As Its Brand Becomes Toxic, Weinstein Co. Reportedly Will Either Be Sold or Shut Down

But it won’t go forward on its own after the scandal

Weinstein Co.'s board is reportedly speaking with buyers about a potential sale. Animation: Dianna McDougall; Sources: Getty Images, The Weinstein Company
Headshot of Jason Lynch

As dozens of horrific allegations involving sexual assault and harassment continue to mount about media mogul Harvey Weinstein, Weinstein Co.—which fired him on Sunday night—has reportedly decided that the movie and TV studio will be either be sold or shut down.

The board of directors for Weinstein Co.—founded in 2005 by Weinstein and his brother Bob—is already speaking with potential buyers, according to the Wall Street Journal. If no deal can be reached, the company would shut down, and its movie and TV library would be sold off. But either way, the company is unlikely to continue on its own, given how toxic its brand has become.

A Weinstein Co. spokesperson had no immediate comment about the report, but CNN reported Friday afternoon that the spokesperson will no longer be speaking for the company. UPDATE: Bob Weinstein called the report “untrue” in a statement Friday afternoon and said, “Business is continuing as usual as the company moves ahead.”

Weinstein was fired by Weinstein Co.’s board Sunday night, following a New York Times story last Thursday, which alleged that for decades he had sexually harassed several woman—including actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan—and paid some of them off. Initially, his company announced that Weinstein would take a leave of absence while an outside lawyer led an investigation. But as even more disturbing allegations emerged over the weekend, the board dismissed him on Sunday night.

On Tuesday, the New Yorker published yet another disturbing story about Weinstein. In the explosive piece, three women alleged that Weinstein raped them, while 10 others allege sexual harassment going back decades. The report also includes damning audio of Weinstein, who was caught on tape as part of an NYPD sting operation. In the audio excerpt, Weinstein admitted that he groped model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez and pleaded with her to enter his hotel room.

The Times published a follow-up story on Tuesday, with sexual harassment allegations from several more women, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. Since then several more women have come forward with new allegations involving Weinstein.

Soon after the board—which includes WPP evp Lance Maerov—fired Weinstein, the company began the process of removing his name from all of the TV shows he produced alongside his now-former company, including Project Runway on Lifetime, History’s Six, Matthew Weiner’s follow-up to Mad Men for Amazon and a trio of projects for Paramount Network, which Spike will rebrand in January.

Weinstein Co. reached out to several of those networks over the weekend to inform them that they are going through the legal process of removing him as executive producer from those shows going forward, network sources told Adweek on Monday.

But that action wasn’t enough for some partners. Amazon Studios—which last night suspended chief Roy Price after a producer at the streaming service accused him of sexual harassment—told Adweek in a statement that “we are reviewing our options for the projects we have with The Weinstein Co.” Those series include The Romanoffs, Matthew Weiner’s follow-up to Mad Men, and a drama from David O. Russell starring Robert De Niro.

UPDATE: Friday night, Amazon announced it was severing ties with Weinstein Co. on the two TV projects, and will finish production on The Romaoffs without its former partner. “Amazon Studios no longer plans on moving forward with the David O. Russell Project. As for The Romanoffs, Amazon intends to move forward without the involvement of The Weinstein Company,” the company said in a statement.

In a separate statement, Russell, De Niro and costar Julianne Moore said, “We support Amazon’s decision as in light of recent news and out of respect for all those affected we have decided together that it is best to not move forward with this show.”

Showtime also indicated it might abandon the Guantanamo project it is developing with Weinstein Co. if the studio remains involved, telling Adweek in a statement, “The project is in development and has not been greenlit yet. We do not intend to move forward with the current configuration of the project and are exploring our options.”

A Paramount Network spokesperson said the network—which launches Jan. 18—is still moving forward with its three Weinstein Co. projects: Waco, a limited series about the FBI and ATF’s 1993 standoff with David Koresh; the drama Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner; and a miniseries about Trayvon Martin, the unarmed high school student who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., in 2012. Waco has already wrapped production, while Yellowstone and the Martin miniseries are almost finished shooting.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.