This is philanthropy, Harvey Weinstein-style: The now-disgraced movie mogul offered up, as part of a package he donated to a charity auction for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, two tickets to last year’s White House correspondents’ dinner.
But it’s unclear how Weinstein planned to acquire the tickets for the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual splashy affair, which are sold only to member news organizations — and his donation of them runs afoul of the WHCA’s anti-scalping (even for charity!) policies, which ban buyers from raffling or selling off their seats to the media dinner.
The rule-breaking is, to put it beyond mildly, not the worst thing Weinstein’s been accused of, but here’s how the ticket saga played out: A Daily Mail report on Monday detailed donations to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation by two men now toppled by sexual-misconduct scandals — Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey. Among the lavish prizes offered for auction in 2016 was an extensive package from Weinstein, which included, according to the Daily Mail, sharing a table with the famed producer at his company’s annual dinner party on the night before the Oscars, walking the red carpet with him at the Met Ball, two tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl, two invites to the White House correspondents’ dinner and two front-row seats to the “Project Runway” finale.
One of those items jumped out at us. Unlike the other A-Listy events, tickets to the WHCD aren’t typically the province of Hollywood elite, though powerful folks have certainly found ways to secure seats for themselves. (Weinstein has attended the dinner before on multiple years.) But the keepers of the oft-coveted tables are adamant that correspondents themselves are the ones with access. “Only WHCA members can buy tickets to our annual dinner,” WHCA Executive Director Steve Thomma confirms. “And it is our policy that those tickets may not be sold at auction or raffle to raise money for other organizations or for any commercial purpose.”
Reps for Weinstein didn’t respond to our requests for comment. And a rep for DiCaprio’s charity didn’t know much that would clear it up. Apparently, the winner of the ultraposh package never paid up, according to the rep. “So the lots were void and never fulfilled,” she said.