Harvey Weinstein scandal: What next for Hollywood?

 In U.S.

Harvey WeinsteinImage copyright
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Harvey Weinstein has been thanked more often than God in Oscars acceptance speeches

Oscar-winning movie producer Harvey Weinstein is at the centre of a sexual harassment scandal, which has led to him being sacked by his own company.

Actress Meryl Streep – who once called him “God” in an awards speech – has spoken out against him, saying the claims left her “appalled”.

Dame Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson are among others to have denounced him.

When the claims were first reported in the New York Times, Weinstein apologised for causing “a lot of pain”. He later disputed the article, however, claiming the report was “saturated with false and defamatory statements”.

But it’s a dramatic fall from grace for one of the movie industry’s highest-profile producers, which could have wider implications for Hollywood itself.

Here are five pressing questions that arise from this mounting scandal.

What next for Harvey Weinstein?

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Might Weinstein be welcomed back into the Hollywood fold like Gibson was?

The man behind such hits as Pulp Fiction and Shakespeare in Love reportedly did not want to leave The Weinstein Company – but was fired anyway.

He was apologetic but bullish last week when the allegations were first published and threatened to sue the New York Times, the paper that broke the story.

Since then, he’s been deserted by both his lawyer Lisa Bloom and his legal crisis adviser Lanny Davis.

It remains to be seen whether he will make good his threats of legal action.

The Weinstein Company said he was fired “in light of new information”, so more allegations are expected to surface.

Weinstein was made an honorary CBE by the Queen in 2004 for his contribution to the British film industry, and there have already been calls for that to be revoked. Prime Minister Theresa May has said she’s “concerned” about the allegations, but any decision on his CBE would not lie with Downing Street.

Yet there is always the possibility he can bounce back, like other disgraced Hollywood figures who have returned to the limelight.

Mel Gibson, for example, was back on Hollywood’s red carpets earlier this year, despite an anti-Semitic rant during a public meltdown 11 years ago – although the allegations against Weinstein put him in a different situation.

What next for Hollywood?

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Weinstein (centre) with the other Shakespeare in Love producers after it won best picture at the 1999 Oscars

Weinstein’s firing comes after a number of high-profile men have left their jobs amid claims of sexual misconduct.

These include Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and Eric Bolling at Fox News and Ain’t It Cool News founder Harry Knowles. Bill Cosby is also facing a retrial over sexual assault charges.

O’Reilly said they were “completely unfounded claims” and Bolling described the claims against him as “untrue and terribly unfair”. Knowles called the initial allegation “100% untrue” and later decided to “step away” from his role.

“Men in Hollywood need to change ASAP,” said actress Rose McGowan in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

“Hollywood’s power is dying because society has changed and grown, and yet Hollywood male behaviour has not. It is so not a good look.”

Jenni Konner, executive producer of the HBO series Girls, told the New York Times on Sunday: “I see this as a tipping point.

“This is the moment we look back on and say, ‘That’s when it all started to change.'”

What next for The Weinstein Company?

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The King’s Speech won four Oscars in 2011

Weinstein may have been fired but an internal investigation will still go ahead. The company said it had retained an independent law firm “to undertake a thorough and independent investigation”.

This will be a financial burden on the company, with Forbes reporting such investigations can cost between $20m (£15m) and $40m (£30m) to carry out. Forbes also said the company would find it more expensive to raise funds in the future.

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