In an industry where a serial harasser is hired just days after being let go by another company, this news isn’t a surprise, but it’s nonethelesss deeply disturbing.
Bob Weinstein, 64, the disgraced co-founder of The Weinstein Company and enabler of his abuser brother Harvey, is trying to slip back into the film industry through family animation, yes, family animation. And he’s got the support of young French animation directors.
Yesterday, Deadline reported that Weinstein had recruited French animators Florian Babikian, Victor Caire, Théophile Dufresne, Gabriel Grapperon, and Lucas Navarro (pictured at top) to write and direct an animated feature. Those artists were nominated for an Oscar last year for their graduation film Garden Party. (They were ironically beaten by a filmmaker charged with rape.)
The French crew, which also includes a sixth member, Vincent Bayoux, who was not named in the press statement, operates through a collective that is appropriately named Illogic. They’ll work with Weinstein’s new company, Watch This Entertainment, on Endangered, based on a book of wildlife photography by Tim Flach. They plan to develop a narrative about endangered animals through their Montpellier, France-based production company Bloom Pictures.
Other people entangled in this mess are actress Tea Leoni, who will produce and provide a voice, and executive Pantea Ghaderi who is running Weinstein’s company. According to Deadline, Ghaderi will “take the title of president of creative development and was integral in bringing on the animation team Illogic to direct Endangered.”
Amanda Harrington, vp of communications for Time’s Up organization, gave a statement about Weinstein’s animation project to The Hollywood Reporter:
“There could have been no ‘Harvey Weinstein’ without the complicity of Bob Weinstein, who for years put profits ahead of people’s lives as Harvey terrorized women throughout the industry. Bob Weinstein has no business running anything, let alone launching a new production company while dozens of survivors are still searching for some small measure of justice.”
Victims of Harvey Weinstein are also not pleased with the news of his brother’s return:
Bob Weinstein, facilitator of my abuser, gets his comeback and I can't get a fucking audition. And what the hell is Tea Leoni thinking?
What lovely news to see on the two year anniversary of sharing my story of abuse publicly. Do better Hollywood. #metoo #silencebreaker #survivor https://t.co/CM980re0Bc
— Sarah Ann Masse (@SarahAnnMasse) October 12, 2019
Not only did Bob Weinstein routinely paid off his brother’s accusers, but newly-released documents show that he knew enough to ask Harvey to stop what he was doing. Bob’s defense: he thought his brother, Harvey, was merely “a sex addict engaged in persistent philandering,” and he has denied knowing about the settlements that he made with his brother’s accusers.
Harvey Weinstein will go on trial January 2020 in New York City for charges that include two counts of predatory sexual assault, a criminal sexual act, rape in the first degree, and rape in the third degree. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.