Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein’s brother and the current head of The Weinstein Company, broke his silence in an emotional interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
For nearly 30 years, Bob Weinstein has lived in the shadow of his older brother Harvey Weinstein. While Harvey, 65, was the very public face of Miramax and then The Weinstein Company from Sundance to Cannes to Hollywood, palling around with stars and schmoozing Oscar voters, Bob, 62, has served on TWC’s board and tended to Dimension, their genre label, turning out movies like the Scream and Scary Movie franchises, that routinely made more money than all but Harvey’s biggest hits.
Now, in the wake of the dozens of allegations charging Harvey with three decades of sexual harassment, abuse and even rape, Harvey is out, fired from the company he co-founded with Bob in 2005. And Bob has been thrust into an unfamiliar limelight and forced to try to pick up the pieces amid the growing chaos.
He insists that the company — which is expected to undergo a name change — can survive. But four of his fellow board members have resigned, and his COO David Glasser and other key members of his 150-employee staff have yet to commit to stay with the company.
Amid widespread predictions that the Weinstein Co. will be forced to shut down or sell all or parts, he maintains, “There is a plan to come out on the other side.”
But right now, even as he struggles to right the company, of which he and Harvey both own about 20 percent each, he’s also coping with his own sense of shame and betrayal, expressing sympathy for Harvey’s victims while also questioning whether he should have done more in the face of Harvey’s alleged abusive behavior.
Bob, who worked mostly in Los Angeles while Harvey presided over TWC’s New York offices, says he’s barely spoken to his brother over the past five years. “I could not take his cheating, his lying and also his attitude toward everyone,” he says.
While he says he knew his brother was unfaithful to wife Georgina Chapman, Bob insists he had no idea about “the type of predator that he was” and is sickened by Harvey’s seeming lack of remorse. “I have a brother that’s indefensible and crazy,” says Bob, adding, “I want him to get the justice that he deserves.”
Here is part of the 45-minute phone interview:
How do you assess what has happened?
I find myself in a waking nightmare. My brother has caused unconscionable suffering. As a father of three girls I say this with every bone in my body — I am heartbroken for the women that he has harmed. I’m a fighter. For my entire adult life, I fought for the films I want to see the light of day. I have fought for my employees, who have dedicated their lives to achieving the vision of this company that me and my brother founded. But I cannot fight what is indefensible.
The members of the board, including myself, did not know the extent of my brother’s actions. I know him on a personal level better than anyone. It’s hard to describe how I feel that he took out the emptiness inside of him in so many sick and depraved ways. It’s a sickness but not a sickness that is excusable. It’s a sickness that’s inexcusable. And I, as a brother, understood and was aware as a family member, that my brother needed help and that something was wrong.
I was also the object of a lot of his verbal abuse — at one time physical abuse. And I am not looking for one bit of sympathy from anyone. I do not put myself in the category at all of those women that he hurt. But it’s a complicated situation when it’s your brother doing the abusing to you as well. I saw it and I asked him to get help for many years. And that’s the truth. He avoided getting the help. We begged him.
This hurts, but I don’t feel an ounce of remorse coming from him, and that kills me too. When I heard his written, lame excuse… Not an excuse. When I heard his admission of feeling remorse for the victims and then him cavalierly, almost crazily saying he was going to go out and take on the NRA, it was so disturbing to me. It was utter insanity. My daughters all felt sick hearing this because we understood he felt nothing. I don’t feel he feels anything to this day. I don’t.
One question that is on everybody’s mind: He is your brother, how in the world did you not know this was going on?
First of all, let me tell you something that people don’t know. For the last five years, I’ve probably talked to my brother ten times on any personal level. That’s the fracture that’s gone on. Since Dimension started, we ran two separate companies. So many of the people that he does business with — actors, actresses — I’ve never even met and they know it. I wanted to lead a separate existence. So we were leading two separate divisions.
I actually was quite aware that Harvey was philandering with every woman he could meet. I was sick and disgusted by his actions. But that’s the extent of what [I knew]. I said, “Harvey, you’re just cheating. Why do you constantly cheat?” I could see it. But I wasn’t in the room with him.
For me, I thought he was literally just going out there cheating in a pervasive way. It wasn’t like he even had a mistress. It was one after another and that I was aware of. But as far as being in a room and hearing the description in The New York Times? No way. No F-in way was I aware that that was the type of predator that he was. And the way he convinced people to do things? I thought they were all consensual situations.
I’ll tell you what I did know. Harvey was a bully, Harvey was arrogant, he treated people like shit all the time. That I knew. And I had to clean up for so many of his employee messes. People that came in crying to my office: “Your brother said this, that and the other.” And I’d feel sick about it.
Why did you tolerate his behavior?
Because it didn’t rise to a certain level. I would often counsel people and say, “You know what, you have a choice here. Leave. Leave, please leave.” I don’t know why some of them stayed. So I would just try to mend a broken fence. There is no mending this. This is not a broken fence. [But] I will not quit and leave the business that I built, rightfully so, and leave the films and filmmakers that I was involved in.
Do you think Harvey should be kicked out of the Academy?
Yes, I do. I was gonna actually write [to the Academy]. And I will do it. I am gonna write a note to them saying he definitely should be kicked out of the Academy.
The Hollywood Reporter:”>You issued a statement earlier today saying that the company is not for sale despite reports that it could be shut down or its parts sold off. If it’s not for sale, what is the plan to salvage this company?
We are thinking about how to do that. We had an employee meeting the other day, all 180 of the employees. And me and [COO] David Glasser addressed them all. Talk about emotions cascading. These innocent people are hurt, so many of them not knowing anything about my brother’s behavior.
But I was touched because — and I did not know this was coming — they said, “We don’t want Harvey to have the last word on this company. We want to stay. We believe in the films, we believe in you, Bob, David Glasser, we believe in ourselves. And we definitely don’t want to let him win.” And that’s a part of the human story that nobody is hearing.
I know they’re saying “Shut this company down.” Well, they didn’t shut Fox News down, they didn’t shut NBC down. My brother is the one that should pay with everything. And I mean literally — whether it’s criminal or otherwise — I will be supportive of all of that. But I don’t think the people that are the employees of this company or the company itself should pay.
Harvey was the face of the company. That’s what he loves. It’s actually part of his whole thing, being famous. This brother is not that brother. This brother made just as much money, ran a successful division, more successful financially than Harvey’s. But I’m a different guy and I run it differently and people know it and they know I can be successful and we don’t need to do any of the Harvey stuff. And there is a plan. All I’m trying to do right now is go forward, figure out a plan, me and David Glasser and the board members have an idea of what we’d like to do, that we think would be the responsible thing to do for all the critics, rightfully so, with regards to the TWC side and yet for people to keep their jobs. And the pieces of the business that still can be resurrected and continue, we think that they should.
You can read the rest of the interview here.