Before Jason Blum became the influential founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions, he spent four years at Miramax working under and being mentored by Harvey Weinstein. Blum joined the indie studio in 1996 as an acquisitions executive. In a new interview with WSJ. Magazine, Blum admits his four years at Miramax made it clear Weinstein was a ruthless bully, but he says he never had an “inkling” Weinstein was a criminal or a rapist.
“At that time every filmmaker wanted their movie to be distributed and bought by them,” Blum said about Miramax and the appeal of working for Weinstein. “There was Miramax and then there was everybody else.”
The magazine describes Weinstein’s relationship to Blum as that of a “mentor and tormentor.” “The mode was the stick, not the carrot,” Blum said, alluding to the fact Weinstein interacted with his employees by tearing them down and not rewarding them. Blum told the Journal “abusive language” was used on a daily basis, as was more overt examples of abuse. One time Blum failed to save a botched acquisition and Weinstein reacted by throwing a lit cigarette at him.
When asked about the incident, Weinstein’s spokesperson told the magazine, “Mr. Weinstein spent a great deal of time mentoring Jason Blum. Mr. Weinstein is proud of what Jason has accomplished.”
Blum hasn’t worked with Weinstein for 18 years (he left Miramax in 2000), but the Blumhouse founder has been thinking about his time with Weinstein and Miramax a lot. Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment and/or abuse by over 100 women. Blum said he never knew about Weinstein’s predatory behavior, but he questions why he stayed at a company for so long working for such an outspoken bully.
“What I question now is why I remained as long as I did,” Blum said. “Clearly it was because I was ambitious, because I wanted to be at the No. 1 place — that was very important to me. It makes me question my compass at the time.”