Goldman Sachs, Amazon may sever ties with The Weinstein Company

By Media & Advertising FOXBusiness

Weinstein scandal shifting journalistic standards: Mediaite's Larry O'Connor

Mediaite contributing editor Larry O'Connor on the latest developments in the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

While the sexual harassment accusations continue to mount against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein with new victims emerging daily, the focus has now shifted on whether or not the company he co-founded with his brother, Bob, will be able to survive the firestorm of allegations.

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Goldman Sachs (GS) announced Friday that it is exploring options for the stake it holds in the Weinstein Co, following the slew of allegations.

"There is no place for the inexcusable behavior that had been reported, and we strongly condemn it," Andrew Williams, a spokesman for Goldman, said in an email to Reuters. Williams said Goldman’s stake is worth less than $1 million.

E-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN) also released a statement Friday that said it is currently reviewing its options for the projects it has with The Weinstein Co., signaling they, too, will possibly sever its ties with the film studio.


According to multiple reports, The Weinstein Company, which was founded in 2005, is already in talks to change its name for the upcoming awards season.

Earlier this week, the board of directors, who fired Weinstein on Sunday, released a strongly worded statement, that said they “are shocked and dismayed by the recently emerged allegations,” and the news comes as an “utter surprise to the Board.”

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“Any suggestion that the Board had knowledge of this conduct is false,” the statement said.

Yet, according to TMZ, Weinstein’s 2015 employment contract, had a clause that said "if he gets sued for ‘sexual harassment’ or any other ‘misconduct’ that results in a settlement or judgment against TWC, all Weinstein has to do is pay what the company's out, along with a fine, and he's in the clear."

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Sallie Hofmeister, a spokesperson for TWC, told FOX Business that the company has no comment on whether or not the clause existed.

“The Weinstein Company is going to blow up like the death star. It will be bought or sold off in parts,” Eric Schiffer, CEO of Reputation Management Consultants told FOX Business.

Kris Ruby, branding expert and President of Ruby Media Group, said at this point, the damage may be insurmountable for TWC and it is “doubtful the company will be able to survive this.”

“It will take a substantial amount of time to rebuild their tarnished reputation in the wake of [the] Harvey scandal. It continues to get worse by the day. They need a lot more than a new name and a rebrand to repair the damage that has been done,” she said.

Rob Frankel, branding strategist and expert at Frankel & Anderson in Los Angeles disagreed, suggesting that the despite the drama, the company “isn’t going anywhere.” But agreed that the name change isn’t going to help them start over.

“More than a decade after the Enron scandal, people still introduce Accenture as ‘the old Arthur Andersen company,’” he said.


Karen Post, author of the book “Brand turnaround,” also compares TWC to Arthur Anderson after the Enron meltdown and said the best course of action going forward is a complete makeover, including leadership.

“It may be best to fade away that company brand and come back with new leadership, [a] new name and new rules of conduct,” she said.
 

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