Michael Moore finally responds to Harvey Weinstein scandal after Nonfictionfilm.com report questioning his silence
In Facebook post, Moore slams 'repugnant, abhorrent' behavior of disgraced mogul, but doesn't address future of his upcoming doc with The Weinstein Company
Michael Moore has finally come out with a social media post denouncing his sometime collaborator Harvey Weinstein, hours after the publication of a Nonfictionfilm.com report questioning why he had remained silent on the scandal that took down the movie mogul.
"Anyone with a flicker of a conscience or a modicum of decency stands, as I do, with the women who've summoned the courage to tell the truth about Harvey Weinstein," Moore wrote Friday afternoon in a Facebook post titled "Use This Moment to Create A World Without Harveys."
He called Weinstein's behavior toward women he is accused of sexually harassing or assaulting "repugnant and abhorrent," adding he would have challenged Weinstein to his face had he known earlier about the "successful sociopath's" misdeeds.
The Facebook condemnation came approximately six hours after the Nonfictionfilm.com piece raised the issue of Moore's public silence on the scandal that broke eight days ago with the publication of an investigative report in the New York Times. As noted in the original NFF piece, many prominent actors, directors and executives had previously come forward to denounce Weinstein in unequivocal terms, including Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Lawrence, Judd Apatow and Disney CEO Bob Iger. Even Quentin Tarantino, the director most closely associated with Weinstein, responded more quickly than Moore, on Thursday night describing himself on Twitter as "heartbroken" over the revelations.
Harvey Weinstein knew better than to behave inappropriately toward women in my presence.
Granted, Moore has been busy entertaining Broadway audiences with his one-man show "The Terms of My Surrender," which runs until October 22 at the Belasco Theater. However, that did not prevent him from posting other items on social media in the previous eight days -- about his Broadway show, President Trump's revised travel ban targeting majority-Muslim countries, and Moore's proposal to rewrite the Second Amendment, for instance.
In his Facebook post, Moore called for dismantling "the white male hierarchy which has ruled our way of life in America since the first boatload of religious zealots arrived on Plymouth Rock." He urged an end to "the abuse of women in our industry" and outlined a four-point plan of action to accomplish that.
However, his post did not address his continuing business ties to The Weinstein Company (TWC), the mini-major studio founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein in 2005.
At the Cannes Film Festival in May, The Weinstein Company announced it would release Moore's next documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9, a film with the stated goal of dissolving the teflon coating that Moore says has protected President Trump from political annihilation (the title refers to the day -- November 11, 2016 -- when Trump was declared the winner of the presidential election).
"Now more than ever, Michael’s appetite for the truth is crucial. We are ecstatic to be a part of this revolution," the Weinsteins said in a press release in Cannes to announce the project.
The Fahrenheit 11/9 title is a twist on the name of Moore's most successful documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, released in 2004. That film -- Moore's brutal take on President George W. Bush's response to the terror attacks of 9/11 -- proved a watershed moment for the Weinsteins. The brothers originally backed the film through Miramax, the production company they co-founded that back in 2004 was a division of Disney. When Disney balked at releasing the controversial Fahrenheit 9/11, the Weinsteins put up their own money to buy the distribution rights. Bitterness over the Disney spat prompted the Weinsteins to divest their interest in Miramax and to launch TWC.
The future of Fahrenheit 11/9 -- which was slated for a 2018 release -- along with every other Weinstein Company project has been cast into doubt as the studio teeters toward implosion. TWC fired Weinstein last weekend and removed his name from the credits for shows now on the air, including Project Runway. Various media reports have suggested the company plans to rename itself to sweep away any association with its tainted co-founder, but that may do little to preserve projects in development.
After the uproar over Weinstein's behavior, Apple canceled plans for an Elvis Presley biopic series that had been in the works at TWC. On Friday Amazon Studios severed ties with The Weinstein Company, TheWrap.com reported, and canceled production of a David O. Russell series that was being jointly developed with TWC. Variety reported an additional Amazon-TWC co-production -- a series from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner -- will proceed, but without The Weinstein Company's involvement.
On Friday Bob Weinstein issued a statement denying TWC was considering a fire sale of assets or seeking bankruptcy protection. "Business is continuing as usual as the company moves ahead," Weinstein claimed.
On Saturday the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, meeting in emergency session, voted to expel Weinstein from the academy. BAFTA -- the British Academy of Film and Television Arts -- previously suspended his membership in the organization.
Writing on Facebook Friday, Moore noted "I AM the only director that I know of who's actually taken Weinstein to court (for being a thief, which requires a different set of sociopathic skills, but, like sexual harassment, you can probably find them at a few Hollywood studios)." That legal dispute, settled in 2012, involved profits from Fahrenheit 9/11, which grossed over $220 million worldwide, making it to this day the most successful documentary ever released.
Friday's post from Moore was a far cry from a tweet he sent in February 2015 in which he called Harvey Weinstein "one of the best people to work with in this town."
Note: this piece has been substantially revised to reflect the Facebook post from Michael Moore on Friday afternoon denouncing Weinstein.
Note: this piece was updated late Friday with reports that Amazon Studios has cut ties with The Weinstein Company
Note: this piece was updated Saturday with news of Harvey Weinstein's expulsion from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.