Harvey Weinstein, the film mogul, who was recently outed as a serial misogynist, donated $100,000 to New Jersey’s state-run Rutgers University for its new Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies in his late mom’s honor.
Critics have called for the university to give the now-tainted money back, but Rutgers officials flatly refused.
Weinstein currently faces allegations from multiple women, including actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, that he has been a sexual predator for decades.
Ironically, Weinstein was one of the lead donors to the university’s newly-endowed chair position in honor of the feminist icon. According to a report in NJ.com, more than 425 people, including Filmmaker George Lucas, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, newspaper publisher Mortimer Zuckerman, and a list of celebrities made donations to the $3 million campaign.
Following news of the sexual harassment charges, the Republican National Committee (RNC) released a statement Thursday, challenging Democrats to return donations they had received from Weinstein if they are really serious about standing up for women like they say they are.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said in the statement, “During three-decades worth of sexual harassment allegations, Harvey Weinstein lined the pockets of Democrats to the tune of three-quarters of a million dollars. If Democrats and the DNC [Democratic National Committee] truly stand up for women like they say they do, then returning this dirty money should be a no brainer.”
A few Democrat senators are already giving up the dirty cash.
Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who is up for reelection in 2018, announced on Thursday that he has passed his $5,400 donation from Weinstein on to the Community Against Violence, a nonprofit organization in New Mexico which operates a hotline for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Likewise, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said he plans to give his $5,400 donation to the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence organization.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said he would donate $2,700 to the Women’s Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation.
A Rutgers spokesman said the university is not having any second thoughts about using Weinstein’s money to fund its new chair, especially because it is in honor of a women’s rights activist.
“Harvey Weinstein and the H. Weinstein Family Foundation contributed a gift of $100,000 in honor of his late mother, who shared Gloria Steinem’s hopes for female equality. We can think of no better use of this donation than to continue this important work,” said Karen Smith, a Rutgers spokeswoman.
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