Gary Barber, head of Spyglass Entertainment, was the focus of a protest outside his office on February 14. The protest was led by advocates of women sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. The protestors claimed that Barber and Spyglass Entertainment have failed to provide promised compensation to Weinstein’s victims.
Until 2017, Harvey Weinstein was best known as a successful film and television producer. He was chairman and co-founder of The Weinstein Company. He helped launch the careers of many famous actors, screenwriters, and directors. The Weinstein Company owned the rights to an extensive film and TV library.
Weinstein’s fame changed after a news report that alleged he had sexually assaulted many women over several decades and used his position to coerce them into engaging in sexual acts. Weinstein was removed as chairman of The Weinstein Company after the accusations were made public. As a result of Weinstein’s legal troubles and negative publicity, The Weinstein Company announced that it would file for bankruptcy in 2018.
After a few failed attempts by different groups hoping to acquire the company’s film and television assets, The Weinstein Company was purchased by Lantern Capital Partners. The film studio was reformed as Lantern Entertainment. This new film company partnered with Gary Barber in 2019 to market The Weinstein Company’s former media assets through Spyglass Entertainment. Part of the deal for the purchase of The Weinstein Company included money to be set aside for a victim’s compensation fund and to pay The Weinstein Company’s creditors.
According to protestors, Barber and Spyglass Entertainment have not made any offers of compensation to Weinstein’s victims. In an effort to urge the company to fulfill its promise, the protestors gathered outside Barber’s office in Century City on Valentine’s Day.
In a statement made at the conclusion of the protest, the protestors called on both Barber, the CEO of Spyglass Media, and Milos Brajovic and Andy Mitchell, managing partners of Lantern Capital Partners, to “do right by” the victims of Weinstein’s sexual assault.
The protestors described Weinstein’s victims as “patiently waiting” for Barber, Mitchell, and Brajovic to follow through on their promised compensation. The victims’ suffering could not be erased, the protestors said, but it appeared that what was taken by the victims as a “good faith offer” had been “only empty rhetoric” without any attempts to follow through with the financial compensation that had been promised.
The protestors advocating for Weinstein’s victims are not the only ones feeling slighted due to events surrounding Lantern Entertainment’s purchase of The Weinstein Company. A lawsuit related to the acquisition of The Weinstein Company alleges that the primary mover behind Lantern Capital Partners’ investment in the company has been completely cut out of the deal. Much like the protestors, the lawsuit suggests that Lantern Capital Partners has failed to fulfill the obligations it took on in the purchase of The Weinstein Company.
According to legal filings made in 2018 at the Los Angeles Superior Court, a lawsuit was brought against Lantern Capital Partners by Hollywood producer Marvin Peart for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract.
Marvin Peart’s lawsuit claims that he was responsible for bringing Lantern Capital Partners into the deal to purchase The Weinstein Company. Peart, who worked with The Weinstein Company as an executive producer, claims that his relationships with upper management at the company were vital in getting the deal off the ground. He describes himself as being responsible for matching the investment firm with The Weinstein Company. He also claims to have kept negotiations on track.
In return for brokering the purchase, Peart claims he was to receive a board position at the newly formed company now known as Lantern Entertainment. He would also be compensated over $10 million for involving Lantern Capital Partners as a principal party in the purchase, the lawsuit alleges.
Peart claims in his lawsuit that Lantern Capital Partners failed to fulfill its “contractual obligation” to pay him and seat him on the board of directors once Lantern Entertainment was formed.
Peart, who is African-American, also claims in his lawsuit that he was excluded from the deal and his promised compensation in part due to “institutional racism.” He alleges that Lantern Capital Partners attempted to erase his involvement in the acquisition of The Weinstein Company.
The lawsuit describes the acquisition of The Weinstein Company as the story of “how a Hollywood outsider landed the biggest entertainment deal of the year.” Peart argues that in telling this story in the press, Lantern Capital Partners has deliberately left out his part in the deal. He claims that the company’s press surrounding the acquisition was a “triumph of historic revisionism” due to its marginalization of Peart’s role.
This erasure of Peart’s contributions to the historic deal could only, Peart argues, be a result of institutional racism. His lawsuit is requesting $110 million in compensation. The case has not yet been decided in the courts.