When disgraced film studio executive Harvey Weinstein heard a lawyer brought in by an AIDS charity to investigate a shady fundraising deal was looking into his sex life, he threatened to sue the board.
Details of Weinstein’s fury over the possible investigation of his sex life came to light through documents from one of the charities’ board meetings, obtained by NBC News.
The revelation comes from the minutes of the amfAR AIDS charity board meeting in October 2016. The documents include statements from fashion mogul Kenneth Cole, the board’s chairman, about Weinstein’s ire.
The charity hired attorney Tom Ajamie to investigate a shady deal that Weinstein and Cole made to split the proceeds of a charity auction.
While amfAR did not previously split the proceeds of its auctions with any other charity, Weinstein and Cole made a controversial deal that saw two thirds of the proceeds from the fundraiser go to the American Repertory Theater (ART).
ART had helped Weinstein stage a Peter Pan musical but Weinstein and other investors had to repay ART unless they managed to get other charitable donations to cover the debt.
Weinstein needed $600,000 to cover his tab. That money ended up coming out of the $900,000 raised by the amfAR charity auction.
The New York Times and NBC News first caught wind of the deal. The revelation that Weinstein threatened to sue the board, not because of its investigation of the deal, but because he thought it was investigating his sex life, was revealed by NBC News on Friday and mentioned previously in a HuffPost article.
Cole recounted to the board a call he received from Weinstein.
“He called furious and said ‘how dare you after 25 years, tens of millions I’ve raised, all I’ve done for amfAR, how dare you stick your lawyers on me to do what they’re doing,’” the minutes read.
According to the minutes, Cole recounted that Weinstein said he had a letter that claimed Ajamie “was representing a famous nonprofit to investigate Harvey’s financial irregularities as well as his sex life.”
“Harvey reiterated that it was inappropriate and slanderous and that he would personally investigate each person on the amfAR board and the committee,” the minutes recorded Cole saying.
Weinstein’s Hollywood clout was a sometimes troublesome asset for the charity. While the movie mogul frequently brought in big names and exclusive items for its charity auctions, he also made life difficult for those working at the charity.
“He often didn’t pay for his tables at amfAR galas until he was pushed and begged, and then he would get angry and list off the donors and celebrities he would bring to the events. Weinstein would also often join galas at the last minute and disrupt well-organized plans,” reported HuffPost
Cole told NBC that Weinstein’s outrage stemmed from the belief that Ajamie was investigating more than the deal.
“In typical Weinstein fashion — he exploded with threats,” Cole wrote in an email to NBC News.
“I don’t believe we understood what was really behind his anger at the time and I for one did not know of his predatory activities until they were revealed in media reports.”
Coles professed ignorance of Weinstein’s alleged abuses was contradicted by Ajamie, however.
Ajamie said in a statement to NBC News that “during the course of my internal investigation, I received reports of sexual misconduct by Mr. Weinstein. I passed those along to the amFAR chairman.”
Cole denied any memory of those reports when asked by NBC News.