The Harvey Weinstein Ripple Effect Is Hitting Nickelodeon and Vox Media
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, networks, studios, and major companies are cleaning house—and taking allegations of sexual misconduct seriously. Nickelodeon just went from suspending to outright firing a show-runner accused of sexual harassment. Vox Media just fired an editorial director for alleged misconduct. And one of the most famous magicians in the world is under investigation after a model claimed that he raped her in 2004.
It’s a dizzying turn of events, all apparently catalyzed by the stomach-churning allegations against Weinstein—who is also still making headlines himself. Director Quentin Tarantino, who has worked closely with Weinstein for years, admitted on Thursday that he was long aware of the producer’s allegedly predatory behavior; Tarantino’s ex-girlfriend, Mira Sorvino, one of the first woman to speak publicly about her alleged experience with Weinstein, even told Tarantino that the belligerent mogul had acted inappropriately with her. Tarantino was “shocked and appalled” at the time, but ultimately froze: “What I did was marginalize the incidents,” he told The New York Times.
Meanwhile, Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o also penned a harrowing account of her own experiences with Weinstein for The New York Times Thursday, claiming that the producer sexually harassed her numerous times. He once allegedly propositioned her in his bedroom, when his children were at home. He asked if he could give her a massage (a tactic that many other accusers say he used with them); Nyong’o said she “panicked” but refused, offering to give Weinstein one instead, just so she could “be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.” It was not the last time Weinstein would allegedly proposition Nyong’o. After she won her Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, she said his manner toward her changed—but she vowed never to work with him.
It’s these kinds of stories that are prompting other companies in Hollywood and beyond to take a closer look at their own employee rosters, and to act swiftly when their own high-profile figures are accused of sexual misconduct. Nickelodeon, for example, quickly took decisive action in the case of Chris Savino, the show-runner of its cartoon The Loud House. After Savino was accused of sexual harassment by up to a dozen women, he was subsequently suspended by Nickelodeon on Thursday. One day later, Nickelodeon announced that he had been fired.
“We take allegations of misconduct very seriously, and we are committed to fostering a safe and professional workplace environment that is free of harassment or other kinds of inappropriate conduct,” the network said in a statement, according to Deadline. The Loud House will continue to air as planned.
Vox Media has also swiftly responded to accusations of sexual misconduct among its own ranks. The company has reportedly fired editorial director Lockhart Steelefor inappropriate behavior. On Thursday, Vox Media C.E.O. Jim Bankoffconfirmed the decision, writing in a Slack message to employees that Steele “was terminated effective immediately.”
“Lock admitted engaging in conduct that is inconsistent with our core values and will not be tolerated at Vox Media,” Bankoff wrote.
The Weinstein ripple effect has also flowed toward individuals in the greater show-business landscape. On Thursday, it was reported that the magician David Blaineis being investigated by Scotland Yard for allegedly raping a woman in 2004. Model Natasha Prince recently came forward with allegations that Blaine raped her then in a London home, just a few months after her 21st birthday. She reported the alleged assault to the police in 2016. According to the Daily Beast, the police have requested Blaine come to London for an interview.
In a statement, Blaine’s attorney Marty Singer denied the allegations: “My client vehemently denies that he raped or sexually assaulted any woman, ever, and he specifically denies raping a woman in 2004,” the statement said, later adding that that specifically includes Prince. “If, in fact, there is any police investigation, my client will fully cooperate because he has nothing to hide.”
Through all of this ensuing chaos, Weinstein himself has denied allegations of non-consensual acts. He has also fled to Arizona, where he is undergoing rehabilitation for sex addiction—though new reports indicate that the process is not going particularly smoothly.