Harvey Weinstein ‘Casting Couch’ statue unveiled ahead of Oscars

March 2, 2018 - 8:55 AM
A statue of Harvey Weinstein on a casting couch made by artist Plastic Jesus is seen on Hollywood Boulevard near the Dolby Theatre during preparations for the Oscars in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 1, 2018. (Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

LOS ANGELES | Harvey Weinstein won’t be going to Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, but the film producer’s presence is still being felt in Hollywood.

Los Angeles-based street artist Plastic Jesus on Thursday unveiled a statue called “Casting Couch,” depicting a life-size Weinstein, clothed in a bathrobe, sitting on a golden colored couch and holding an Oscar. It was installed near the Hollywood venue where the Academy Awards ceremony will be held.

More than 70 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including rape. Weinstein has denied having nonconsensual sex with anyone.

His representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the installation.

The accusations against Weinstein triggered a flood of allegations of sexual impropriety by other celebrities that have rocked Hollywood and dominated this year’s movie awards season.

“Whilst many thought the ‘casting couch’ was a thing of the past it was clearly still a part of the Hollywood culture,” Plastic Jesus said in a statement on his Facebook page.

“Hopefully now in the light of recent allegations against many leading figures in Hollywood the industry will clean up it’s (sic) act,” he said.

Weinstein was one of the movie industry’s most influential men, powering independent movies such as “The King’s Speech” and “Shakespeare in Love” to Oscar best picture wins.

He was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last year and fired from his company, the Weinstein Company. The company said on Sunday it planned to file for bankruptcy.

The ‘Casting Couch’ statue followed the appearance in Los Angeles on Wednesday of billboards designed by street artist Sabo that accused the entertainment industry of staying silent about sexual misconduct.

Plastic Jesus said the Weinstein statue was a collaboration with the artist Joshua “Ginger” Monroe and took two months to produce. It was paid for by donations through their websites.

Plastic Jesus and Ginger were also responsible for producing naked statues of Donald Trump that appeared in various U.S. cities in 2016, before he was elected U.S. president.

Artist Plastic Jesus sits on his statue of Harvey Weinstein on a casting couch near the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, US., March 1, 2018. (Photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Insurer Chubb Ltd is refusing to pay for Weinstein’s legal defense against 11 lawsuits that accuse the movie producer of sexually harassing or assaulting women over the past three decades, according to a court document filed on Wednesday.

Units of the insurer have together issued 80 policies to Weinstein and his family between 1994 and 2018, including coverage for personal liability, according to Chubb. That would normally cover legal costs to defend against claims of damage or injury caused accidentally, but the insurer said Weinstein’s conduct was intentional.

He faces many legal cases, including one brought by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accusing him of civil and human rights violations.

Chubb Indemnity Insurance Co and several other Chubb units asked New York State Supreme Court to issue a judgment declaring that the policies’ terms exclude defending charges in the lawsuits, specifically sexual assault, discrimination and intentional acts.

The Weinstein Co on Thursday reached a deal to sell assets to a group led by a former Obama administration official who plans to use a majority-female board to rebuild the Hollywood studio tarnished by sexual misconduct allegations.

In a statement, Maria Contreras-Sweet said she plans to launch a new company, save about 150 jobs, protect the small businesses that are owed money, and create a victims’ compensation fund that will supplement existing insurance coverage for those who have been harmed.

“This next step represents the best possible pathway to support victims and protect employees,” Contreras-Sweet, the former head of the Small Business Administration, said in the statement.

With reports from Lisa Richwine and Suzanne Barlyn