Weinstein Gets Blacklisted—and Bailed Out – Vanity Fair
It’s Monday, and I’m coming off a worse weekend than Al Michaels.
Hello from Los Angeles, where we’re kicking Harvey Weinstein out of our clubs, reading the latest Woody Allen reviews, and taking respite in the Black Panther trailer.
ANY CLUB THAT WOULD HAVE HIM AS A MEMBER
In an unusually swift move that opens the door to considering other members’ bad behavior, the film Academy expelled Harvey Weinstein on Saturday. After an emergency closed-door meeting of the board of governors, the group issued a statement saying that it would like to “send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.” Well over two-thirds of the 54-member board supported the move, the Academy said. This week, the Producers Guild of America and the Television Academy are expected to follow suit. If industry groups really start examining their membership for examples of sexually predatory behavior, though, it’s likely that they’ll find plenty of other Hollywood power players to boot.
As for Weinstein, his problems clearly run far deeper than losing his Oscar ballot. Police in New York and London are investigating sexual misconduct claims against the producer, and the company he founded with his brother, Bob Weinstein, is looking for a lifeline. On Monday, Variety’s Brent Lang reported that the Weinstein Co. had obtained an emergency infusion of cash from Colony Capital to help the studio weather the scandal engulfing its co-founder. (Colony, it’s worth noting, was founded by real-estate investor Tom Barrack—a close friend of Donald Trump, and not the type of man one might expect to funnel funds to a company formerly run by a prolific Democratic donor.) T.W.C. board member Tarak Ben Ammar said the cash would “provide comfort to our critical distribution, production and talent partners around the world.” The Associated Press, however, characterized the cash as a step toward a possible sale. With so many other places to go to finance films and television, it’s unlikely any version of the Weinstein Co. would be talent’s first stop. As a partner at one major agency told me last week, “As far as I’m concerned, they’re done.”
ROY PRICE ON THE ROPES
Who’s next after Harvey? That’s the question lingering over every new revelation in the ongoing Weinstein scandal, and the answer may already be here. Roy Price, the president of Amazon Studios, was suspended from his position last Thursday after The Man in the High Castle producer Isa Hackett went public with allegations that he had sexually harassed her during a Comic-Con event in 2015. The fallout continued today when Price’s fiancée, Lila Feinberg, called off their wedding, according to Variety’s Erin Nyren. Though the allegations against Price are not nearly as extensive and, thus far, devastating as those against Weinstein, the swift fallout may be evidence of changing norms in Hollywood. Just months ago, after Amazon conducted an internal review following Hackett’s complaints, the conclusion of the investigation was not disclosed, and reporter Kim Masters struggled to find an outlet to publish her reporting on the incident, as she detailed in an essay for the Columbia Journalism Review. Now with more women like Hackett, who says she was empowered by the women speaking out against Harvey Weinstein, coming forward, the era of cover-ups, legal threats, and financial settlements may truly be coming to an end.
DEAD MEN WALKING
V.F.’s Laura Bradley writes:
During its season finale, Fear the Walking Dead might have let loose a major clue as to which character might star in the promised crossover episode between the zombie drama and its progenitor, The Walking Dead. As the series teased a move to Houston, some fans heard a bell ring: Houston was once home to Abraham Ford, who bided his time there for a while in a grocery store with his family. Could a Michael Cudlitz appearance be in Fear’s future? If so, fans will have to wait a long time now before they see it. Then again, there’s also still the possibility that we could see the Alabama-born Madison Clark in a flashback on The Walking Dead—a more appealing prospect right now for no other reason than the fact we could see that crossover a lot sooner. The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres Sunday on AMC.
V.F.’s Hillary Busis writes:
Shortly after fanning indignant flames with his initial comment on the Harvey Weinstein situation—saying that he felt “sad for Harvey,” and warning that the waves of allegations could “lead to a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer”—Woody Allen has walked back his apparent sympathy for the disgraced producer. “When I said I felt sad for Harvey Weinstein, I thought it was clear the meaning was because he is a sad, sick man,” Allen said in a second statement to Variety. “I was surprised it was treated differently.” But perhaps Allen—who has experience with sexual misconduct allegations himself—should be glad that the furor over his first Weinstein statement has overshadowed the lukewarm reviews for his latest film, Wonder Wheel, which closed the New York Film Festival over the weekend. V.F.’s own Richard Lawson calls an “exhausting” pastiche, anchored by an out-of-his-depth Justin Timberlake—and the film did not win any extra fans among the press by canceling its premiere red carpet at the last minute, preventing reporters from asking its cast members to comment on the alleged misdeeds of Weinstein, Roy Price (the suspended president of Amazon Studios, which is distributing the film), and, of course, Allen himself.
V.F.’s Yohana Desta writes:
Sometimes Marvel knows exactly what you need when you need it. On Monday, the studio dropped a fresh trailer for Black Panther, months after dropping a teaser back in June. While someone more comic book-minded than me can probably pick apart all the new plot details hiding in plain sight (all that new technology! New weapons! New suits!), I’m just thrilled that we finally get more a more in-depth peek at the world of Wakanda and more GIF-ready visuals of Michael B. Jordan’s insouciant side-swept locks. We also finally get to hear most of the core cast speak for the first time, including Chadwick Boseman, who plays T’Challa, Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Nakia, and Angela Bassett, who plays Ramonda, T’Challa’s mother. Added bonus: Danai Gurira, who plays a member of the badass Dora Milaje, gets to shout “Wakanda forever!” That’s what I’ll be shouting when the lights go down in a crowded theater on February 9, 2018.
That’s the news for this sunny Monday in L.A. What are you seeing out there? Send tips, comments, and Justin Timberlake’s Wonder Wheel bathing suit to Rebecca_Keegan@condenast.com. Follow me on Twitter @thatrebecca.