November 19, 2017

After Harvey Weinstein’s Fall, Spotlight Finds His Brother

Yet Colony sees no future for Bob Weinstein at the company, should it emerge from this crisis, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations were private.

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Harvey, left, and Bob Weinstein used to work closely together, but in recent years, rancor between them grew to the point that they were barely speaking. Credit J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

Last weekend, Bob Weinstein told The Hollywood Reporter that his brother was “sick and depraved.” He also said that, until The New York Times, The New Yorker and others revealed sexual harassment and rape allegations against his brother, he thought his sibling’s “philandering” with women involved “all consensual situations.”

But Kathy DeClesis, Bob Weinstein’s former assistant, said she confronted him about his brother’s behavior over a quarter-century ago.

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She was concerned about a young woman she supervised at Miramax, the film studio that the brothers started in the late 1970s. The woman had left the company after an encounter with Harvey Weinstein — fleeing so quickly that she never claimed the extra shoes under her desk, another former employee recalled. Ms. DeClesis said she later handed Bob Weinstein a letter from a lawyer representing the young woman, who eventually received a settlement.

“Your brother is a pig,” Ms. DeClesis remembers telling Bob Weinstein around the same time. She said she quit shortly afterward.

Bob Weinstein, who owns about 20 percent of the Weinstein Company, declined requests for an interview. His lawyer, Bert Fields, said, “Bob has no recollection of that happening.”

A few years ago, the TV writer Marti Noxon, an executive producer of shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” said that Bob Weinstein tried to persuade her to take on projects including a horror movie, and a remake of a robot film.

Ms. Noxon said she was not interested, but he badgered her on the phone and grew belligerent when she would not agree, telling her she was hurting her career. Ms. Noxon says she asked him why he was speaking to her that way.

“I don’t know if I really want to work with you, or if you’re just the girl who won’t” have sex with me, he said, using a vulgar term, according to Ms. Noxon.

Mr. Fields, Mr. Weinstein’s lawyer, said there was “nothing belligerent or pressuring in his conversations” with Ms. Noxon, “and it sure as hell had nothing to do with sex.”

People who have worked for Bob Weinstein, a twice-divorced father of four and avid New York Jets fan, describe him as a number cruncher. He focused on projects with more commercial potential than his older brother, overseeing films like “Spy Kids” and “Bad Santa” through the company’s Dimension Films label. Though known to have a volcanic temper, he also fostered loyalty among a small group of staff members and has a reputation as a homebody.

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Pantea Ghaderi, a spokeswoman for Dimension, said she and others at the company were “shocked and sickened” to read the accusations against Harvey Weinstein.

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“I have been lucky enough to get to know Bob closely for years now,” Ms. Ghaderi, who as reported to Bob Weinstein for nearly a decade, said in an email. “He has always shown me the utmost respect as a boss, mentor and friend.”

But one woman, a television writer named Amanda Segel, came forward this week to claim that Bob Weinstein harassed her.

Last summer, as Ms. Segel was working as an executive producer of “The Mist,” a Weinstein Company series, he asked her to dinner at Dan Tana’s in West Hollywood. Ms. Segal said he asked her to sit closer in the booth and dropped hints that he would like to date her. At the end of the night he said, “I’m a hugger,” and embraced her, Ms. Segel recalled in a phone interview. (Variety first reported her harassment allegation.)

More invitations followed. In a July 2016 email reviewed by The Times, Ms. Segel told the creator of “The Mist,” Christian Torpe, that she found Bob Weinstein’s attention “super creepy.” Mr. Torpe responded, “That is not O.K., in any way.” A few weeks later, Ms. Segel said she told colleagues that she was being sexually harassed and asked her lawyer to complain to the Weinstein Company. The contact stopped.

Mr. Fields said that Ms. Segel’s account was “riddled with false and misleading assertions.” He added, “There’s no way any fair-minded person could label this — even if you were to believe it — as sexual harassment.”

In emails between Bob Weinstein and Ms. Segel that were shared with The Times by Mr. Fields, the two seem to have a friendly rapport. “Last night was delightful,” Ms. Segel wrote in one.

But there was also some awkwardness. In making one of his dinner invitations, Bob Weinstein wrote, “If u can’t do that, then your fired!!! Oh I forgot, we are supposed to be friends. Ha!” (Mr. Fields said that Mr. Weinstein was joking and that Ms. Segel appeared to take it as a joke.)

Jeffrey Katzenberg, who orchestrated the Walt Disney Company’s $80 million purchase of Miramax in 1993, said in a phone interview that Bob Weinstein was sometimes more aggressive than his brother in dealings with Disney. Although declining to give specifics, Mr. Katzenberg said, “I once said to him, ‘If you ever talk to somebody at my studio that way again, it’s over. You’re finished here.’”

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Bob Weinstein came into his own in 1996, when Dimension backed Wes Craven’s “Scream,” which cost about $15 million to make and collected $173 million worldwide, spawning a franchise. Dimension hit again in 2000, when the horror spoof “Scary Movie,” which cost $19 million to make, took in $278 million.

When the brothers left Disney in 2005 to found the Weinstein Company, they took Dimension with them.

But only one Dimension film in recent years has taken in more than $39 million at the domestic box office: “Paddington,” a family movie, collected $76.3 million in 2015; a sequel is planned for January.

Bob Weinstein and his Dimension team are based on Hudson Street in Lower Manhattan, a two-minute walk from the Greenwich Street offices occupied by Harvey Weinstein.

In recent years, according to employees and public comments by Bob Weinstein, they barely spoke to each other. When they were forced to interact, they sometimes resorted to yelling. “You need me more than I need you!” Harvey Weinstein snarled at his brother at one meeting over the summer, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Within the past year, the brothers agreed to split up the company, according to two people with direct knowledge of the plan. Bob Weinstein would take Dimension; Harvey would take the Oscars-focused Weinstein Company film unit. The agreement expired last month and was contingent on a sale of the television division, which never happened.

Now, with a sale to Colony perhaps imminent, the Weinstein Company may be facing a future without either brother.

But Mr. Fields, Mr. Weinstein’s lawyer, dismissed that notion. “Bob is going to be a key part of the new company when it’s reconstituted,” he said. “Bob expects to be the key guy.”

Susan Beachy and Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/20/business/media/bob-weinstein-harvey-weinstein.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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