Harvey Weinstein, one of Hollywood’s most powerful executives, has been sacked by the board of his own company after being accused of sexually harassing a series of women over several decades.
In a statement from the board of the The Weinstein Company, which was founded by the 65 year old together with his brother Bob, said that Mr Weinstein's employment had been terminated "effective immediately...in light of new information about misconduct".
The allegations, which were published by the New York Times on Thursday, also revealed that Mr Weinstein had reached at least eight previously undisclosed settlements with women who had accused him of sexual harassment. According to a number of different accounts, Mr Weinstein would invite women up to his hotel room in various cities where he was staying. He would ask them if they would give him a massage, or whether they would watch him shower. Women named in the New York Times story include actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan.
After the original story broke, another woman came forward, accusing Mr Weinstein of indecently exposing himself to her in the kitchen of a restaurant he owned, performing a sex act on himself in front of her.
Films produced by the Weinstein brothers have amassed over 300 Oscar nominations, and include Pulp Fiction, Good Will Huntingand Shakespeare in Love. Miramax was named after their parents, Miriam and Max Weinstein.
In a statement to the New York Times in response to the article, Harvey Weinstein appeared to attempt to excuse himself by saying “I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.
“I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office – or out of it. To anyone.”
He also said he was in therapy for the issue and would be taking a leave of absence from his company. At least three members of the Weinstein Company’s board of directors have stepped down since the news broke on Thursday.
“I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologise for it”, Mr Weinstein’s statement continued.
“Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”
Mr Weinstein, a long-time supporter of the Democratic party, also said that he would be attempting to “channel [his]… anger” at political targets, including the National Rifle Association and Donald Trump.
“I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention”, he said.
“I hope Wayne LaPierre [the head of the NRA] will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party”.
However, Democratic politicians have rushed to disassociate themselves from Mr Weinstein, with Senators including Chuck Schumer, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren announcing they will give the donations they received from the Hollywood mogul to charities which provide help to women.