Channing Tatum has left a film after Harvey Weinstein allegations
Film production company The Weinstein Company has had some of its most challenging moments in recent weeks after its founder, Harvey Weinstein, was accused of several allegations of sexual assault, a situation that became only more scandalous as dozens more women came forward with their own accounts of abuse.
While the company was quick to dismiss the 65-year-old, it was later revealed by at least sixteen current and ex-executives that many people in the company knew of Weinstein's behaviour, yet The Weinstein Company only fired him after the news went public. The future of the company is uncertain, especially after Hollywood actor Channing Tatum has joined something that is beginning to look like a movement of professionals revolting against the company, refusing to work with them from now on.
The 37-year-old is most widely known for his acting and dancing performances in film, but is also passionate about gender equality and being a male role model. Tatum is married to Jenna Dewan, and the two have a 4-year-old daughter together named Evelyn.
Yesterday, the star announced that his latest endeavour – Tatum's first directorial role in film – would no longer be developed, given that it was being produced by The Weinstein Company.
"The brave women who had the courage to stand up and speak their truth about Harvey Weinstein are true heroes to us," Channing wrote in an Instagram post yesterday. "They are lifting the heavy bricks to build the equitable world we all deserve to live in."
"Our lone project in development with TWC – Matthew Quick’s brilliant book, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock – is a story about a boy whose life was torn asunder by sexual abuse.
"While we will no longer develop it or anything else that is the property of TWC, we are reminded of its powerful message of healing in the wake of tragedy. This is a giant opportunity for real change that we proudly commit ourselves to.
"The truth is out – let’s finish what our incredible colleagues started and eliminate abuse from our creative culture once and for all. Chan and Reid."
Tatum's decision is particularly prudent due to the source material of the film. The 2013 book, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is about a high schooler who plans a murder-suicide targeting his onetime best friend. The protagonist comes from a troubled home, and this and an account of sexual assault have had their toll on the teenager.
The statement was signed off by Tatum and his production partner, Reid Carolin. The movie, which was set up by The Weinstein Company in 2014, would have been the co-directorial debut of Tatum and Carolin. Tatum also said they were committing to change by refusing to work on "anything else that is the property of TWC", making a bold statement that could likely have a detrimental effect on the company if enough people take the same stand as Tatum.
It's the latest move that shows professionals making a profound statement by cancelling projects or donating funds that were associated with Weinstein. Last week, a David O Russell TV project starring Robert DeNiro and Julianne Moore was cancelled after Amazon Studios announced that they were cutting ties with The Weinstein Company. Even Democratic politicians like Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Kristen Gillibrand have revolted by saying they'll donate campaign funds they received from Weinstein to charity.
These actions, including Tatum's announcement, demonstrate how those in the industry who have not been victims of sexual abuse can still help to challenge the system by refusing to be associated with abusers, and those who are complicit in staying quiet. It was this system that forced people who were sexually assaulted to silently live with their traumatic experiences for so long. And hopefully, now, we can begin to effect change.