When the dam burst on Harvey Weinstein’s decades as a sexual predator in the entertainment industry, his brother led the charge to cut him out of the eponymous company they co-founded. It turns out, however, that Bob Weinstein wasn’t exactly a knight in shining armor either. The Wall Street Journal interviewed fellow Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, who says that he got more complaints about Bob than Harvey when working at Disney in partnership with the brothers, calling Bob “genuinely abusive” to Katzenberg’s subordinates:
Bob Weinstein hasn’t been accused of the kind of severe sexual misconduct that led to the ouster of his brother, Harvey, from Weinstein Co., the film and television studio they jointly ran. Instead, according to multiple former employees and business associates, he was a volatile executive whose behavior, which went on for years at his companies, wouldn’t be tolerated in most American corporations.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, who ran Walt Disney Co.’s movie studio for some of the time it owned the brothers’ former studio Miramax, said it was Bob Weinstein who caused problems for Disney executives. “Bob Weinstein was genuinely abusive to people in my company,” Mr. Katzenberg recalled in an interview Monday at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ D.Live technology conference. “The one person who revealed himself in a way that was unacceptable to me was, in fact, Bob.”
Bob may not be facing accusations that amount to the same severity of sexual misconduct as his brother Harvey, but he’s not free of similar charges. Amanda Segel, an executive producer on the Weinstein Company TV drama “The Mist,” went public yesterday with allegations of sexual harassment and intimidation over a three-month period last year. It didn’t stop until Segel got the lawyers involved, Variety reports:
Segel’s discomfort with Bob Weinstein began in June 2016 when he invited her out to dinner in Los Angeles, at Dan Tana’s restaurant. Segel had been told by coworkers that Bob Weinstein had inquired with them whether she was single. She agreed to go to dinner with him in an effort to establish a professional relationship with the head of the company behind “The Mist.”
During the dinner, Weinstein asked Segel highly intimate questions and made romantic overtures to her, according to Segel. He wanted to know her age because he told her he didn’t want to date anyone younger than his daughter. He told Segel that he was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel because his daughter was staying at his home in Los Angeles.
About halfway through the dinner, Weinstein asked Segel if she would drive him back to the hotel so that he could let his driver go for the night. Segel agreed. When she took him to the Sunset Boulevard hotel, he asked her to come up to his room. She declined.
After that night, Weinstein began sending emails to Segel with questions that were outside the scope of work on “The Mist.” He said he wanted them to be friends. She said that was possible but in a non romantic way, and reiterated that she was not open to dating.
Bob Weinstein continued to ask Segel out to dinner between June and August of 2016 joking at times that he was her boss and could fire her if she didn’t agree. Segel agreed to another dinner with him in which she was accompanied by “Mist” executive producer and writer Christian Torpe. Weinstein was clearly unhappy with Torpe’s presence at the dinner, according to Segel.
At that point, the calls stopped but Weinstein began berating her at work. Segel promptly called her attorney, who made it clear that she would press claims unless Weinstein backed off and refrained from contacting her at all. TWC agreed to those demands, and also allowed Segel to opt out of her contract if Spike TV picked up a second season of the show (it hasn’t).
The WSJ reports on Segel’s contemporaneous reaction to Weinstein’s outburst in an e-mail to a network exec:
Ms. Segel later told Mr. Weinstein in an email she wasn’t interested in him romantically. Soon after, on a conference call with several people discussing a coming episode of the show, he was highly critical of the series and her work, she said. She told a top network executive, in an email seen by the Journal, that Mr. Weinstein was a “disgusting predator.”
Bob Weinstein denies all this through his spokesperson, but then again, so does Harvey. Credibility at The Weinstein Company isn’t exactly at a high-water mark these days. Apparently, Bob didn’t get an NDA out of Segel as his brother did with his victims. Maybe Bob’s contract didn’t cover for his settlements the way Harvey’s allegedly does. Or did, since Harvey “resigned” from his company yesterday.
With Segel coming forward now about sexual harassment at TWC, one has to wonder whether any other victims of Bob will emerge, just as happened with Harvey. It’s not as if either brother had any checks on their abuse of power within TWC, after all, and if Katzenberg saw “genuinely abusive” behavior from Bob back in the 1990s, it seems at least somewhat likely that it would continue if not escalate without any limits on his actions.
More pragmatically, this all but eliminates any hope of recovery for TWC, doesn’t it? Their narrative was that they were shocked, shocked at Harvey’s sexual-predator behavior, a narrative that took a big hit with TMZ’s report on Harvey’s contract. Now that Bob is getting exposed as at least a vindictive and abusive executive, the market value of the Weinstein name is about the same level as Ishtar has to a film-rights catalogue. Without either Bob or Harvey, what’s the point of even a renamed Weinstein Company? Its executives would be much better off distancing themselves from the stench and forming their own companies — this time hopefully under much greater scrutiny from agencies, fellow executives, and maybe an entertainment media that grows some intestinal fortitude when it comes to the rich and powerful in their own backyard.
Or who knows? Maybe the two brothers will patch up their differences and make a big comeback. Supposedly Harvey’s telling people he’ll be back to making movies within a year. As ugly as it sounds, Weinstein might just succeed. After all, a conviction for molesting a 12-year-old boy on the set didn’t stop Victor Salva’s career, did it? He’s still doing films, and trying to work jokes about pederasty into scripts. Yeesh.