Weinstein Co Names Ivona Smith to Board as Independent Director

The Weinstein Company has added Ivona Smith of DriveTrain to its board of representatives as an independent director to assist in its bankruptcy proceedings.

“We are delighted to welcome Ms. Smith to our Board,” TWC chairman and co-founder Robert Weinstein said in a statement. “Ms. Smith brings not only substantial expertise in the bankruptcy sale process, but also enhanced transparency toward Board’s goal of maximizing value for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

The addition of Smith, who specializes in distressed situations, including restructurings, corporate finance and audits, comes a month after the company filed for bankruptcy.

Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Seeks Emails He Says Will Help Him ‘Defend Himself’ in Court

The Weinstein Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware last month, with Lantern Capital Partners agreeing to buy the company’s assets for $310 million and to keep the studio’s employees on as a “going concern.”

In its bankruptcy filing, the company named Robert del Genioof FTI Consulting as its chief restructuring officer, overseeing the company’s finances and operations during the bankruptcy process.

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80-Plus Independent Games Coming to This Year’s BitSummit

More than 80 games are coming to this year’s BitSummit event in Kyoto, Japan, the group announced this week. Started in late 2012 by James Mielke, former editor-in-chief of video game website 1up.com, BitSummit was created to highlight and celebrate Japanese independent video game development — something overshadowed by the country’s AAA scene. Over time, […]

Facebook Announces Independent Probe Into Social Media’s Impact on Elections

Facebook is backing an independent research group tasked with looking into the “effects of social media on elections and democracy,” the company’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced on Monday.

With an eye to the 2018 U.S. midterm elections — as well as several key elections around the globe — the committee of leading academics will study how the social network can tackle the spread of misinformation.

“We’ll give those researchers access to our resources so they can draw unbiased conclusions about Facebook’s role in elections, including how we’re handling the risks on our platform and what steps we need to take before future elections,” Zuckerberg said in a blog post. “They’ll share their work publicly, and we won’t require our approval to publish.”

Also Read: Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Dumps Facebook

It’s the latest in a string of new initiatives put in place by the social network, as the company deals with the fallout of both a massive data leak, as well as the lingering impact of Russian troll accounts on the 2016 U.S. election. Facebook booted hundreds of Kremlin-tied accounts last week, and implemented a verification process for political advertisers last week.

The commission comes as Zuckerberg prepares to testify in front of Congress on the Cambridge Analytica data leak, during which up to 87 million users had their information unknowingly accessed.

The independent research group is being funded by several well-known nonprofits: the John and Laura Arnold Foundation, Democracy Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Charles Koch Foundation, the Omidyar Network and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The Facebook head honcho pointed to the 2016 U.S. election, where more than 100 million Americans were hit by Russian troll ads, as a wakeup call.

Also Read: Kremlin Cries ‘Censorship’ Over Facebook’s Purge of Russian ‘Troll Factory’

“Looking back, it’s clear we were too slow identifying election interference in 2016, and we need to do better in future elections,” said Zuckerberg. “This is a new model of collaboration between researchers and companies, and it’s part of our commitment to protect the integrity of elections around the world.”

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Blockchain Network Treeti Partners With Independent Filmmaker Project

Treeti, a new blockchain network for entertainment business co-founded by former MGM, Sony, and Starz marketing executive Amorette Jones, is partnering with the Independent Filmmaker Project. IFP helps budding filmmakers get their projects off the ground and has supported work by Ava DuVernay, Barry Jenkins, Dee Rees, Ryan Coogler, and Denis Villeneuve among others in […]

Time’s Up Demands ‘Independent Investigation’ of NY District Attorney Over Failure to Prosecute Harvey Weinstein

Time’s Up, the woman’s advocacy and legal organization targeting sexual harassment in the workplace, is demanding that New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance be investigated for his failure to prosecute Harvey Weinstein after being presented with evidence of Weinstein’s sexual crimes.

“Time’s Up, a global organization dedicated to ending workplace sexual harassment and abuse, calls on the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, to launch an independent investigation of the New York County District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, and the office of the District Attorney to determine the facts related to the decision not to prosecute Harvey Weinstein for sexual abuse crimes against one of his accusers, Ambra Battilana,” reads the opening statement to a letter the group sent to New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

The letter was first provided to and published by New York Magazine’s The Cut on Sunday.

Also Read: NYPD Detective Says Harvey Weinstein Case Has ‘Considerable Evidence’

“Reports that District Attorney Cyrus Vance could have been improperly influenced by Mr. Weinstein and/or his representatives, and that senior officials within the DA’s office may have sought to intimidate Battilana are particularly disturbing and merit investigation,” the organization adds.

The issue at hand for the organization concerns Vance’s response to a 2015 NYPD audio recording of Weinstein pressuring Battilana for sex, and admitting that he had groped her in the past. This audio recording was one of the most arresting revelations in Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker piece originally exposing Weinstein’s behavior.

According to Farrow, police sources at the time were angry at Vance’s decision not to use the audio to make a case against Weinstein.

Also Read: Weinstein Co. Seeks New Buyer to Avoid Bankruptcy, Says Employees Will Still Be Paid

“We had the evidence,” a police source involved with the Battilana investigation told Farrow. “It’s a case that made me angrier than I thought possible, and I have been on the force a long time.”

In a statement at the time, Vance defended his office’s conduct.

“This case was taken seriously from the outset, with a thorough investigation conducted by our Sex Crimes Unit, they said. “After analyzing the available evidence, including multiple interviews with both parties, a criminal charge is not supported.”

Neither Vance’s office or Times Up were immediately available for comment Monday morning.

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