Weinstein Co., overwhelmed by backlash, may be up for sale

A photo taken on October 13, 2017 shows a view of The Weinstein Company (TWC) headquarters in Tribeca, New York City. (AFP / ANGELA WEISS)
Updated 16 October 2017
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Weinstein Co., overwhelmed by backlash, may be up for sale

NEW YORK: The Weinstein Co., besieged by sexual harassment allegations against its namesake and co-founder, may be putting itself up for sale.
The company said Monday that it will receive an immediate cash infusion from Colony Capital and is in negotiations for the potential sale of all or a significant portion of the company responsible for producing films such as “Django Unchained,” “The Hateful Eight” and “Lion.”
Colony Capital, the private-equity arm of Colony NorthStar, was founded by Thomas Barrack, a close adviser to President Donald Trump. Barrack chaired Trump’s presidential inaugural committee.
Harvey Weinstein was fired last week by the film production company he helped create. The allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Weinstein span decades and include many of the film industry’s leading actresses.
The backlash has been severe as more women go public with their interactions with Weinstein.
Law enforcement in the US and Europe are taking a new look at past allegations.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has revoked his membership, as has the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
Amazon Studios, the growing film arm of Amazon, cut ties with the Weinstein company last week. Robert De Niro, Julianne Moore and director David O. Russell scrapped an untitled Amazon Studios series that was being produced by The Weinstein Co.
Showtime has threatened to pull out of an Oliver Stone drama in development, “Guantanamo,” because Weinstein Co. is a producer.
Word of a potential sale comes just three days after Bob Weinstein, who helped found the company with his brother, Harvey, said that a sale was not an option.
“We are pleased to invest in The Weinstein Company and to help it move forward,” Colony said Monday. “We will help return the company to its rightful iconic position in the independent film and television industry.”
The list of women alleging harassment and assault by Harvey Weinstein continues to grow. More than 30 women, including actresses Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow — have spoken out.
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Business writer Stanley J. Choe contributed to this report.


Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

Updated 21 August 2018
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Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

  • Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam
  • The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years

MEDAN, Indonesia: An Indonesian court has sentenced a woman who complained about a noisy mosque to 18 months in prison for blasphemy.
The ethnic Chinese woman, Meiliana, burst into tears as presiding Judge Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo announced the sentence Tuesday. She was taken from the court in handcuffs.
Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam, the dominant faith in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Mobs burned and ransacked at least 14 Buddhist temples throughout Tanjung Balai, a port town on Sumatra, in a July 2016 riot following reports of Meiliana’s complaint about a mosque’s noisy loudspeakers.
The woman’s lawyer, Ranto Sibarani, said the sentence would be appealed. A conservative group, Islamic Community Forum, said Meilana’s sentence was too light.
The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years.
Indonesia’s Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and religion but in recent years blasphemy cases have been filed against those perceived as offending Islam. The overwhelming majority end with guilty verdicts.
Last year, the minority Christian and ethnic Chinese governor of Jakarta, the capital, was convicted of blasphemy and imprisoned for two years after massive street protests over comments seized upon by his political opponents.
Judges imposed the sentence despite prosecutors downgrading the blasphemy charge to a lesser offense.