Harvey Weinstein to take indefinite leave of absence from company following sexual harassment claims

Movie and television producer Harvey Weinstein will take an indefinite leave of absence from his company, the board of directors of The Weinstein Co. announced on Friday.

According to a statement released by the directors, the next steps for the Hollywood mogul's future with the company will depend on his therapeutic progress and the results of an internal investigation.

The statement was signed by four of six remaining board members.

The move comes after The New York Times reported Thursday that Weinstein has reached at least eight legal settlements with women over alleged harassment.

Weinstein's alleged inappropriate behavior with women in the last 30 years was detailed in the bombshell report. In it, actress Ashley Judd described being lured to Weinstein's hotel room, only to find him wearing a bathrobe and requesting sexual favors.

The report also detailed encounters Weinstein allegedly had with other women working for the Weinstein Company, as well as official settlements from people associated with him, including actress Rose McGowen, who was issued a $100,000 settlement that Weinstein specifically said was not an admission of guilt.

Following the report from The Times, Weinstein announced plans to sue the publication for $50 million. The producer said he would sue because he allegedly wasn't afforded the opportunity to "respond appropriately" to specific allegations. 

“What I am saying is that I bear responsibility for my actions, but the reason I am suing is because of the Times’ inability to be honest with me, and their reckless reporting,” Weinstein told the New York Post. “They told me lies. They made assumptions.

“The Times editors were so fearful they were going to be scooped by New York Magazine and they would lose the story, that they went ahead and posted the story filled with reckless reporting, and without checking all they had with me and my team,” Weinstein continued.

The Times says it stands by its reporting.

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Weinstein also spoke of wanting to "respect women and do better."

“I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different,” Weinstein told the Post. “I worked at a record company that, if you were five minutes late, they’d hit you with a baseball bat.

“In the past I used to compliment people, and some took it as me being sexual, I won’t do that again. I admit to a whole way of behavior that is not good. I can’t talk specifics, but I put myself in positions that were stupid, I want to respect women and do things better,” he said.

News of the leave of absence follows reports that Anita Dunn, a key aide to former President Barack Obama, "counseled" the Tinseltown titan following the report from The Times. 

Dunn, the managing director of K-Street firm SKDKnickerbocker, released a statement acknowledging she spoke to Weinstein following the report but noted that the firm's "commitment to defending women’s rights remains as strong as ever."

The board of directors of The Weinstein Co. named attorney John Kiernan of the firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP as the head of the internal investigation. 

It is essential for The Weinstein Co. to have a culture where women can work with respect and without fear of harassment or discrimination, the company statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.