That bombshell New York Times story revealing decades of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein immediately put the uber film producer in an unfamiliar place: the pariah list.
His ostracization from Hollywood was immediate, with some industry types speculating to the Associated Press that a comeback would be difficult as the once highflying movie man announced he was taking a leave of absence in the wake of the revelations. Washington wasn’t too far behind, with at least four lawmakers announcing that they planned to rid themselves of Weinstein’s political donations.
Democratic Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), all vowed to give his money to charities, Variety reports.
For years, Weinstein has been a reliable Democratic donor and fundraiser, routinely giving to candidates and PACs. Others could follow suit in shedding Weinstein’s dirty dollars — pols who’ve been the beneficiary of his largesse include Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), according to Federal Election Commission records.
Weinstein held fundraisers for former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and for President Barack Obama, whose elder daughter, Malia, interned for his film company before heading to college this year. He even attended the first presidential debate between Clinton and Donald Trump at Hofstra University last year as part of Team Clinton.
But while Washington might be newly wary of Weinstein, the producer said he plans to focus on politics in the wake of the scandal, setting up what could be an awkward dynamic. In a statement to the New York Times, he said he wants to fight the National Rifle Association.
“I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention,” he wrote. “I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party.”
Republicans are eager to see Dems to relinquish the Weinstein cash — and highlight the ties to the now-toxic producer. “During three-decades worth of sexual harassment allegations, Harvey Weinstein lined the pockets of Democrats to the tune of three-quarters of a million dollars,” RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said in the statement. “If Democrats and the DNC truly stand up for women like they say they do, then returning this dirty money should be a no brainer.”