The Weinstein Co. board of directors announced Friday it would launch a "thorough and independent investigation" into sexual harassment allegations against co-founder Harvey Weinstein, who began his "indefinite leave of absence" the same day.
Following a bombshell report from the New York Times charging three decades of alleged sexual harassment by Weinstein, the company responded by installing a committee to investigate the allegations. The committee includes a former prosecutor from the New York County District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Unit.
More: Weinstein scandal, Day 2: New, graphic allegation; 'indefinite' leave of absence
Producer Harvey Weinstein is on indefinite leave from his film company pending an internal investigation into sexual harassment claims.
"We believe it is important to learn the full truth regarding the article’s very serious accusations," a statement from TWC's board of directors stated.
Following the full investigation, the committee will "report to the full board on the results."
Harvey Weinstein's opulent Hollywood career
Harvey Weinstein was hit with allegations of almost three decades of sexual harassment Thursday in the 'New York Times.' The mega-producer has long been part of the Hollywood elite. Here, he poses with Sienna Miller at a dinner in 2009.
DATE TAKEN: 3/24/97--- Winona Ryder arrives to the 69th Annual Academy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. ORG XMIT: UT43362
Exec. Producers Tom Cruise and Harvey Weinstein at the premiere of "The Others" at The Directors Guild Theater in Los Angeles, Ca. Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect. --- DATE TAKEN: 8/7/2001 By Kevin Winter ImageDirect , Source: ImageDirect Los Angeles CA PAY - Pay at USAT space rate ORG XMIT: PX53598
ORG XMIT: 98885144 ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 20: Harvey Weinstein and Marion Cotillard speak during amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS 2010 benefit gala at the Hotel du Cap on May 20, 2010 in Antibes, France. (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images) GTY ID: 13637
ORG XMIT: 103153774 NEW YORK - AUGUST 09: (L-R) Actress Kerry Washington and Harvey Weinstein attend the after party for the premiere of The Tillman Story presented by The Weinstein Company and A&E IndieFilms at Michael's on August 9, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for the Weinstein Company) GTY ID: 153774AW026_THE_WEINSTEI
2/24/13 5:00:37 PM -- Hollywood, CA, U.S.A Harvey Weinstein Georgina Chapman arrives at the 85th annual Academy Awards -- Photo by Dan MacMedan, USA TODAY contract photographer ORG XMIT: DM 42987 2013 ACADEMY AWA 2/20/2013 (Via OlyDrop)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20: Actress Jennifer Lawrence (L) and producer Harvey Weinstein attend the Vanity Fair, Barneys New York and The Weinstein Company celebration of "Silver Linings Playbook" in support of The Glenholme School on February 20, 2013 in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for VF) ORG XMIT: 160501673 ORIG FILE ID: 162234587
SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 10: Actor George Clooney and producer Harvey Weinstein attend the Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2013 with Skinnygirl Cocktails at Barkar Hangar on January 10, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage) ORG XMIT: 159240470 ORIG FILE ID: 159271115
ORG XMIT: 142768436 NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and producer Harvey Weinstein attend the TIME 100 Gala, TIME'S 100 Most Influential People In The World, cocktail party at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for TIME) ORIG FILE ID: 143345879
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meets Harvey Weinstein as they attend the Royal film performance of 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' at Odeon Leicester Square on December 5, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 453752091 ORIG FILE ID: 453809261
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 12: (L-R) Director Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, and Harvey Weinstein attend the after party for LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER Los Angeles premiere, hosted by TWC, Budweiser and FIJI Water, Purity Vodka and Stack Wines, held at the Ritz-Carlton on August 12, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for TWC) ORG XMIT: 176581630 ORIG FILE ID: 176442111
Film producer Harvey Weinstein, right, is presented with the W.E.B. Du Bois medal by Glenn Hutchins during ceremonies Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, on the campus of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass. The DuBois Medal is Harvard's highest honor in the field of African and African American Studies. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) ORG XMIT: MASR107
Sharon Stone acts as auctioneer, and gets an assist from Jeremy Renner, Nicole Kidman and Harvey Weinstein at the Cinema Against AIDS dinner in 2013. CREDIT: Kevin Tachman [Via MerlinFTP Drop]
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 02: Harvey Weinstein (L) and Zendaya attend the 12th annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards at Spring Studios on November 2, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 589486065 ORIG FILE ID: 495445678
epa05707184 US designer Georgina Chapman (R) and her husband Harvey Weinstein (L) arrive for the Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globes After-Party following the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, USA, 08 January 2017. EPA/NINA PROMMER ORG XMIT: NPX01
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 15: (L-R) Mandy Moore, Harvey Weinstein, and Anna Wintour attend the Marchesa fashion show during, New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Gallery 2, Skylight Clarkson Sq on February 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows) ORG XMIT: 1000002494 ORIG FILE ID: 635521250
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Harvey Weinstein, and Jay Z speak onstage during TIME AND PUNISHMENT: A Town Hall Discussion with JAY Z and Harvey Weinstein on Spike TV at MTV Studios on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Spike) ORG XMIT: 700016663 ORIG FILE ID: 649824024
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Harvey Weinstein and Tamron Hall attend the Marchesa fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Gallery 1, Skylight Clarkson Sq on September 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images For NYFW: The Shows) ORG XMIT: 775033483 ORIG FILE ID: 846612020
"We take extremely seriously the accusations published in today’s New York Times about our company’s co-chairman Harvey Weinstein," the statement said. "It is essential to our company’s culture that all women who work for it or have any dealings with it or any of our executives are treated with respect and have no experience of harassment or discrimination."
The board members "strongly endorse Harvey Weinstein’s already-announced decision to take an indefinite leave of absence from the company, commencing today," according to the statement.
While he is out, the Weinstein Company will be led by his brother, Bob Weinstein, and David Glasser, the company's chief operating officer and president.
The next steps, the statement outlined, "will depend on Harvey’s therapeutic progress, the outcome of the Board’s independent investigation, and Harvey’s own personal decisions."
Additonally, three members of the nine-member all-male Weinstein Co. board have now resigned, according to both The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter. The members include include Dirk Ziff, Tim Sarnoff and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry,
The New York Times published the explosive story online Thursday chronicling Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment history, at least eight of which ended in settlements, according to the paper.
Sexual harassment against former employees and Hollywood stars, including Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, was reported to have occurred during the mogul's time at both The Weinstein Co. and his former film company, Miramax.
Facing international outcry, Weinstein gave a statement to the Times apologizing for his past. "I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it," he said.
Weinstein said in the statement he was taking a leave of absence from the company.
In a subsequent interview with the New York Post, Weinstein said that he was going to sue the Times for "reckless reporting."
"What I am saying is that I bear responsibility for my actions," Weinstein said. "But the reason I am suing is because of the Times’ inability to be honest with me, and their reckless reporting. They told me lies. They made assumptions."
Senators Cory Booker (New Jersey) and Patrick Leahy (Vermont) are both giving away all the campaign contributions they've received from Harvey Weinstein.
The revelations exploded into the political world. On Friday, nine Senate Democrats and the party's national committee had joined Vermont's Patrick Leahy in vowing to give away the campaign contributions they'd received from Weinstein over the years. Among them: Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Al Franken of Minnesota and Kamala Harris of California.
On Friday, The Huffington Post published a graphic account from local TV reporter Lauren Sivan. She told reporter Yashar Ali that a decade ago Weinstein cornered her in a restaurant hallway, and, after she rejected his attempts to kiss her, he exposed himself to her before proceeding to masturbate without her consent. USA TODAY has reached out to Weinstein for comment.
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