Magazine article Variety

Weinstein Effect Cuts a Wide Swath

Magazine article Variety

Weinstein Effect Cuts a Wide Swath

Article excerpt

THE NEW YORK times and New Yorker stories detailing a decades-long history of alleged sexual abuse have undone the career of Harvey Weinstein. Bounced from his role as co-chairman of the company he founded with his brother Bob, his name scrubbed from multiple projects, expelled from the Academy, and publicly denounced by dozens of high-profile actors, executives and filmmakers, the mogul has been tossed out of the business of which he was once a titan.

But he's not the only one facing a reckoning. With even more revelations about Weinstein's misdeeds coming to light, the scandal has had a ripple effect throughout the industry, dragging down multiple companies and public figures in its wake.

Amazon Studios

As allegations against Weinstein flooded Hollywood, the waters also began to rise around Roy Price, president of Amazon Studios. Rumors of Price's imminent departure from the tech company's entertainment division had begun swirling this summer with the publication of an article on business website The Information revealing that Price had sexually harassed Isa Hackett, a producer on Amazon drama "The Man in the High Castle."

After Hackett went public with her story Oct. 12 - claiming the exec pressured her for sex, made a lewd joke playing off the title of Amazon's "I Love Dick" and whispered references to anal intercourse in her ear - Amazon swiftly suspended Price from his position. With public fury high over Weinstein, Amazon could ill afford to seem even remotely passive, and went into immediate damage-control mode. He has been replaced in the interim with Albert Cheng, the entertainment wing's COO. Multiple sources in the creative community expressed skepticism to Variety that Price will ever return to his post. His fiancée, Lila Feinberg, called off their wedding, planned for next month.

The move to suspend Price came on the heels of a mandate from Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos to shift the direction of Amazon's programming from niche series such as "Transparent" toward bigger-budget -> 4- genre shows with the potential for broader appeal. Two high-profile projects set to be co-produced by the Weinstein Co. were also impacted: Amazon announced that a drama from David O. Russell - and starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore - would not be moving forward, while Amazon would take over as sole producer on Matthew Weiner's "The Romanoffs."

NBC News

The Oct. 10 New Yorker story that escalated the controversy around Weinstein, including the first assault allegations against the executive and a damning audiotape, was written by Ronan Farrow. But Farrow had originally been working on the story for months at NBC News, where he is a contributor.

NBC News declined to move ahead with the story, which contains multiple on-the-record accounts, claiming that it didn't pass journalistic muster. Farrow challenged that notion, telling Rachel Maddow, "It was not accurate to say that it was not reportable."

That raised the specter that NBC News had caved in to corporate self-interest. NBC News president Noah Oppenheim tried to perform damage control at a company town hall meeting, telling employees, "The notion that we would try to cover for a powerful person is deeply offensive to all of us."

But the mere fact of letting one of the year's biggest stories slip away left the Peacock with a massive black eye, echoing a similar lost scoop last year, when the Washington Post - not NBC News - revealed the existence of 2005 footage collected by NBC-owned "Access Hollywood" of Trump claiming to have sexually assaulted women. To make matters worse, the news division is also staggering from the poor ratings performance of costly new morning-show anchor Megyn Kelly and blistering attacks from Kelly's longtime foil, Trump, who has threatened to revoke NBC's broadcast license (something he is not actually able to do).


Often criticized for the inconsistencies in the way in which it enforces its terms of service, Twitter on Oct. …

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