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.
"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
"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."
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.