From Steve Bannon to Hillary Clinton, Everything to Know About Harvey Weinstein’s Influential Political Ties

By Celebrity News Wire on October 12, 2017

Before Harvey Weinstein‘s career was upended by allegations of sexual assault from a number of women, the film mogul’s influence extended beyond Hollywood — and into politics.

The movie mogul — who is now spending time in an Arizona luxury resort after numerous accusations from high-profile women including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Kate Beckinsale — donated nearly $1 million in his own name to Democratic politicians over the past 17 years, according to Business Insider.

Notable among the group are former President Barack Obama, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, Al Franken, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand — all of whom have spoken out against Weinstein’s alleged actions. Clinton and several senators have also said they will donate Weinstein’s campaign contributions to charity.

Though Weinstein has donated virtually exclusively to Democrats, he also has ties to a central figure in President Donald Trump‘s administration: former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

It turns out Bannon — whose far-right website Breitbart News has blasted Democratic politicians in recent days for accepting donations from Weinstein — also profited from ties to Weinstein, according to the Associated Press.

Bannon, the former chairman of a company called Genius Products, which distributed DVDs and home videos, partnered in 2005 with The Weinstein Company, led by Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob. The Weinsteins were reportedly 70 percent owners of the now-defunct venture.

In the ’90s, Bannon tried his hand in Hollywood, producing the feature films Indian Runner (1991) and Titus (1999) before turning his focus to right-wing political documentaries in the 2000s. The AP cited transcripts of investor conference calls from the time that revealed Bannon praising the Weinsteins and touting his relationship with the brothers.

“We are extremely honored to be in business with the new Weinstein Company,” Bannon told investors in one of the calls, adding that “the Weinsteins have the most impressive track record in the film industry” and that “Bob and Harvey are two of the most prolific studio heads in the history of Hollywood.

President Trump himself is also familiar with Weinstein. Asked about the allegations on Saturday night, Trump told reporters at the White House, “I’ve known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I’m not at all surprised to see it.”

Further pressed about how Weinstein’s alleged actions differed from comments Trump made in his infamous 2005 Access Hollywood interview — in which he boasted about sexually assaulting women — Trump echoed his explanation from last year: “That’s locker room, that’s locker room ,” he said.

RELATED VIDEO: Watch: Natasha Stoynoff Breaks Silence, Accuses Donald Trump of Sexual Attack

Since that hot-mic tape was made public by the Washington Post in October 2016, more than a dozen women have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct, including PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff. Trump has denied all the allegations against him.

Read on for more on Weinstein’s ties to leading Democrats.

1. Hillary and Bill Clinton

Weinstein’s ties to the Clintons date back to the 1990s, when the film mogul donated to then-President Bill Clinton’s legal defense fund during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, according to a Washington Post report from the time. More recently, Weinstein helped gather money from Hollywood stars for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, including hosting a star-studded fundraiser for the Democratic nominee at his Manhattan home in June 2016.

Weinstein personally contributed $46,350 to Clinton during her candidacy, according to the Associated Press.

The Clintons also rented a home next to Weinstein in the Hamptons in 2015, CNN reported.

After facing criticism for her roughly five-day delay in responding to the allegations against Weinstein, Clinton released a statement Tuesday, saying she was “shocked and appalled by the revelations.”

“The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior,” she said.

Clinton also addressed the allegations during a Wednesday appearance on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show, where she said she was not aware of Weinstein’s alleged actions.

“I was appalled. It was something that was just intolerable in every way,” she said. “And, you know, like so many people who’ve come forward and spoken out, this was a different side of a person who I and many others had known in the past.”

Clinton added that while it wasn’t possible to return Weinstein’s campaign contributions, she planned to donate them to charity.

“What other people are saying, what my former colleagues are saying, is they’re going to donate it to charity, and of course I will do that,” she said. “I give 10% of my income to charity every year, this will be part of that. There’s no, there’s no doubt about it.”

2. Barack and Michelle Obama

Weinstein donated more than $5,000 to former President Barack Obama during his 2012 presidential campaign, and more than $66,000 to the Obama Victory Fund benefiting his 2012 re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee, The Hill reported, citing the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Weinstein was also a bundler (someone who gathers donations for a candidate into large sums) for Obama, and co-hosted with Vogue editor Anna Wintour at least two $10,000-a-head Obama fundraisers in 2012.

In a 2013 speech, then-First Lady Michelle Obama thanked Weinstein, praising him as a “wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse.”

Even the former president’s eldest daughter, Malia, has a connection to the Weinstein Company, where she interned shortly after her father left office in January.

Obama was also criticized for waiting several days to respond to the Weinstein allegations. He and Mrs. Obama released a joint statement against Weinstein Tuesday evening.

“Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status,” the statement said. “We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. And we all need to build a culture — including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect — so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future.”

3. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York

Schumer has said he will donate the $14,200 donation he received from Weinstein to several charities supporting women, CBS News reported.

4. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota 

Weinstein donated $5,000 to Sen. Al Franken, whose office said he would give the contributions to the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center.

5. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York

Gillibrand has received more than $10,000 from Weinstein over the years, and has pledged to donate all of those funds to RAAIN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.

“Senator Gillibrand has received no donations from him this election cycle and will not accept any going forward,” Glen Caplin, Gillibrand’s senior adviser, told CBS News. “However, she will donate all the contributions she received in previous cycles to RAINN. Kirsten invites the right wing activists using this terrible story as a political tool to join her in actually working to combat sexual assault and sexual harassment in our society. They can start by endorsing her bipartisan legislation to end sexual violence on college campuses and in our military.”

6. Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico

Heinrich most recently accepted funds from Weinstein in April. The senator’s campaign has promised to donate Weinstein’s $5,400 contribution to the New Mexico nonprofit Community against Violence.

7. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts

Warren received $5,000 from Weinstein in 2012, and plans to donate that money to Casa Myrna, a nonprofit group in her state.

8. Sen. Patrick Leahy

Leahy received $5,100 from Weinstein between 2010 and 2016, and plans to donate the contributions to the Women’s Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation.

9.  Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey

Weinstein donated $7,800 to Booker during the 2014 election; he said he plans to donate the money to the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

In a bombshell New York Times report last week, eight women accused Weinstein of inappropriate behavior. The Times also reported that Weinstein had reached private settlements with eight women, including actress Rose McGowan.

Following the initial report, Weinstein said in a statement that he was working with therapists and planned to “deal with this issue head-on.” He has since been fired from his powerhouse studio, the Weinstein Company. His wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, has also announced she’s leaving him.

On Tuesday, Paltrow and Jolie added their own accounts of alleged mistreatment. Paltrow told the Times that Weinstein sexually harassed her in a hotel room when she was 22. The encounter allegedly ended with Weinstein placing his hands on her and suggesting a massage. Jolie also told the outlet that she had a “bad experience” with Weinstein in a hotel room during the release of Playing by Heart in the late ’90s.

Also on Tuesday, the The New Yorker revealed — among 13 different women’s accounts of alleged sexual harassment, assault or rape — that the mogul allegedly forcibly performed oral sex on Italian actress Asia Argento two decades ago.

In response to the lengthy allegations made against Weinstein in the New Yorker piece, a spokesperson for Weinstein said, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”


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