UK Labour MP Chi Onwurah has started the formal process to have disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein stripped of his honorary CBE.
The shadow minister for industrial strategy has written to the chairman of the Honours Forfeiture Committee, which will decide if Weinstein’s honour should be removed in light of a number of sexual harassment allegations against the American producer.
In a referral letter to the British Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, Ms Onwurah referenced a letter signed by a number of senior Labour MPs last week to Theresa May which included “supporting evidence” against Weinstein.
Ms Onwurah wrote to Sir Jeremy: “In the enclosed letter to the Prime Minister of 11 October 2017 you will find supporting evidence illustrating that Harvey Weinstein has fallen far short of the standards we expect from recipients of a CBE.
“I am therefore writing to you to refer Mr Weinstein to the Honours Forfeiture Committee for consideration of removing his honorary CBE. “In addition to the allegations referenced in the letter, on Saturday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to expel Mr Weinstein.
“One of the criterion listed by the Government for forfeiture of an honour is if the individual in question is ‘censured or struck off by a professional or regulatory body for something directly relevant to their honour’.”
Ms Onwurah said that, due to Weinstein’s expulsion from the Academy, his CBE – “awarded for ‘outstanding contribution to the British film industry’” – should be removed. She said Weinstein’s removal from the Academy “can be considered ‘directly relevant’ to his honour” and she expects the Forfeiture Committee to “take this into consideration when making a decision”.
The Producers Guild of America is instituting termination proceedings for Weinstein, and last week the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) said it was suspending his membership.
Last week, Ms Onwurah was among the senior Labour politicians who signed the letter to Mrs May, which described the accusations against Weinstein as “unacceptable and intolerable” and said keeping his honorary CBE in place risked “bringing the honours system into disrepute”.
It read: “You must be aware of the recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein CBE.
“Last week the New York Times reported eight allegations of sexual harassment brought to trial against Mr Weinstein which were settled out of court.”
The allegations mentioned in the letter include “a $100,000 settlement from Weinstein to Rose McGowan” and “a case with an unnamed assistant, whom he reportedly tried to convince to give him a massage while he stood naked in front of her at a hotel”.
The original Labour letter referred to Weinstein’s apology, given before many of the allegations were made, in which he said: “I came of age in the 60s and 70s, when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”
The MPs said his actions “may well be criminal under US and UK law”. Weinstein received the CBE at an investiture ceremony at the residence of the British consul general in New York in 2004.
He has been accused of sexual harassment by a number of actresses, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne and Lysette Anthony.
The Metropolitan Police in the UK are also investigating five allegations involving Weinstein, sources have confirmed, dating back to the late 1980s. Through his spokeswoman, the 65-year-old has “unequivocally denied” any allegations of non-consensual sex after three actresses said he had raped them in an article in The New Yorker.