Weinstein’s predatory ways were no secret – Winnipeg Free Press
When news of sexual assault charges against film producer Harvey Weinstein broke in 2017, the entertainment world was shocked.
Or maybe he wasn’t so surprised.
In 2013, Oscar host Seth McFarlane, creator of the animated series family guy, read the Best Actress nominees and darkly joked, “Congratulations, you five ladies don’t have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein anymore.” The joke, he later revealed, was made with knowledge of an incident between Weinstein and actress Jessica Barth.
Following the accusations, in 2021 director Quentin Tarantino told podcast host Joe Rogan that he was at least partially aware of Weinstein’s behavior while Weinstein’s company Miramax Films did. know by distributing the 1994 film. pulp Fiction.
And, according to Ken Auletta’s gripping new book, the mogul had a reputation for years that led to aspiring actresses and other women in the industry being told to avoid being alone with him.
Autella, a journalist best known for his work with the New Yorkerheard rumors of Weinstein’s alleged behavior as early as 2002. At the time, he wrote a profile on Weinstein that exposed how cruel and sometimes violent he was towards employees and associates, including his brother and co-founder from Miramax, Bob Weinstein.
While working on the article, he learned that Weinstein had two Miramax employees sign nondisclosure agreements and thought they might be linked to rape charges, but he couldn’t prove it.
Today he praises Ronan Farrow, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the journalists who managed to get Weinstein out, ultimately leading to the #MeToo movement.
Autella tells the story of Weinstein’s life, from growing up in poverty in New York to becoming a successful concert organizer in Buffalo, and ultimately a major player in the independent film movement in the 1990s-2000s.
The Weinstein brothers loved movies as children and were particularly drawn to foreign films, including French New Wave works like The 400 blows. They started their film career by distributing foreign and independent films. Some were flops, but others were major hits, including my left foot, The crying game and Tarantino’s reservoir dogs.
In 1993, The Walt Disney Company purchased Miramax, allowing the Weinsteins to begin producing their own films, including box office titans such as The Lord of the Rings and Oscar favorites such as Chicago and Shakespeare in love.
Autella’s book is a sad and frustrating reminder that Harvey Weinstein was a champion of independent filmmaking, and even female directors. He gave Jane Campion a chance by distributing The pianoand encouraged her when she became the first – and, until 2021, the only – director to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
Autella says he “struggled to make it clear that (Weinstein) was more than a freak” in the book, but he succeeded. It paints a realistic portrait of a talented pioneer who was also a deplorable person.
It also explores the culture that allowed this to happen. For years, people understood that the “casting couch” was part of Hollywood and looked the other way. Weinstein seemed to believe it was something he was entitled to.
Alan MacKenzie is a writer and communications professional from Winnipeg.