Lisa Bloom, the feminist lawyer who had been serving as an adviser to embattled movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, abruptly resigned from that role Saturday, suggesting that Weinstein may be on the verge of leaving the studio he founded.
Bloom announced her resignation in a tweet: “I have resigned as an adviser to Harvey Weinstein. My understanding is that Mr. Weinstein and his board are moving toward an agreement.”
Weinstein took a leave of absence from the Weinstein Co., the film production company he co-founded with his brother Bob Weinstein, after the New York Times published a devastating report Thursday detailing decades of alleged harassment of actresses and underlings. The article generated a massive wave of criticism of Weinstein, a prominent Democratic Party donor and the producer behind such acclaimed films as “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love.”
Bloom didn’t detail her reasons for leaving her advisory role; she did not return calls and emails seeking comment.
Bloom also didn’t specify the nature of the agreement Weinstein is reportedly crafting with his company’s board, but there have been suggestions that he could extend the length of his unspecified leave or depart from the company altogether. Another member of Weinstein’s advisory team, Lanny Davis, resigned on Saturday, too, according to the New York Times. Davis, a Washington lawyer who has served as a crisis-management consultant for such clients as President Bill Clinton and former New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez, could not be reached for comment.
Bloom’s emergence as a prominent member of Weinstein’s advisory team this week was a surprise. The Los Angeles-based lawyer, 56, made her reputation advocating on behalf of women, including those who were accusers in sexual-harassment cases.
In April, Bloom, a former cable TV host, advised three women who alleged that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly had harassed them when they worked with him at the network. Bloom’s frequent TV appearances fanned the backlash against O’Reilly, whose alleged conduct was also the subject of a New York Times report. Fox eventually fired O’Reilly, ending his career as perhaps the most popular commentator on cable news.
She was also a critic of Fox News co-founder and chairman Roger Ailes, who was accused by many women of harassment over five decades. When Ailes died in May, she tweeted: “Roger Ailes has died. Let all his victims now be ungagged for the true, full reckoning of his life. And give them back their jobs.” At one point, she called Fox News “a cesspool of sexual harassment.”
Among others, Bloom has represented an accuser of Bill Cosby in a sexual assault case, and she has pursued claims of sexual harassment and assault against Uber. In an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday, Bloom said she had been counseling Weinstein over the past year about his behavior toward women, and was not serving in a strictly legal role.
“I’m not on a side,” she said. “This is not a side. . . . I’m on the side of moving the ball forward for women’s rights. There are a lot of ways to do that. I speak about it, I appear on TV, I write books about it. I saw this as a unique opportunity to advise a high-profile guy how to respond. And he listened.”
She said she would not be part of a potential defamation lawsuit against the newspaper; Weinstein said he intends to sue the Times for $50 million. (A Times spokeswoman responded to the lawsuit threat Friday by saying that “Mr. Weinstein and his lawyer . . . have not pointed to any errors or challenged any facts in our story.”)
Weinstein has also tacitly acknowledged that his behavior toward women over the past three decades has been problematic. Following the publication of the Times article, he said in a statement that “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”
Bloom said Thursday that she has had “frank talks” with Weinstein about his legendary temper, his use of profanity in public settings and his propensity for “loose talk about sex” around women he employs or has worked with.
She defended his reaction to the allegations in the Times article, saying: “He’s thrown out the old playbook. He hasn’t gone out and dug up dirt on his accusers or tried to undermine their reputations. Instead, he has apologized for misconduct. He is deeply apologetic. He has acknowledged that he has to overcome his demons. . . . He said, ‘Lisa, you’ve really gotten through to me.’ ”
Bloom called him “an old dinosaur learning new ways,” in a statement Thursday.
Bloom spearheaded an aggressive media campaign against O’Reilly and in behalf of his accusers; one of her clients, Wendy Walsh, a frequent guest on O’Reilly’s TV program, spoke to the New York Times on the record for the report published in April that triggered his firing.
After his ouster, she and Walsh traveled to London to urge the British government to deny approval of a long-sought acquisition by Fox’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, of the Sky satellite TV company.
Bloom is the daughter of another famed feminist lawyer, Gloria Allred, who represents some of the women who have accused Cosby of sexual assault, as well as others who have accused President Trump of groping them.
Allred was one of the people who raised an eyebrow about Bloom’s defense of Weinstein. “While I would not represent Mr. Weinstein, I would consider representing anyone who accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual harassment, even if it meant that my daughter was the opposing counsel,” she said Thursday in a statement.
In response, Bloom said she saw no contradiction between her position and her mother’s. “My mother only represents plaintiffs in employment-discrimination cases,” she said. “I have a broader law practice open to other kinds of cases. She gets to make her choices, and I make mine.”
Bloom said that Weinstein hired her about a year ago after he and the rapper Jay-Z jointly bought the TV rights to her 2014 book “Suspicion Nation,” about the Trayvon Martin case. She said she began speaking with him at that time about long-standing rumors in Hollywood about his behavior.
“I don’t hold back,” she said, “and I didn’t. Harvey can take it, and he did.He said, ‘I’ve been stupid. I’m a dinosaur, and I’ve got to change.’ I thought, ‘Perhaps I can do something to make a difference.’ ”