BY KAREN OCAMB, LOS ANGELES BLADE
After former President Bill Clinton, the next most prominent and powerful men at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles in April 2013 were entertainment attorney Steve Warren, a GLAAD honoree, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and producer Harvey Weinstein, who presented Clinton with his GLAAD award, alongside actress Jennifer Lawrence.
Mostly known as the quick-and-hot tempered powerhouse producer who green-lit important indy films, Weinstein was at times awkward and downright giddy on stage as he tried to read from notecards while Lawrence mangled her reading from the teleprompter–all in good fun. But after the stunning, blockbuster New York Times revelations of allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein by scores of women in Hollywood, the exchange between the heavyweight producer and his Oscar-winning “Silver Lining Playbook” star seems oddly awkward.
“Before we begin, I just want to congratulate Harvey and his wife Regina on the birth of their new baby boy,” Lawrence says, stroking his back. “Harvey gave us just what we needed, another–him. (Audience laughs). …If he’s anything like his dad, he’s going to be relentless, passionate and just about the best mentor an aspiring actor could ever hope for.”
“Thank you, Jen.” Weinstein says. “But you can stop kissing up to me for forgetting to thank me at the Oscars. (Laughter). Let’s just do what we’re here to do.”
After she screws up and reads his line from the prompter, with her name, Lawrence runs her hand down his arm in jest. “Sometimes I call him ‘Jennifer.’ It’s a pet name,” she jokes.
Weinstein congratulates gay attorney Steve Warren on his award. “That was an amazing speech, by the way,” Weinstein says. “I’ve seen Steve in action and I just want to say what a force he is for good and equality. He has incredible integrity in a business often filled with challenges.” (Laughter.)
That moment has its place in LGBT history, but it now has a “cring-worthy” asterisk. “It is reprehensible to learn about Harvey Weinstein’s abuse of power and gross treatment of women, especially given his role as a frequent proponent of social justice. As the leader of an organization that advocates for women’s rights and full LGBTQ acceptance, I stand with the women who have used their voices to speak up about this and commend the free press for telling their stories,” GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis tells the Los Angeles Blade.
Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Company not only donated to GLAAD, but other LGBT organizations, as well. Variety reports that Weinstein contributed $10,000 to the Human Rights Campaign Equality Votes initiative last year. HRC has not returned phone calls or emails.
Though one website says Weinstein has contributed to the American foundation for AIDS Research, amFAR has not yet responded to an email request for comment. It also notes that Weinstein contributed to GLSEN, which gave Bob and Harvey Weinstein the Chairman’s Award in 2012, Douglas Flores, GLSEN’s Chief Operating Officer, tells the LA Blade: “GLSEN has not received a financial contribution from Harvey Weinstein. Thank you for reaching out.”
Unlike several Democratic politicians who are returning Weinstein’s contributions or giving the money to charities, one senior communications expert told the LA Blade that is unlikely that the LGBT groups would return funds, especially monies contributed years ago.
Weinstein has apologized, adding: “Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.” But that was not sufficient to keep his job with the company he co-founded and Deadline reported Monday, his name will be taken off company TV and movie credits.
The shunning has begun. If or how long it will last is a different matter. But it appears that the old “casting couch” sex harassment no longer has legs in Hollywood.
YouTube of GLAAD Awards: