Now the Weinstein Company COO is fired, investors are skittish, and the future looks grim.
While the sex scandal of Harvey Weinstein has seen him become a pariah in the entertainment industry the deeply troubled entity known as The Weinstein Company has been attempting, rather fruitlessly, to remain an ongoing concern. That effort has been more than a challenge for remaining figurehead Bob Weinstein, and the board of directors, to the extent that the money from savior investors is in question for the business. Now the company has removed the President, and what remains of its prospects looks as bright at the fade-out of a credits sequence.
The Weinstein board announced that COO David Glasser was fired. “The board of the Weinstein Company has unanimously voted to terminate David Glasser for cause” reads the official announcement. That nebulous explanation comes on the heels of a suit being brought against the company by the New York Attorney General, over civil rights violations.
Since the scandal that broke in October 2017 the company has been looking for options to continue. After counting on revenues from movies in the company’s pipeline to keep TWC afloat it was realized that a quicker infusion of cash was needed and assets were placed on the market; for instance the completed film “Paddington 2” was sold for an estimated $50 million to Warner Brothers, which released the movie in January. Numerous outside investors were courted, including the studio Lionsgate, and the production company Killer Content.
The leading entity was an investment group headed by former Obama Administration member Maria Contreras-Sweet. The announcement of the suit slammed the brakes on a proposed deal that was nearing completion. The group was looking to purchase TWC in a proposed $275-500 million deal. It was regarded as a last-ditch attempt to avoid insolvency and keep the company operational.
Glasser, who at one time was regarded as Harvey’s right-hand man, was spearheading this effort. The result would be seeing a female-majority on that Board of Directors, as well as renaming the company. Glasser was to be retained in the role of CEO.
At issue with the charges was that there was the image of the people who perpetrated the civil rights abuses ultimately being rewarded. While Glasser was not mentioned by name in the suit, in a press conference the AG Eric Schneiderman brought him up directly.
- “The COO David Glasser, who supervised the human resources department, did not stop this discrimination, harassment and abuse, even though he was in charge of handling dozens of shocking complaints,” Schneiderman said at a news conference after filing the complaint.
The main problem focused upon in the suit was that these charges and issues involving Harvey Weinstein were handled directly by Glasser, and did not involve the Human Resources Director. Also a point of concern for Schneiderman was that the new deal was said to have a $50 million fund set up as a compensation pool for Weinstein’s accusers, but he was not confident this would be employed adequately.
- “Any deal to buy the company’s assets [must] ensure, first, that any victims be adequately compensated, two, that employees will be protected moving forward, and three, that company executives who perpetuated or enabled the pervasive sexual misconduct at TWC will not be rewarded.”
The future of the deal is now in limbo, although the Cantreras-Sweet consortium has not said whether the deal is dead or not. The removal of Glasser has to be regarded as a desperate attempt by the company to further disavow any connection to Harvey, all in the hopes of salvaging the white-knight investment. The remaining presence of Bob Weinstein must also be considered an issue.