Weinstein Co.'s president and chief operating officer, David Glasser, has been fired "for cause," the New York entertainment company's board of directors said Friday night, in the latest twist for Harvey Weinstein's beleaguered studio.
Glasser came under fire this week after the New York attorney general's office sued the studio, alleging civil rights violations. New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman, in a Monday press conference, singled out Glasser, accusing him of failing to respond to complaints to the company's human resources department about Harvey Weinstein.
"The board of the Weinstein Company has unanimously voted to terminate David Glasser for cause," the board said in a brief statement late Friday.
The company declined to comment further. Glasser also declined to comment.
Glasser's ouster is the latest bombshell in the long saga of Weinstein Co., which has been scrambling to stay afloat since Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment and assault by dozens of women. The allegations have led to criminal investigations against the producer in multiple cities and sparked a movement across the entertainment and media industry to expose powerful men who have been accused of sexual misconduct. Weinstein, who was fired by the board Oct. 8, has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
The attorney general's lawsuit dealt a serious blow to a potential $500-million deal to sell Weinstein Co. in what had been viewed as a Hail Mary play to save the company from bankruptcy.
The company had been nearing a sale to a group of investors led by former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet, who promised to remake the studio as a female-friendly company. The deal was expected to be announced this week. Glasser was one of the staunchest advocates for the deal, even as it came under criticism by the attorney general, according to people close to the bidding process.
Schneiderman's office on Sunday filed a 38-page complaint detailing a hostile work environment for women at Weinstein Co. and accusing management and the board of being complicit in Weinstein's abuses of power. He said a deal would unjustly reward current management by keeping them in their positions. Glasser was poised to be named chief executive of the company after the transaction was completed, according to people close to the deal.
"The COO David Glasser, who supervised the human resources department, did not stop this discrimination, harassment and abuse, even though he was in charge of handling dozens of shocking complaints," Schneiderman said at a news conference after filing the complaint.
Schneiderman accused Weinstein Co. leadership, including Glasser, of doing nothing to protect women from Weinstein. His civil complaint, filed in New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan, named Harvey Weinstein, his brother Bob Weinstein and the Weinstein Co. as defendants.
According to the suit, Weinstein Co.'s human resources director forwarded a female employee's complaint to Glasser, the COO, in May 2015. In the email, the human resources director told Glasser, "we need to discuss a settlement and NDA." A settlement with Weinstein was negotiated shortly afterward, the suit said.
"On more than one occasion, upon forwarding a complaint or information about a complaint to the COO [Glasser], the Human Resources Director was not involved in any investigation or resolution process," the suit said. "Based on documents obtained by the [attorney general] to date, such matters were handled by the COO and other members of TWC senior management, as well as counsel retained to contact victims of misconduct."
Schneiderman criticized other aspects of the Contreras-Sweet deal as well, questioning the existence of a promised $50-million fund to compensate Weinstein's accusers.
Glasser joined Weinstein Co. in 2008 as head of international sales. He eventually became known as Harvey Weinstein's right-hand man and was once referred to as "the third brother," in addition to co-founder Bob Weinstein. Glasser left the company briefly in 2015 to pursue other jobs in the entertainment industry, only to return shortly afterward with a three-year deal.
9:50 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information about David Glasser, Weinstein Co. and the lawsuit from the New York attorney general.