defend his accusers.

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"We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting," said a New York Times spokesperson in a statement. "Mr. Weinstein was aware and able to respond to specific allegations in our story before publication. In fact, we published his response in full."

In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Weinstein attorney Lisa Bloom both defended Weinstein and acknowledged he'd been "stupid." She saluted the women who have come forward to allege wrongdoing but said many allegations were overblown and consisted of Weinstein telling a woman she "looked cute without my glasses."

Congressional Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, on Friday began giving charities thousands of dollars in donations they had received from the disgraced Hollywood titan.

Weinstein and his family have given more than $1.4 million in political contributions since the 1992 election cycle, nearly all of it to Democratic lawmakers, candidates and their allies, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The biggest beneficiary of funds from Weinstein and his family was the Democratic National Committee, which received about $800,000 in several of its accounts, according to the center. Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said the party plans to give more than $30,000 to Emily's List, Emerge America and Higher Heights.

Rutgers University says it will not return a $100,000 donation from movie mogul Harvey Weinstein for a position named after women's rights advocate Gloria Steinem.

The university said Friday that Weinstein's donation was one of more than 425 that has been used to Gloria Steinem Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies at the school.

The school says it can think of "no better use" of the donation than to apply it to the position and its work.

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Associated Press writers Alan Fram in Washington and Jocelyn Noveck in New York contributed to this report.

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After accusations Hollywood asks: Is Harvey Weinstein done?
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