The Weinstein Co. doesn’t even have an official spokesperson anymore.
The movie and TV studio is paralyzed, with employees talking about resigning and comparing it to the Titanic.
One week after sexual misconduct allegations first emerged against co-founder Harvey Weinstein, there is open talk in Hollywood about a “fire sale” of the company. Some filmmakers who are working on projects for Weinstein Co. are trying to take their movies elsewhere. And some networks with TV show deals are looking to back out.
Deadline, a news site that’s a must-read in the entertainment business, described the company as “near the brink,” with financiers and agents looking for “outs.” The site quoted a high-level media executive likening it to “a run on the bank.”
But the company’s co-chairman Bob Weinstein, Harvey’s brother, is denying a Wall Street Journal report that “Weinstein Co. is exploring a sale or shutdown and is unlikely to continue as an independent entity.” The story cited “a person close to the company.”
“Our banks, partners and shareholders are fully supportive of our company, and it is untrue that the company or board is exploring a sale or shutdown of the company,” Bob Weinstein said in a statement.
The statement claimed that “business is continuing as usual as the company moves ahead.”
But that is not true. Business is anything but usual.
There’s a sense in media circles that lawsuits and lingering questions about complicity are going to haunt the company for years. “This is only going to get worse,” a studio chief told CNN Thursday.
According to multiple sources, the two men now running the firm, Weinstein’s brother Bob and the company’s president David Glasser, could be the next out the door.
Despite the stain on the company’s reputation and the board’s potential legal exposure, the company has valuable assets, including shows like “Project Runway” and forthcoming movies like “The Current War,” which is set to come out this fall.
Several other movies are also in post-production.
The company’s next big production was supposed to be “In The Heights,” an adaptation of the hit Broadway show that Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote and starred in before “Hamilton.”
But on Thursday Quiara Hudes, who wrote the book for the play, said she wants out: “I hope Weinstein Company has enough grace, in the wake of these allegations, to respect my stand as a woman, and to allow us to extricate In The Heights from them.”
Hudes said in a statement that the play “deserves a fresh start in a studio where I’ll feel safe (as will my actors and collaborators).” Miranda tweeted his support for her statement.
For staffers, that statement was yet another blow in a week that’s been full of them.
Barely any work is getting done at the company’s offices in New York and Los Angeles, according to sources on both coasts.
About 200 people work for the Weinstein Co., and many of them never interacted with Weinstein or other senior executives.
There was a widespread understanding that he was an aggressive person prone to anger and to the pursuit of young women — but not that he might have been breaking the law.
Four women have now alleged rapes by Weinstein, three of them on the record, and dozens of other women have alleged assault or harassment over the course of decades.
One of the remaining board members, Richard Koenigsberg, resigned on Thursday, according to NBC News.
That leaves three board members — Bob Weinstein, Tarak Ben Ammar, and Lance Maerov.
CNN attempted to reach the Weinstein Co. for comment on the new developments on Friday.
But the company’s top spokeswoman, Nicole Quenqua, said she will no longer be speaking on behalf of the company. The publicity department is frozen like much of the rest of the company.
A phone call to Bob Weinstein’s office in New York indicated that he is in the office, working, on Friday afternoon. The assistant who answered the phone referred calls to the publicity department.