Harvey Weinstein may have worsened his case by sending emails to friends asking for their defense. After several allegations of sexual harassment and at least two charges of assault over decades, the Hollywood producer's board of directors was getting ready to fire him from the company. Not willing to go quietly, Weinstein emailed people, including Jeffrey Katzenberg, the chairman of Walt Disney Studies. But he didn't get the response he was expecting.
Weinstein's email is below. He demonstrates some vulnerability but fails to take full responsibility, instead saying "a lot of the allegations are false as you know":
My board is thinking of firing me. All I'm asking, is let me take a leave of absence and get into heavy therapy and counseling. Whether it be in a facility or somewhere else, allow me to resurrect myself with a second chance. A lot of the allegations are false as you know but given therapy and counseling as other people have done, I think I'd be able to get there.
I could really use your support or just your honesty if you can't support me.
But if you can, I need you to send a letter to my private gmail address. The letter would only go to the board and no one else. We believe what the board is trying to do is not only wrong but might be illegal and would destroy the company. If you could write this letter backing me, getting me the help and time away I need, and also stating your opposition to the board firing me, it would help me a lot. I am desperate for your help. Just give me the time to have therapy. Do not let me be fired. If the industry supports me, that is all I need.
With all due respect, I need the letter today.
Instead, Katzenberg emailed Weinstein and made his response public. In part, he says, "You have done terrible things to a number of women over a period of years," yet Katzenberg calls him a friend and offers his help.
An interesting part of this story is the criticism of men who have come forward with a preface such as, "As a father of two daughters." A writer for Vulture explains this perspective.
- What's your view of Weinstein's letter to his friends? What other approaches could he take knowing his board is planning to fire him?
- How do you assess Katzenberg's response and his choice to make the email public? Is he a bad friend? What is he trying to accomplish for himself and for Weinstein in his response?
- Finally, what's your view of people referencing their wives and daughters? Is the Vulture writer's perspective spot on, too harsh, or something else?