The distancing of political figures from Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein – a prominent player in Democratic Party politics through his mega-donations to candidates such as Hillary Clinton – has begun immediately in the wake of a New York Times story citing women who claim he sexually harassed them over a period of three decades.
The Times said the movie mogul faces accusations from at least eight women, including actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd.
The report said he has reached financial settlements with some, and on Thursday after the story broke, Weinstein admitted, without details, that he had engaged in behavior that caused offense and said he would take a leave of absence.
His company’s board prepared on Friday for a vote to suspend him.
Some key recipients of his many donations to the Democratic Party and prominent Democrats were silent. Others said they will give to charity the money he donated.
Those include Sens. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who received a total of about $16,000 from Weinstein.
Variety said the Democratic National Committee described the accounts of Weinstein’s actions as “deeply troubling” and said it would donate “$30,000 in Weinstein contributions” to women’s groups.
Hillary Clinton, for whom Weinstein held a fundraiser at his New York City home in 2016, had not made her plans clear yet.
The Times said the harassment went on over a period of 30 years, and, unlike when allegations were publicized against conservatives Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes, the late-night show hosts apparently didn’t get the word.
“Late-night comedians Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, James Corden, and Stephen Colbert all avoided any mention of the allegations against Weinstein, both in their monologues and interviews with movie-star guests. The Daily Beast noted that Corden and Fallon have appeared in Weinstein films,” reported the Washington Free Beacon.
The London Daily Mail reported Weinstein was suggesting the accusations were part of a “right-wing conspiracy.”
“The Hollywood mogul thinks that shadowy right wing forces are ‘out to get me’ and that he is being targeted for his liberal views,” the report said.
His echo of Hillary Clinton’s claim in the 1990s regarding her husband, Bill Clinton, came “despite his admission,” the report said.
The Daily Mail said Weinstein believes a team of lawyers linked to conservative groups have been digging up dirt on him and that other prominent Democratic supporters will be attacked next.
The Times said Weinstein “was accused of reaching at least eight settlements with women for inappropriate behavior going back three decades.”
Ashley Judd accused him of asking her to watch him shower, and the paper said Rose McGowan was paid $100,000 to settle “an incident.”
In a statement, Weinstein admitted “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”
Then he threatened to sue the Times.
The Daily Mail report, without naming its source, said Weinstein believes “it’s a conspiracy and that’s the most interesting party of this, where it originated from.”
The Daily Beast said, however, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have a problem.
“The RNC was quick to call on Democrats to return Harvey Weinstein’s donations after the sex scandal broke. And you know what? The Republicans are right on this one,” said the Daily Beast’s Keli Goff.
She pointed out that Weinstein had made “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in donations over the years.
“Weinstein’s growing scandal represents yet another instance of liberal hypocrisy on issues liberals relentlessly criticize conservatives on. After all, conservatives were allegedly responsible for a War on Women, but yet again we have a liberal man accused of privately mounting his own War on Women, and hiding in part behind his public support of feminist causes and candidates to do so. Conservatives will be quick to point out it’s not the first time, and they’d be right,” she wrote.
“Now I want you to take a moment and consider what the reaction would be from prominent progressives if any of the country’s leading conservative donors (The Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, take your pick) actively defended an admitted pedophile. I have a feeling the protests and think pieces would never end – at least not until candidates backed by said donors returned money from them.”
Variety reported the Center for Responsive Politics revealed Weinstein had given more than $1.4 million to candidates and parties since 1990.
“Weinstein was a bundler for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, and helped organize a star-filled Broadway fundraiser at the St. James Theatre in the waning weeks of the campaign last year. When she was honored in 2013 by the environmental group Oceana, Weinstein was seated next to her and said, ‘Please run for president’ when he got on stage to introduce her. He also hosted or co-hosted multiple fundraisers for Obama, including an event at his West Village home in 2011, which he co-hosted with Anna Wintour,” the report said.
It continued: “Weinstein is partially responsible for First Lady Michelle Obama announcing the best picture winner at the Oscars in 2013. Later that year, he appeared at a career workshop that the first lady hosted for high school students. She referred to him as ‘a wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse.’ The Obamas’ daughter, Malia, interned at the Weinstein Co.”