Big stars cash in on inglorious fall of Harvey Weinstein
Top players join A-list bankruptcy suit against Weinstein Company as Ashley Judd sues producer for trying to derail her career
The great and the good of Hollywood have filed objections against the sale of the Weinstein Company, claiming the bankrupt studio owes them money despite years of confusing bookkeeping making final sums unclear.
Stars including Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Quentin Tarantino and Jennifer Lawrence have filed documents regarding outstanding payments from the company before it is sold in a court-supervised auction.
The Weinstein Company filed for bankruptcy in March, after months of trying to find a buyer for the production company. It also ended all non-disclosure agreements, some of which may have been signed with co-founder Harvey Weinstein’s victims.
Some of the stars claim they are owed millions by the company.
Oscar-winning director Tarantino, for instance, who made four films with the studio, says he is owed more than $4-million in royalties: $300,000 for Grindhouse, $575,000 for Inglourious Basterds, $1.25-million for Django Unchained and nearly $2.5-million for The Hateful Eight. The director has asked that the sale of the company be stalled until it fulfils its contractual obligations and says it will pay.
Lawrence has said she is owed $102,623 for Silver Linings Playbook, Clooney has filed for $250,000 for his production of August: Osage County, while adding that the amount doesn’t account for back-end participation. For the same film and The Giver Streep has claimed $168,611.
Many of the celebrity filings state that the amounts are difficult to ascertain without an audit due to the Weinstein Company’s poor accounts.
Streep, for instance, found her name misspelled as “Street”, and said she has been unable to find accurate accounting of outstanding payments.
Several production companies have raised concerns over the company’s bookkeeping, with some films lacking accounting for a year and on others, records have been lax for up to seven.
The March 20 bankruptcy filing listed thousands of names on its 394-page list, including Malia Obama, Judi Dench, David Bowie and Daniel Radcliffe.
The case unfolds against more legal drama for the producer himself.
On Monday, actress Ashley Judd sued Weinstein, saying the former movie mogul hurt her acting career in retaliation for her rejecting his sexual advances.
In the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Judd accused Weinstein of defamation, sexual harassment and violating California’s unfair competition law.
Director Peter Jackson’s claim, in December, that Weinstein had warned him 20 years ago that Judd was a “nightmare” to work with and should be avoided “at all costs”, is central to the suit. Jackson was considering Judd for a major role in his Lord of the Rings movies, and had met with her about the role.
About a year earlier, Weinstein – in what was supposed to be a business meeting – appeared to Judd in a bathrobe, asked her to watch him shower and to let him massage her, the suit alleges. The allegations are the same that Judd made in The New York Times in October.
Judd was in the first group of women who came forward last year about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct and has since been among the key faces of the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein has denied trying to derail Judd’s career, and said he had no role in Jackson’s casting.
The lawsuit goes beyond many sexual harassment suits by invoking unfair competition law in an attempt to “shine a light on the broader economic damages caused when individuals in positions of authority attempt to punish those who have resisted their improper advances”, Judd’s lawyer, Theodore J Boutrous jr, said.
Jackson also said Weinstein warned him against casting Mira Sorvino, who has also alleged she is among Weinstein’s victims.
Jackson apologised for playing any unwitting role in the damage done to the women’s careers, and the lawsuit is quick to absolve him of any wrongdoing.
– © The Daily Telegraph