Moritz de Hadeln, who served as the director of the Berlin Film Festival for more than 20 years between 1980 and 2001, has come to the defense of Harvey Weinstein. In an op-ed written for Swiss newspaper “Die Weltwoch” (via Deadline), de Hadeln says the “lynching” Weinstein is experiencing is “simply disgusting.” The former festival director later praises Weinstein for being instrumental in making international cinema visible in the United States.
De Hadeln criticizes his contemporaries like Cannes director Thierry Fremaux and Venice director Alberto Barbera for condemning Weinstein in the aftermath of dozens of sexual harassment and assault allegations made against him. De Hadeln argues that Weinstein “has not even been convicted of the crimes” in the court of law and that “we should let the legal system decide if Weinstein has committed any crimes.”
“More than anyone else, [international film festival directors] should understand the important role that the Weinstein brothers, Harvey in particular, have had in supporting European cinema,” de Hadeln writes. “Banishing Harvey means removing an important trump card from European cinema: a person who appreciates auteur films and whose knowledge has allowed important works to succeed.”
De Hadeln notes that Weinstein allowed directors such as Jim Sheridan, Pedro Almodovar, Bernardo Bertolucci, Stephen Frears to “gain entry into the U.S. market” by championing their films and agreeing to distribute them stateside. He goes on to criticize public opinion within the industry for turning against Weinstein despite the former studio head not being convicted in court.
“At the risk of recharging the wrath of some feminists: I wish they could do a more balanced job with Harvey Weinstein, whose professional achievements are undeniable,” he writes. “When there are criminal offenses, the judiciary must intervene, but producers, associations, institutions and media should not presume to replace the judiciary.”
In addition to serving as Berlinale director, de Hadeln was also the head of the Venice Film Festival in 2002 and 2003. During his time leading two of the biggest festivals in the world, he supported Weinstein with screenings of films such as “The English Patient,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “Jackie Brown,” among many others.