Weinstein Documentarian Wants Another Shot at His Subject

Mr. Avrich, 53, chronicled his quest to document Mr. Weinstein — and Mr. Weinstein’s aggressive attempts to thwart him — in a 2016 memoir, “Moguls, Monsters and Madmen: An Uncensored Life in Show Business.” It was in that book that Mr. Avrich also claimed that IFC had watered down the film and failed to give it a robust release.


Mr. Weinstein with his first wife, Eve, in Mr. Avrich’s documentary. IFC, which holds distribution rights to the film, rejected Mr. Avrich’s claims that it asked for sanitizing trims and limited its release as a favor to Mr. Weinstein.

“There was nothing subtle about it,” Mr. Avrich reasserted on Wednesday. “IFC worked to soften content in the film that was negative to Harvey.”

According to Mr. Avrich, IFC asked for trims to a section that described Mr. Weinstein as giving specific instructions for a sex scene in the film “Factory Girl.” Mr. Avrich said IFC had also wanted to cut discussion about attempts by Mr. Weinstein to help his wife’s fashion label by using his clout with celebrities.

Even so, Mr. Avrich said he had contacted IFC in recent days to ask if it would collaborate with him on a new version of the film or at least let him buy back distribution rights. If IFC declines, Mr. Avrich said, he will go forward with a new film. IFC did not comment on that.

The effort could lead to criticism that Mr. Avrich is trying to capitalize on Mr. Weinstein’s behavior. “Anybody who says that doesn’t know me or my work,” Mr. Avrich said.

Mr. Weinstein was fired by the studio he co-founded in early October after The New York Times revealed decades of sexual harassment allegations against him. Since then, more than 50 women have come forward with claims against him, including rape, sexual assault and groping. The police in London, New York and Los Angeles have opened investigations.

Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Weinstein has repeatedly denied “any allegations of nonconsensual sex.”

Mr. Avrich is best known in Hollywood as the writer and director of “The Last Mogul,” a 2005 documentary about the entertainment kingpin Lew R. Wasserman. Mr. Avrich intended to take a similar approach with Mr. Weinstein, tracing his rise from the concert promotion business in Buffalo to independent film chieftain.

“I set out to make a film that looked at Harvey as a businessman and cultural force, someone who was a creative genius but also an incredible bully,” Mr. Avrich said on Wednesday. “I briefly looked into his reputation with women, but nobody would touch it.”

He added: “I was never told about him as a sexual predator. Would I have gone there if I had known? Absolutely. I obviously wish I had pushed harder. It would have made for a far better film.”

Mr. Avrich said he had tried to get Gwyneth Paltrow, Quentin Tarantino and others associated with Mr. Weinstein to participate in the film but had been rebuffed.

Ms. Paltrow told The Times last month that Mr. Weinstein had sexually harassed her when she was in her 20s. Mr. Tarantino told The Times that he had known about sexual misconduct claims against Mr. Weinstein dating to the 1990s, and apologized for never speaking out.

Continue reading the main story

Leave a Response