A Culture of Complicity at The Weinstein Company

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek October 10, 2017

Hollywood film executive Harvey Weinstein—the man behind such hit movies as "Pulp Fiction" and "Shakespeare in Love"—was fired Sunday from the company he co-founded and the company is expected to distance itself from him by changing its name. Latest reports now accuse him of rape.

Weinstein was removed days after The New York Times published an investigation that revealed he was accused repeatedly of sexual harassment over three decades. On the heels of the Times report, The New Yorker published the results of its own 10-month investigation. It includes new sexual harassment accusations and a description of a culture of complicity—including a recurring situation known as a "honeypot," in which Weinstein allegedly used other, often female staff to attend meetings to make a victim feel safe before being dismissed by the mogul, leaving him alone with a woman. 

Weinstein's termination is the latest among a number of powerful men who have been ousted this year after allegations of sexual misconduct. They include Bill O'Reilly and Eric Bolling at Fox News and Fox Sports national president Jamie Horowitz. Roger Ailes, the longtime Fox News chairman, was fired in 2016 for similar allegations. 

Uber, the ride-hailing company based in San Francisco, has begun making changes to its company after an investigation into claims of sexual harassment, gender bias and retaliation. And a sex scandal at San Francisco-based Social Finance, an online lending start-up known as SoFi, led to an investigation into harassment claims against its CEO, Mike Cagney, and his eventual departure in September.  

SHRM Online
has rounded up the latest news on Harvey Weinstein and the accusations that drove him out of the company he founded. Here are resources and news articles from other trusted media outlets. 

A Recording and 3 Allegations of Rape: Harvey Weinstein Story Just Got So Much Worse

Lucia Evans, who was an aspiring actress when she met Weinstein in 2004, told The New Yorker that Weinstein sexually assaulted her that year. 

“I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t. I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him. ... He’s a big guy. He overpowered me,” according to The New Yorker.
(Washington Post)

What 'Everybody Knew' about Harvey Weinstein Should Have Been Enough for Him to Face Consequences

One possible step to contain private abuse is to better police publicly abusive behavior — to recognize that the stereotypical "phone-throwing boss" is likely to misbehave in all sorts of unseen ways if his public abuse is tolerated.
(Business Insider)

Sexual Harassment: What Managers Need to Know

Sexual harassment occurs in the workplace when one person attempts to exert power over another through sexual intimidation. Legally speaking, it's a form of sexual discrimination, which violates Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act.
(Business Management Daily)

 [SHRM members-only toolkit: Managing Workplace Conflict]

New EEOC Training Helps Employers Create Respectful Workplaces 

HR professionals can help turn around a toxic environment in their workplaces by changing the corporate culture. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is offering new training to help employers create respectful workplace environments.

Its two new harassment prevention programs—"Leading for Respect" for supervisors and "Respect in the Workplace" for employees—deal with civility, acceptable workplace conduct and behaviors that contribute to an inclusive workplace.
(SHRM Online

As Its Namesake Founder Becomes a Liability, His Company Weighs Name Change

The Weinstein Company is considering changing its name as it moves to distance itself from former co-chairman Harvey Weinstein, the larger-than-life Hollywood mogul who was once the studio's biggest asset, but who has become its biggest liability.

The studio has enlisted two ad agencies to develop a new brand identity, a person close to the company said. In addition, Weinstein's name is being scrubbed from the credits of coming film and television projects.
(Wall Street Journal; registration required)

Harvey Weinstein Scandal: What's Next for Hollywood?

Harvey Weinstein may have been fired but an internal investigation will proceed. The company said it had retained an independent law firm "to undertake a thorough and independent investigation."

This will be a financial burden on the company, with Forbes reporting such investigations can cost between $20 million and $40 million to carry out. Forbes also said the company would find it more expensive to raise funds in the future.

Jenni Konner, executive producer of the HBO series "Girls," told The New York Times on Sunday: "I see this as a tipping point. This is the moment we look back on and say, 'That's when it all started to change.'"

Can Companies Like Uber, Equifax Find Redemption After Scandals? 

It's rarely smooth sailing for any company, but sometimes the brands we know and use run into choppy waters and their actions can determine whether they sink or keep going. 
(NBC News)   

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