Facts about Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein Biography
A legendary Hollywood power player and co-founder of Miramax Studios, Harvey Weinstein was fired from his own company in 2017 amid allegations of sexual harassment and rape. In 2018 he was arrested and charged with rape and sexual misconduct, and in 2020 was found guilty on two counts out of five and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob were Hollywood outsiders who made some of the biggest hits of the 1980s and ’90s. Harvey got his start in as a concert promoter in Buffalo, New York, but soon Miramax, founded in 1979, got into the movie business. Their first modest hit was a concert movie, The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball (1982).
By the late 1980s, Miramax had started having genuine box office and critical success with new filmmakers such as Errol Morris and Steven Soderbergh (Thin Blue Line and Sex, Lies and Videotape).
Weinstein helped guide the early careers of Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith, and the studio put out several hits in the 1990s, including Pulp Fiction (1994), Emma (1996), Scream (1996), The English Patient (1996) and Shakespeare in Love (1998, starring Gwyneth Paltrow).
Disney bought Miramax in 1993, and the Weinstein brothers stayed on for a decade, but left in 2005 and formed The Weinstein Company. They went on to make more movies with equal success, including The King’s Speech (2010), The Artist (2011), Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015).
As the face of The Weinstein Company, Harvey had a reputation as a hard-driving businessman, famous for taking risks with movies but also famous for cutting them to meet his own criteria. He was also known for aggressive Oscar publicity campaigns that led to Academy Awards for his actors and films; by 2016, Weinstein-helmed films had collected a whopping 81 Academy Awards in all categories.
His fame took a nosedive in 2017, when he was accused of aggressive sexual harassment and rape by multiple actresses and others with whom he had worked. Weinstein’s harrassments were depicted as a career-long pattern and an “open secret” in Hollywood. Weinstein denied the charges, while also pledging to “learn about myself and conquer my demons.”
The Weinstein Company fired Harvey Weinstein in the midst of the accusations, in October of 2017. In May of 2018 he turned himself in to be formally charged with rape and sexual misconduct from two separate cases from years past.
In a New York trial in 2020, he was found guilty of criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree.