Blumenthal to give Weinstein campaign cash to charity
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Chris Dodd and Harvey Weinstein attend the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Sunset Tower on February 24, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. Photo: Jeff Vespa/VF13 / Jeff Vespa/VF13/WireImage / 2013 Jeff Vespa/VF13 Getty Images
He’s yukked it up with Chris Dodd at the Vanity Fair Oscars after-party.
Then there was the $35,800-a-plate supper club he hosted at his Westport home for Barack Obama, bringing together the likes of Anne Hathaway and Aaron Sorkin with Connecticut’s governor, Dannel P. Malloy.
But Harvey Weinstein, who has given tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats in the state to go along with VIP access to Hollywood’s elite, is suddenly a pariah in the party that once exalted him after a series of sexual harassment allegations against the movie mogul.
Democrats distanced themselves Friday from Oscar-winning studio executive after a New York Times report detailing decades of alleged sexual advances toward actresses and other women looking to break into the motion picture industry — and hundreds of thousands of dollars of quiet settlements paid out to them. The bombshell report coincided with the $1.65 million sale of one of two adjacent properties owned by Weinstein in Westport.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who received $2,700 from Weinstein for his 2016 re-election campaign, said Friday that he will donate the money to the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
“When I read the New York Times piece, I was aghast at how many and how often these instances of harassment and intimidation were,” Blumenthal told Hearst Connecticut Media. “I was deeply disturbed.”
Blumenthal said he “decided immediately that we should donate the money to an organization that does really good work against sexual violence, and that was our decision.”
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., received $1,000 from Weinstein in 1996.
“We will be making a $1000 contribution to Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven,” said Jimmy Tickey, DeLauro’s campaign manager.
Weinstein, the Miramax co-founder and Academy Award winning producer of “Shakespeare in Love,” gave $24,800 to Connecticut Victory 2010, according to the Federal Election Commission. The PAC was created as a joint fundraising vehicle for Dodd, who retired from the Senate at the end of 2010, and Democrats.
Since 2011, Dodd has served as the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, commanding an annual salary in excess of $3 million to be the top lobbyist for six movie studios. The Weinstein Co. is not part of the consortium, but Weinstein and Dodd were photographed hobnobbing with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt at the Vanity Fair Oscars after-party in 2013.
Election filings show Weinstein gave $7,200 to Dodd’s 2010 re-election campaign, before the senator opted to retire. In 2004, Weinstein contributed $3,000 to Dodd.
A request for comment was left Friday for Dodd and the MPAA, from which the former senator is leaving at the end of 2017.
Weinstein apologized Thursday in a statement to the Times and announced he was taking a leave of absence from his production company.
The Connecticut Democrats, through their spokesman Leigh Appleby, pivoted from Weinstein to President Donald Trump.
“We’re the first to condemn this type of alleged behavior, and we do,” Appleby said. “That is more than we can say about our Republican colleagues who have flatly refused to speak out against the racist, hateful, misogynistic head of their party who was also the single largest donor to the Connecticut GOP in 2016.”
Appleby was referring to the Trump Victory Fund, a a joint fundraising vehicle for Trump’s campaign, the Republican National Committee and some 21 state parties, including Connecticut’s GOP.
“I’m not surprised that the Connecticut Democrats have taken a defensive posture,” said J.R. Romano, the state Republican Party chairman. “Again, this is Democrats — do as I say, not as I do. It’s their modus operandi. They’re consistent in being hypocritical and condescending without holding themselves accountable.”
Malloy was on the guest list for Weinstein’s 2012 Westport fundraising dinner for Obama.
“Like many reading the news today regarding Mr. Weinstein, the governor was shocked to learn of these allegations, which are quite disturbing,” Malloy spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly said Friday. “The fact is, sexual violence, including harassment, has no place in our society. All people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.”