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12 Aug, 2022 15:36

Disney heiress slams company over Harvey Weinstein

The corporation “needs to step up” and “take responsibility” for turning a blind to the disgraced producer's abuses, she said
Disney heiress slams company over Harvey Weinstein

Abigail Disney, an outspoken activist and regular critic of the entertainment behemoth founded by her family, has called on the company to take responsibility for ignoring the predatory behavior of disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein. 

“Harvey was an open secret,” or rather no secret at all, she said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine published on Thursday.

“Everyone knew what Harvey was about, and that was just fine as long as everybody saw it as, ‘Well, this is just how business is done.’ Nobody had the moral clarity to step up and say, ‘Well, not here. We don’t do it that way here,’” she said.

“I think Disney needs to step up. When you’ve done a wrong thing, even if it’s only by stepping back and letting something happen, that’s still a wrong thing to do. And you have to take responsibility,” the activist added.

Miramax, Weinstein’s production and distribution firm, was owned by Disney between 1993 and 2010. Dozens of women have accused the producer of sexual harassment, abuse and rape committed over decades of his successful career in the entertainment businesses, including during that time period.

The once-powerful Hollywood mogul met his downfall after his predatory habits were highlighted by The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017. He was charged and arrested the following year under a criminal case based on allegations by six women, and sentenced in 2020 to 23 years in prison for sex crimes.

Rolling Stone reached out to Abigail Disney for comments for a profile of Kaja Sokola, who said she was just 16 when Weinstein took advantage of her in 2002 after she left her native Poland to pursue a modeling career. That makes her the youngest Weinstein accuser to have gone public under her own name.

In 2019, she and other women filed a class-action lawsuit against Weinstein and his companies. Sokola filed her own case under New York’s Child Victims Act. Weinstein’s brother Bob and numerous employees and executives of Miramax and Disney were identified as “enablers” in the complaint. 

Most of the civilian suits against Weinstein have been settled, but the one filed by Sokola and others is still pending. Weinstein’s lawyers denied the allegations against him outlined in the claim.

Abigail Disney is the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney. Animator Walt Disney was Roy’s younger brother and business partner in founding and running the company named after him.