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Harvey Weinstein Faces Backlash in Wake of Sexual Assault Allegations

The New York Times broke the story earlier this week that famous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein paid off numerous women who accused him of sexual harassment and assault over the last few decades. Following the allegations, several members of the all-male board of the Weinstein Company resigned and the few that remained announced that Weinstein would take a leave of absence while an outside investigation occurred. The board has since fired Weinstein.

Through its own investigation, The New York Times uncovered previously undisclosed allegations against Weinstein stretching over three decades; including current and former employees, actors, and film industry professionals. Weinstein has settlement agreements with at least eight women. Weinstein has since apologized for his past behavior, stating, "I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it." 

Harvey Weinstein co-founded Miramax with his brother, Bob Weinstein. The Weinstein brothers left Miramax in 2005 to form their own production company, The Weinstein Company. While under the Weinstein brothers' leadership, Miramax and The Weinstein Company have produced or distributed films that have been nominated for 341 Academy Awards and won 81. Weinstein won an Oscar for Best Picture as producer for Shakespeare in Love in 1999. This Saturday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' Board of Governors will decide whether to revoke or suspend Weinstein's membersip. The British Film Academy suspended Weinstein indefinitely earlier this week. 

Actress Rose McGowan confirmed that her rape by an executive she had referred to anonymously last year was Harvey Weinstein. Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, and Heather Graham are among many actresses who have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault. Weinstein's wife, Georgina Chapman, announced on Tuesday that she is leaving her husband.

According to reports from TMZ, Weinstein's contract prevented The Weinstein Company from firing Weinstein for sexual harassment. According to the contract, if Weinstein "treated someone improperly in violation of the company's Code of Conduct," he must reimburse the company for any settlement monies and pay liquidated damages as a penalty back to the company. Some have pointed out that Weinstein's firing may have been illegal, per this alleged contract. 

Weinstein's daughter called 911 on Wednesday, claiming that her father was suicidal and upset. When the police arrived, she claimed it was just a family dispute. Weinstein has reportedly checked into the Phoenician Resort in Arizona. He was spotted having dinner with several doctors near the rehab facility on Thursday evening. 

In London and New York, police are investigating allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein. Weinstein could be subject to arrest if law enforcement has enough evidence to prosecute him based on these allegations. 

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