Former Dreamworks chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg repudiated his former colleague Harvey Weinstein at Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D Live conference in Laguna Beach, Calif. Monday evening, but also said that Weinstein couldn‘t have acted alone — and that it was time for Hollywood to change key policies.
“Make no mistake about it: He is a monster,” Katzenberg said. However, Weinstein had not been a lone actor, but had instead been protected by other men around him. “There is a pack of wolves.”
He went on to say that abuse of power and sexual exploitation had been part of Hollywood for a long time — but that there may be a fundamental shift ahead. “You are gonna see in the coming weeks and months real action,” he said. “We cannot go on this way.”
Katzenberg said that he had spent a long time in a mode of introspection ever since the Weinstein story broke. “I do a lot of soul-searching about it,” he said. “I have had hundreds of meetings with Harvey Weinstein. Literally, not a single time, had Harvey been abusive to somebody in my presence.”
Pressed about the issue, Katzenberg said that he had never even heard about Weinstein’s behavior before the New York Times story broke — but he also acknowledged that he may not have made himself available to hear from the women abused by Weinstein.
He went on to say that this was an issue that goes beyond Hollywood, citing Silicon Valley and even President Trump. “We all have to own up to it. All of us,” he said.
This would have to include concrete institutional changes, and not just commitments to diversity. Abuse would have to be stopped before a new generation of female executive would be in charge. “It has to, and that will be the silver lining,” Katzenberg said.
Katzenberg had been chairman of Walt Disney Studios when Disney bought Miramax in 1992. Last week, news broke that Katzenberg had sent Weinstein an email, rebuking Weinstein’s pleas for support and writing that he was “sickened, angry and incredibly disappointed” by his behavior.