The Harvey Weinstein sex scandal has made it’s way to St. Louis. Wednesday afternoon, the Weinstein Company told the St. Louis International Film Festival it was pulling “The Upside” after learning the Cinema St. Louis Board of Directors was considering dropping the film because of the ongoing scandal involving movie executive Harvey Weinstein. The film was scheduled for a November 9th showing at the Tivoli Theater.
“The Upside” is an American remake of a foreign hit about the friendship between a wealthy quadriplegic and the ex-con who becomes his caregiver. “A pretty sterling cast with Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, and Nicole Kidman,” said Cinema St. Louis Executive Director Cliff Froehlich. “Deals with some subjects that we thought were worthwhile: disabilities, depression related to such matters, interracial friendship.”
With more than 60 women coming forward with accusations of sexual assault or harassment by Harvey Weinstein, the St. Louis International Film Festival and Cinema St. Louis was put in an uncomfortable position.
“The news broke about Harvey Weinstein and the allegations against him,” said Froehlich. “Obviously we strongly condemn any kind of behavior of that kind, but we didn’t know how we should realistically proceed.
Suddenly there was a downside to “The Upside”, with a board member calling on the festival to cancel the film screening. Froehlich said the Cinema St. Louis Board of Directors had several options to consider, from cancelling the film, to showing it and donating proceeds to a non-profit that works with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Froehlich gave the Weinstein Company until 6 pm Wednesday to respond. By early afternoon Wednesday, the Weinstein Company announced “The Upside” would not play at the film festival.
Froehlich said the festival is working on a replacement film and how to notify the public about the last minute change.