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Harvey Weinstein on ‘indefinite leave’ during harassment inquiry

Harvey Weinstein attends amfAR's New York gala honoring

Harvey Weinstein attends amfAR's New York gala honoring him in Manhattan on Feb. 10, 2016. Credit: AP / Charles Sykes

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.

In a statement, the board said that Weinstein’s future with the company depends on his therapeutic progress and the results of the internal investigation. It said Weinstein’s leave commenced Friday.

“Next steps will depend on Harvey’s therapeutic process, the outcome of the board’s independent investigation and Harvey’s own personal decisions,” the statement read.

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

“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 in a statement signed by four of six remaining board members. Board member Dirk Ziff, a billionaire investor, resigned Thursday.

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

Representatives did not immediately respond to questions about Weinstein’s status with the film company. A source told The Associated Press earlier Friday that Weinstein would be suspended from the company. 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.

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.

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

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.

Weinstein on Thursday issued a lengthy statement that quoted Jay-Z and asked for “a second chance.” He and his lawyers, including Charles J. Harder, have also criticized the New York York Times’ report in statements and interviews, though neither has referenced anything specific.

Messages to Ziff and current board members were not returned Friday.

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 potential 2020 presidential contender Elizabeth Warren, on Friday began giving charities thousands of dollars in donations they had received from the disgraced Hollywood titan.

But 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.

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