Filmmaker Will Donate Residuals from His Weinstein Movies
'My entire career is tied up with the man. Everything I did in the beginning has his name on it,' said director Kevin Smith of 'Clerks'
In the aftermath of damaging public revelations about producer Harvey Weinstein’s pattern of alleged abuse and harassment of women over the decades, many coworkers and employees of the movie mogul have come forward to condemn him and his actions.
Not everyone has been met with warm embraces from the public. Hillary Clinton’s statement about her former friend and donor took five days to be released — and many criticized her public words on the matter as empty and lacking in emotion.
Others have been called liars when they’ve claimed obliviousness about Weinstein’s behavior. Actress Rose McGowan, who received a payout from Weinstein after an encounter with him in the ’90s, called actor and Weinstein protege Ben Affleck a liar when the “Justice League” actor came forward with a statement.
McGowan said she had confided in the actor about her assault when they worked together on a 1998 film.
With so many stories coming out from both women and men about harassment and abuse they’ve faced in the entertainment industry, it’s impossible to believe Weinstein is the only one in Hollywood responsible for this abusive behavior.
With multiple payouts to multiple women and some accused of knowing about Weinstein's behavior before the explosive reports from The New York Times and The New Yorker, there is certainly an issue with the power structure in Hollywood — and more people's actions need to come to light.
Some of those who worked with Weinstein over the years, however, have seemed genuinely shaken by their colleague's behavior. Quentin Tarantino, whose movies were all produced by Weinstein, went public with a short statement through actress Amber Tamblyn; he said he would be speaking again more publicly about Weinstein, but as of now was trying to wrap his head around the man's actions and his memories of the two together over the years. Tamblyn told her Twitter followers to give the filmmaker the benefit of the doubt.
Another who has appeared just as shaken by Weinstein's behavior is filmmaker Kevin Smith; his connections with the producer are similar to Tarantino's. Weinstein turned Tarantino from a video-store clerk into a full-fledged filmmaker with 1992's "Reservoir Dogs."
Kevin Smith was manning a convenience store when Weinstein bought the 1994 classic "Clerks" — and introduced Smith to the business.
Both filmmakers publicly split with Miramax in 2005 when Weinstein and his brother, Bob, left the studio to start The Weinstein Company. Smith and Weinstein later had a public falling out, but Smith still has a career very much tied to the man.
Asked about the allegations against Weinstein early on, Smith said on Twitter he felt "ashamed" to have had success under Weinstein while so many women had suffered.
On a recent episode of his podcast "Hollywood Babble-On," Smith took things a step further in addressing the controversy. He said he would refuse the residuals from his Weinstein-produced movies and donate them to charity.
"My entire career is tied up with the man. Everything I did in the beginning has his name on it. And I spent many years lionizing him, telling stories. Whenever I tell the 'Clerks' story, there's, you know — and then we got bought by Miramax," said a teary-eyed Smith to the audience at the Hollywood Improv Comedy Club in Los Angeles. "I'm not a victim in this. This is not about me at all. We know who the victims are. But my sh** is tied up with this man … I just wanted to make ... movies, that's it ... That's why I made 'Clerks.'"
"I sat out there talking about this man like he was a hero, like he was my friend, like he was my father."
A fan of Smith's then yelled from the crowd that it wasn't the filmmaker's fault, to which Smith replied, "I know it's not my fault, but ... I sat out there talking about this man like he was a hero, like he was my friend, like he was my father ... And I showed other people, 'You can dream [too], and you can make stuff, and this man will put it out. I was singing praises of somebody that I didn't f***ing know. I didn't know the man that they keep talking about in the press. Clearly he exists, but that man never showed himself to me. It all hurts, and it didn't happen to me, but it all hurts."
Smith continued, "So I've been trying to think of what to do. Everyone on the Internet, of course, has an opinion; a lot of people when I said that I'm ashamed — I wrote a tweet saying I'm ashamed — a lot of people of course were like, 'Give all the money back.' Well, I don't have money from 20 years ago, do you? But that being said, I work in an industry where thankfully there are dividends that come out of a movie for the rest of your life. So there's such a thing as residuals, where I still get money for those movies, for the movies I made at Miramax and for the movies I made with at Weinstein [Company]. The first thing I feel like I can do is — I don't want that anymore."
The filmmaker said he will be donating the money earned from his films to the organization Women in Film, a nonprofit charity that helps women break into the entertainment industry.
Said Smith, "I had a dream and I made it, and I presented it to somebody, and they didn't make me do something ... horrible. So I feel like there are so many people that we know of now, and maybe even more, that were made to do horrible things to make their dreams come true and maybe didn't even get to touch the dreams; this f***ing dude chased them away."
Smith also said that if his residuals taper off or The Weinstein Company shuts down, he will guarantee a $2,000-a-month donation to Women in Film going forward for the rest of his life.
Smith has been married to his wife, Jennifer Schwalbach, since 1999 and they have an 18-year-old daughter, Harley Quinn Smith. Both his wife and his daughter have starred in many of his films.
He is donating the money earned from his movies to Women in Film, a nonprofit charity that helps women break into the entertainment industry.
The abuse and cover-ups connected to Weinstein over the decades are unacceptable, to say the least. It's a disgrace and is representative of larger problems women are facing in the world and specifically within Hollywood.
In order for the industry to move forward in any meaningful way, there must be changes in the power structure, and more people like Smith and Tarantino need to be vigilant about those with whom they choose to work.
Artists such as Smith, Tarantino and others are the select few creators today who have built-in audiences that will follow them from project to project. If people like this use the limited amount of power they have in the industry to listen to those speaking up and to help keep their work out of the hands of people like Weinstein — then a new Hollywood can be born. It can be free of predators like Weinstein, who have used creative people as a way to gain power, profit and influence over other human beings.
Kudos to Smith for his gesture. This could very well be one of the first signs of an industry in the process of waking up.