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Oscars board stages emergency Harvey Weinstein meeting


Oscars board stages emergency Harvey Weinstein meeting

Image copyright PA
Image caption Weinstein has already been suspended by Bafta

The organisation behind the Oscars is reviewing the membership of Harvey Weinstein, at a meeting called in the wake of allegations of sexual assaults made against the film producer.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has previously called Mr Weinstein's actions "abhorrent".

Its board includes Hollywood figures such as Tom Hanks and Whoopi Goldberg.

Bob Weinstein, the co-founder of the Weinstein Company studio, called for the Academy to kick his brother out.

"I was gonna actually write [to the Academy]. And I will do it. I am gonna write a note to them saying he definitely should be kicked out of the Academy," the Hollywood Reporter quoted him as saying.

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The emergency board meeting follows an avalanche of accusations against the producer by more than two dozen women, including actresses Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Rose McGowan, who alleges that he raped her in a hotel room.

Police forces in the US and the UK are investigating the allegations.

Weinstein, who is believed to be in Europe seeking therapy, has insisted through a spokeswoman that any sexual contacts he had were consensual, and he denies accusations of criminal sexual harassment, rape and sexual assault.

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Media captionOn some red carpets, Harvey Weinstein is not a welcome subject

As the co-founder of Miramax Pictures and the Weinstein Company, Weinstein produced some of cinema's most celebrated films, including Pulp Fiction, The English Patient, and Shakespeare in Love.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board are expected to discuss the future of Weinstein's membership. The British Academy Film Awards (Bafta) has already suspended the disgraced mogul.

President Pierre Lescure, the president of the Cannes Film Festival, where Weinstein was a regular, said the organisation was "dismayed to learn of the accusations".

'Sick and depraved' brother

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Bob Weinstein called his brother "sick and depraved" and said he had no idea of "the type of predator that he was".

He refused to comment on reports that he and the board of Weinstein Company were aware of Weinstein's settlements with women during recent contract negotiations, saying only that the board "did not know the extent of my brother's actions".

He went on to call his brother's apology statement "utter insanity" and a "lame excuse".

"I'll tell you what I did know," he said. "Harvey was a bully, Harvey was arrogant…that I knew".

Earlier, Bob Weinstein denied media reports that the Weinstein Company – which has placed Harvey Weinstein on indefinite leave – could now be closed or sold.

But several large film projects have been pulled from the company already, and reports in the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal said that financers had begun to pressure the board to sell.

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Media captionIt was "an open secret" a producer tells the BBC

Weinstein has denied allegations of rape detailed in The New Yorker magazine, saying that there were no acts of non-consensual sex.

His wife Georgina Chapman said on Tuesday that she was leaving him.

On Wednesday, US prosecutors defended their decision not to take action against Weinstein in 2015 after Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, then 22, alleged that he had touched her inappropriately.

A subsequent sting operation recorded the producer repeatedly attempting to coerce Battilana Gutierrez, but the Manhattan district attorney's office said the audio was "insufficient to prove a crime".

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