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Arts and Entertainment

USC 'Will Not Proceed' With Harvey Weinstein's $5 Million Pledge

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On Tuesday afternoon, the USC School of Cinematic Arts announced that they "will not proceed" with producer Harvey Weinstein's pledge to fund a $5 million endowment for women filmmakers.

Weinstein originally responded to the New York Times' first bombshell report on his alleged history of sexual misconduct with a rambling statement that, among other things, referenced a $5 million donation that he had pledged to USC's film school to offer scholarships for female directors. "One year ago, I began organizing a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC. While this might seem coincidental, it has been in the works for a year," Weinstein wrote in his statement. That was on Thursday—less than a week and several rounds of stomach-churning Harvey Weinstein allegations ago. On Tuesday, a USC student created an online petition calling on the university to reject Weinstein's pledged endowment to the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

“As a woman at USC, the prospect that my university might sell an indulgence to ease Harvey Weinstein’s non-existent guilt saddens me,” USC senior Tiana Lowe wrote in her petition, which has received over a hundred signatures so far.

"Universities are supposed to be one of the premier moral arbiters and ethical gatekeepers to civil society, but USC has acted as anything but," Lowe wrote. "University officials continue to promulgate the offensive lie that all men have just a little bit of rape culture in them, but all it takes [is] a flashy [USC Vice President for Student Affairs] Ainsley Carry photo-op in the Daily Trojan and some consent classes to prevent men from revealing their inner rapist."

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The USC School of Cinematic Arts, which had released a statement late last week verifying that they had begun discussions with Weinstein over a year ago about "a $5M endowment in his mother’s honor dedicated to scholarships for women filmmakers, particularly those from minority communities" released a new statement on Tuesday afternoon announcing that they would not be moving forward with the donation.

"The USC School of Cinematic Arts will not proceed with Mr. Weinstein’s pledge to fund a $5M endowment for women filmmakers," the statement read in full.

"I think this goes to show that social pressure is important, especially considering how many big scandals have been reported in the past few months," Lowe, the student who originated the petition, told LAist. "This is an important show of solidarity not just for the victims of Harvey Weinstein, but also for USC as a cultural, educational and entertainment institution—to show that they're willing to take a moral stance," Lowe continued.