One of the bidders in the hunt for Weinstein Co. assets has gone public with complaints about the sale process and a rival bidder’s goal of keeping the scandal-battered production company largely intact after a sale.
Killer Content issued a lengthy statement on Monday questioning the transparency of the sale process and stressing that the company needs to undergo a bankruptcy restructuring effort to emerge from its post-Harvey Weinstein travails.
“We can only participate, however, if the process is transparent, affords due process, and is 100% aligned with the interests of survivors – all most likely to happen in bankruptcy,” the statement said.
The statement also seemed to take aim at the rival investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, who counts Ron Burkle among the investors who may back her effort to buy Weinstein Co. Contreras-Sweet’s group has said the focus would be on preserving jobs and bringing female-led management and board members to the private company.
“Our first commitment is to survivor justice, and as such, we believe that the sale should not be an optical rebranding of management or name,” the statement said.
Weinstein Co. went into free-fall last October amid allegations of sexual assault and harassment leveled against co-founder Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein, who has been fired from the company and its board, has denied that he engaged in anything other than consensual sexual encounters.
Bankers Moelis & Co. have been handling the sale process for Weinstein Co. Numerous observers have said the company’s debt situation and damage to its reputation has been so dire as to require some form of bankruptcy reorganization. But bidding in the sale process heated up toward the end of last month. Although Contreras-Sweet’s group is believed to be the leading bidder, a source indicated that the due diligence process with more than a half-dozen contenders will continue for at least another week, if not longer.
Killer Content has proposed buying the Weinstein Co. library and development assets and establishing a fund through the New York Women’s Foundation to ensure that proceeds from titles produced under Harvey Weinstein’s leadership are diverted to organizations that support victims of harassment, assault and discrimination.
On Saturday, Killer Content and philanthropist Abigail Disney unveiled a plan to launch a female-led studio venture, Level Forward, with a focus on promoting social change. That move was viewed as a sign that Killer Content, which will become part of Level Forward, was doubtful of prevailing in the Weinstein Co. auction.
Killer Content declined to elaborate beyond its statement. A rep for Moelis declined to comment.
Here’s the full statement:
As has been reported, Killer Content and our partners in the new Level Forward studio remain interested in purchasing the TWC assets. We can only participate, however, if the process is transparent, affords due process, and is 100% aligned with the interests of survivors – all most likely to happen in bankruptcy.
Our first commitment is to survivor justice, and as such, we believe that the sale should not be an optical rebranding of management or name. Only a true dismantling of pernicious practices can advance the healing process for our industry and beyond.
We want to do our part to ensure that no matter the outcome, the blood money generated from the systemic protection of alleged rape, abuse and a culture of violence against women will soon be allocated to the prevention, the support and advocacy efforts of anti-discrimination and survivor support organizations. Restoring value to these assets can only happen in this way, with truth, inclusivity, and impactful enterprise supporting, and not conflicting with the interests of survivors and the leveling forward of our industry.