The Sundance Institute has joined the chorus of movie-industry groups speaking out against the alleged sexual misconduct of mogul Harvey Weinstein.
In a statement issued Wednesday, a Sundance Institute spokesperson said: “The Sundance Institute and Film Festival denounce, in the strongest possible terms, the behavior of Harvey Weinstein as described by the growing number of women who have bravely come forward. The accusations are abhorrent and profoundly disturbing. We recognize that too often a pattern of abuse like this one thrives in the shadows, and we stand in solidarity with the courageous women whose honesty has helped shine a light on it.”
Institute officials were unavailable for further comment.
Weinstein’s history has blown up into a scandal in the past week, after The New York Times last Thursday reported on a series of settlements paid to women by his companies — first Miramax Films and later The Weinstein Company — over the past three decades. The Times article recounts cases of several women, including the actor Ashley Judd, who said Weinstein had invited them to his hotel room on business, but then made sexual advances.
The Weinstein Company’s board, including Harvey’s brother Bob, fired Weinstein on Sunday. Weinstein’s spokeswoman has said the movie producer “unequivocally denied” allegations of nonconsensual sex.
Women in two of the alleged incidents said they happened in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival. The Times’ initial story referred to an out-of-court settlement between Weinstein and actor Rose McGowan after an interaction in Park City in 1997. On Tuesday, former actor and screenwriter Louisette Geiss appeared at a news conference with famed lawyer Gloria Allred, accusing Weinstein of exposing himself to her in a Park City hotel in 2008.
The Sundance Institute, founded by Robert Redford, organizes the film festival, which brings thousands of movie lovers and industry pros to Utah every January to watch the newest in independent film. The institute, with offices in Park City, Los Angeles and New York, runs the festival’s screenings, panels and official venues — but much of the dealmaking, parties and social activities happen outside official Sundance events.
Weinstein’s legacy as a movie mogul dovetails with the Sundance Film Festival’s rise as a showcase for independent film. His and Miramax Films’ $1 million deal to acquire Steven Soderbergh’s “sex, lies and videotape” was the first seven-figure deal ever made at Sundance.
As head of Miramax (which The Walt Disney Company bought in 1993), Weinstein also acquired Quentin Tarantino’s first film, “Reservoir Dogs” (1992), and Kevin Smith’s debut, “Clerks” (1994), among many others. When he lost a bidding war for the 1996 Australian drama “Shine,” Weinstein’s reported restaurant tirade at the movie’s producers became a festival legend.
His presence at Sundance waned when he and his brother left Miramax in 2005 and launched The Weinstein Company. The company has made notable acquisitions at Sundance, including the documentary “The Tillman Story” (2010), the marital drama “Blue Valentine” (2010) and the police-shooting drama “Fruitvale Station” (2013).
Correction: Oct. 11, 10:15 p.m. • An earlier version of this story misstated the parties involved in an out-of-court settlement between Rose McGowan and Harvey Weinstein.