Bottled Weins

 

With undiluted words Bob Weinstein speaks out about his brother Harvey, the persona non grata rapist of Hollywood. “I asked him to get help for many years. And that’s the truth. He avoided getting the help. We begged him.” With all of the focus being placed on Harvey Weinstein’s decades long abusive Heimlich maneuver pickup line numerous ancillary questions have arisen following the scandal. Many of those are centered upon the company bearing his name, and the future of that enterprise.

 

In order to look into the prospects of The Weinstein Company we need to look at the makeup of that business. While Harvey is certainly the face of the namesake entity he is essentially a partner with his brother, Bob. (note: The brothers are said to each have around a 20% stake in the company). What TWC is established as is essentially two primary divisions with numerous development branches below each, including TV productions, stage, home viewing, and even publishing.

 

Harvey operates operated the independent film division. The focus is on smaller-budgeted and privately produced movies, foreign films, and the boutique titles that are frequently positioned for Academy Awards — as well as the film festival acquisition of titles fitting that mold. These are the kind of movies that drew the most publicity for the company, with Harvey basking in the shimmer of being considered Hollywood’s Oscar guru. Up-and-coming filmmakers wanted him to buy their films, and numerous performers also curried favor with Harvey because he was seen as the conduit to obtaining Oscar clout. An actor may take a severe pay cut to perform, for example, if it meant the chance to appear in a role that could be noticed by the Academy.

 

His brother Bob meanwhile shunned public exposure as he operated the other half of TWC, the Dimension Films division. In contrast to Harvey’s “serious” motion pictures Dimension deals primarily with movies classified as “genre pictures”. These are more mainstream offerings such as horror, thrillers, sci-fi, etc. The irony with TWC is that while Harvey garnered all the press and public attention – and his films held up as the glimmering examples of the company – the movies from the taciturn Bob and Dimension were what actually made the company money.

 

The Hollywood Reporter managed to get an exclusive interview with Bob Weinstein and he illuminated a number of details looking forward for the company. One revealing item was Bob making the statement that he and Harvey had not been in serious contact with each other for five years. This came about as their offices were located in Los Angeles and New York, respectively. Bob reveals that the primary reason for this estrangement was Harvey’s profligate affairs — all the while insisting he was oblivious to the violent assault aspect of Harvey’s conquests.

 

To this Bob has also refuted the claim that the company had an allowance for Harvey’s sexual predations, leading to legal responsibility. The outlet TMZ claimed to have obtained a copy of the contract where Harvey would not be punished or fired so long as he personally was financially responsible for any legal fees resulting from his sexual attacks. Bob’s contention is that the board of The Weinstein Company was unaware of Harvey making numerous settlements to alleged victims when they renegotiated his contract in 2015.     

 

Apart from the legal entanglements for the company there is another reason Bob may be so willing to bifurcate this familial bond. People Magazine detailed the contentious, often abusive, relationship between the brothers. As reliant as that piece was on unnamed inside sources Bob actually gave gravity to many of the anecdotes.

 

  • 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.

 

The big question regarding TWC is how it will operate going forward – or if it will even continue as an ongoing entity. With Harvey’s career regarded by many to be over the prospect of the company is also in question. Speculation runs that it will be dissolved, broken up and sold off in pieces, or reorganized entirely. A handful of board members have quit, with many other executives having to yet declare their intent. Bob maintains the company will continue to operate, but as to “how?” remains an unwritten script. They must first clear numerous challenges.

 

One cutting reality is the growing number of business relationships which have been severed. Disney has removed Weinstein as producer on the in-production “Artemis Fowl” movie. (Miramax obtained the rights to the book series in 2000. Though Disney divested Harvey’s former company they retained the rights to the book series, and he was still attached to the project.) Apple has terminated a deal to produce a television project based on Elvis with TWC. Likewise Amazon has terminated its deal for a series starring Robert DeNiro. Lin Manuel-Miranda has already completed “In The Heights” with the company, but he now wants to extract himself and his project from further obligation.

 

Harvey has become a cancer, and he is affecting all manner of business for TWC. Part of Bob’s focus is on maintaining current banking relationships and possibly securing more to keep the company moving forward. For these reasons, as well as preserving future projects, you can understand Bob’s reasoning behind removing any and all connection to his brother. The contentious relationship they have had contributes, but it is equally important that his company – which surely will be given a name change – reflects no connection to Harvey. Bob is showing all intent to do exactly that.

“He should never be allowed back, ever,” says the brother in charge. “Ever. He lost his rights. He didn’t lose his rights to be rehabilitated as a human being. But as far as being in this town again? I mean, give me a break.”