Had we known what we know now, we wouldn't have honored him

Wiesenthal Center removes Harvey Weinstein’s name from roster of honorees

Group’s founder Rabbi Marvin Hier says the human rights organization is ‘horrified by the charges’ against the film mogul

Harvey Weinstein attending the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s National Tribute Dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif., March 24, 2015. (Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images, via JTA)
Harvey Weinstein attending the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s National Tribute Dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif., March 24, 2015. (Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images, via JTA)

The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Wednesday said it would remove Harvey Weinstein name from its “roster of honorees,” following a string of sexual harassment allegations against the film mogul.

Simon Wiesenthal Center founder and dean Rabbi Marvin Hier released a statement saying everyone at the human rights organization was “horrified by the charges leveled against Harvey Weinstein by so many people.”

“Given the gravity of the accusations, we are removing his name from our distinguished roster of honorees in all our future publications,” Hier added.

“Obviously, we can’t go back in time, but had we known then what we know now, we would have never honored him, because such egregious behavior is against everything the Museum of Tolerance and the Wiesenthal Center stands for and is in contradiction to the text of the award he received: ‘Who is honored, he who honors mankind.'”

Weinstein, who was fired by the production company he founded, received the 2015 Humanitarian Award from the center, which promotes tolerance, and was honored at its annual gala dinner. Weinstein received the award due in part to his contributions to the group, which have totaled nearly $100,000. That year’s dinner brought in $1.75 million.

Rabbi Marvin Hier (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

“We honored Harvey Weinstein because he and his company, like many other leaders in the entertainment world, have been longtime supporters of the Wiesenthal Center and its work,” Simon Wiesenthal Center spokeswoman Marcial Lavina wrote in an email to JTA.

Asked whether the group would withdraw the award, Lavina wrote, “That hasn’t been up for discussion.”

In his speech accepting the award, Weinstein said of anti-Semites that Jews “better stand up and kick these guys in the ass.”

An expose in The New York Times last week detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein from female actors and employees, and he was fired on Sunday. Weinstein and his brother, Bob, founded the studios Miramax and the Weinstein Company, and produced several award-winning films.

Weinstein was a high-profile donor to Democratic politicians, and several have pledged to give his contributions to charity. They include Sens. Charles Schumer of New York, who is the minority leader; Al Franken of Minnesota; Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

In 2015, along with the Simon Wiesenthal award, Weinstein received the Truth to Power Award from the Survivor Mitzvah Project, which aids elderly Holocaust survivors. The group did not respond to JTA calls for comment.

Weinstein had Jewish-themed movie projects in the works. He had announced plans to direct a film adaptation of “Mila 18,” the Leon Uris novel about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and just days ago his company acquired the rights to “Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz,” about a US prosecutor in the Nuremberg Trials following World War II.

The company said net profits from the documentary would be donated to the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Washington, DC.

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