The USC School of Cinematic Arts is rejecting a $5 million pledge from Harvey Weinstein in the wake of published reports alleging decades of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape. The funding would have been used for an endowment for female filmmakers.
The school has faced blowback for the pledge. On Tuesday, Tiana Lowe, a student at USC, launched a change.org petition, calling on USC to decline the funding from Weinstein. It received 175 signatures.
“USC tells us to take back the night, and they say that it’s on us,'” the petition reads. “That’s easy to say when railing against some vague notion of ‘rape culture’ or a dishonest caricature of Greek life. When confronted with Hollywood royalty and a political ally, that’s a lot harder. Let’s demand that they show us how much they mean it.”
The reports in the New York Times and New Yorker feature multiple on-the-record interviews with women who claim that Weinstein propositioned them for sex and threatened their careers if they were cool to his advances. They include prominent entertainment figures such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino, and Angelina Jolie. In addition, the New Yorker story features accusations from three women, one of whom is actress Asia Argento, alleging that Weinstein physically forced them to have sexual encounters.
On Sunday, Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Company, the indie film and television studio he co-founded in 2005. The accusations against the mogul date back to his days running Miramax, which was a division of the Walt Disney Company at the time.