On Monday, October 23, the office of New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman launched an investigation into the Weinstein Company. Mr. Schneiderman’s inquiry into the working conditions at the Weinstein Company is at least partially designed to determine if sexual harassment, abuse of power, or any of the other number of claims leveled against Weinstein Company co-founder, producer Harvey Weinstein, are or were present in the environment or policies of the Weinstein Company.
In a statement on Monday following the submission of a subpoena to the Weinstein Company, Mr. Schneiderman said that “no New Yorker should be forced to walk into a workplace ruled by sexual intimidation, harassment, or fear. If sexual harassment or discrimination is pervasive at a company, we want to know.”
In the interest of this objective, the subpoena’s content focuses particularly on the Weinstein Company’s hiring and termination practices. Many commentators suggest that the Weinstein Company may have granted preferential treatment to young women in the initial hiring process, only to later terminate them rather than field their complaints. Similar theories are being proposed as to the subpoena’s focus on casting criteria.
The New York Attorney General office’s probes into the extent of the Weinstein Company’s knowledge of any abuses, comes amidst a firestorm of contentions that Mr. Weinstein’s behavior was an open secret in the film industry. Hollywood icons, like actresses Meryl Streep and Dame Judi Dench, suggest it was well known among film industry insiders that Mr. Weinstein was prone to sexual harassment.
The Weinstein Company is already beginning to see itself named on lawsuits along with Mr. Weinstein as the scandal concerning nearly three decades of alleged sexual harassment unfolds. Moreover, the Weinstein Company’s already precarious financial position in the beginning of October has become increasingly dire. Mr. Schneiderman’s investigation is only the latest in a series of disastrous events for the company. These events include the resignation of nearly all of the Weinstein Company board of directors and the cancellation of some of its most valuable deals.
The lone stream of capital from Thomas Barrak’s private equity firm, Colony Capital, seems to be the sole source of financial aid for the Weinstein Company. The credit comes amid rumors that Mr. Barrak will be the buyer when what remains of the company is sold.