It was an odd footnote and start to a new political partnership: Just before Michael Bloomberg scored his first electoral triumph after spending more than $74 million to become the Republican mayor of New York in 2001, he won the backing of Hollywood movie mogul and major Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein.
Just days earlier, Weinstein had been supporting the campaign of Bloomberg’s Democratic rival, former New York City Public Advocate Mark Green. In fact, Weinstein had hosted a party for Green at the Grand Hyatt for more than 1,000 people that brought in $100,000.
‘Both Clintons were there. Both Cuomos were there. Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon were the emcees. It was a thing,’ Green recalled about the Democratic unity event to DailyMail.com, on a day when Bloomberg’s political star was on the ascent and Weinstein was on trial for alleged rape and assault.
Michael Bloomberg and disgraced Hollywood exec Harvey Weinstein began a years-long political association after Weinstein suddenly endorsed his mayoral campaign in 2001 after backing Democrat Mark Green
But soon afterward, Weinstein suddenly bolted from Green and threw his support to Bloomberg – kicking off a political relationship that would last for years.
What set the mogul off, according to Green, was that the liberal public interest advocate rejected his attempt to broker a peace with defeated Democratic primary candidate Freddie Ferrer, who was being zealously backed by Rev. Al Sharpton, in a race that featured racially charged posters and fliers.
‘This infuriated Harvey, who knew me well,’ Green recalled this week. ‘And the next morning he endorsed Bloomberg.
‘This is not done … He had endorsed me, hosted this event but because I didn’t do his bidding he announced his support for Bloomberg. Which of course had no effect, that day,’ said Green, who recently published a book about Donald Trump with former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
‘I believe he had good intentions. But his vanity got the best of him,’ Green said of Weinstein. ‘Of course Bloomberg had to appreciate what he did and of course they go to some similar events,’ he said.
Weinstein’s sudden flip to Bloomberg puzzled seasoned New York political observers.
‘I was thinking at the time who the hell is he to mediate anything?’ New York political consultant Jerry Skurnik told DailyMail.com. At the time, Weinstein was a ‘contributor, a rainmaker, a bundler. Someone who could raise money and as far as most people working in the campaign, someone you tolerate and listen to his ideas and let it go in one ear and out the other while you take his money,’ he said.
‘Weinstein got involved trying to mediate between them and he didn’t like the way Green responded to his attempt to mediate. And he switched his support from Green to Bloomberg,’ he recalled.
Weinstein also had the stature at the time to at least try to present himself as enough of a player to try to broker a meeting that would bring together former President Bill Clinton, Al Sharpton, and the Democratic mayoral nominee at New York’s Four Seasons hotel.
Film Executive Bob Weinstein, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Film Executive Harvey Weinstein attend the 8th Annual ‘Made In NY Awards’ at Gracie Mansion on June 10, 2013 in New York City
Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg(C) is applauded by New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani(L) and New York Governor George Pataki (R) after winning the New York mayoral race over Democrat Mark Green 07 November, 2001
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, left, Harvey Weinstein, founder and co-chairman of Weinstein co., center, and Diana Taylor, a former New York banking superintendent arrive for morning sessions at the 28th annual Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Saturday, July 10, 2010
The Bloomberg-Weinstein political relationship would continue for years, and would come to include a series of high-profile public events in Manhattan, as well as a joint push for a lucrative tax break that benefited the film industry and helped draw attention to the city.
Bloomberg is one of many famous figures who have come to regret their connections to Weinstein, who has been accused by women of rape and assault and is on trial in New York.
It is a tie that is particularly sensitive for Bloomberg, who has been accused by women of overseeing a hostile work environment and has been accused of making inappropriate comments – a topic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts hammered him over at Wednesday’s Demoratic debate.
Once in office, Bloomberg teamed with Weinstein at events to promote New York City, his charity, and his own election efforts.
Weinstein made last-minute phone calls on behalf of Bloomberg’s 2001 election when the then-Republican took City Hall, according to press accounts at the time.
He was behind the mayor again for his reelection in 2005, when the former filmmaking powerhouse reportedly made automated phone calls to boost the billionaire’s campaign. (Bloomberg spent $85 million on that successful effort).
Weinstein helped lend Democratic credibility and Hollywood cache to the then-independent Bloomberg’s reelection, speaking at a Democrats for Bloomberg event. ‘I haven’t heard this many Democrats saying nice things about me since I was one,’ the mayor quipped at the time.
In other instances, the two teamed up in efforts meant to promote New York and the film industry, as they did in 2002 in a brash effort to lure one of Hollywood’s biggest nights – the Oscars – to Manhattan. The idea began with a Weinstein pitch to get the entire show, then morphed into an effort by Bloomberg, Weinstein, and former New York Gov. George Pataki to bring part of the annual show to the city as a tribute to its glory days.
The association between the two men would extend through Bloomberg’s three terms of mayor – before Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct in a downfall that made him a key figure in the #MeToo movement.
Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser said of the two men: ‘They were never close – when Weinstein wanted to call Mike the before the election, he didn’t have Mike’s number. Someone who worked for Miramax figured out that they knew someone on the campaign, which is the only way they connected.’
He continued: ‘When Mike was Mayor, New York’s film industry almost tripled in size and employed over 100,000 people a year as film companies and film production came back to New York. And film company executives gave back to New York – many years before the truth about Harvey Weinstein was known, when was known for helping raise tens of millions of dollars for 9/11 responders and for helping to spur Lower Manhattan’s rebirth, he was one of many to get a Made in New York Award.’
Harvey Weinstein, Scarlett Johansson and Alicia Keys. Bloomberg visited filming of The Nanny Diaries in New York
Bloomberg visited the set of The Nanny Diaries, a Weinstein production, in New York, and touted a boost in a film production tax credit
Michael Bloomberg and Harvey Weinstein attend Bloomberg Businessweek’s 85th Anniversary Celebration at American Museum of Natural History on December 4, 2014 in New York City
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Film Executive Harvey Weinstein attend the 8th Annual ‘Made In NY Awards’ at Gracie Mansion on June 10, 2013 in New York City
Talk Magazine, Miramax & Bloomberg host democratic election night party at Elaines in New York City
Harvey Weinstein, center, leaves a Manhattan courthouse after closing arguments in his rape trial in New York, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020
Weinstein cracked a crude joke about the Francois Truffaut film The 400 Blows at an event with Bloomberg in 2013
In 2010, the two men were pictured walking together at the annual tech confab in Sun Valley, Idaho.
In 2013, when Weinstein was an A-list celebrity who got regular shout-outs at awards shows, Bloomberg called Weinstein the ‘pride of Flushing’ in an event that was captured on video.
Weinstein, who was there with his brother and partner Bob, made a crude joke while Bloomberg – who is himself accused of making inappropriate comments at the office in legal actions – stood by awkwardly.
‘The reason Bob and I became fond of independent foreign films is because when we were 14-year-old boys and our hormones were raging, we saw an ad for the Mayfair movie theater…and it said ‘the 400 blows,’ and we thought it was something else,’ Weinstein said at the time. The event was hosted at Gracie Mansion. The Daily Caller reported on the resurfaced video last week.
Weinstein was being honored at the annual ‘Made in NY Awards’ at Gracie Mansion, where he saluted Bloomberg for boosting his Miramax pictures during a downturn. Bloomberg ‘dropped a lot of things and got it done for us,’ he said.
‘The mayor’s there in a big way. The mayor was there in a visual way,’ he said.
In 2006, years before his alleged misconduct made him a reviled figure in the #MeToo movement, Weinstein and Bloomberg mingled on the set of ‘The Nanny Diaries,’ as part of a pitch for a $30 million boos to the film production tax credit. Weinstein’s Miramax produced the film.
The mayor’s office touted Weinstein’s support in a May 2006 press release.
‘My brother Bob and I have always been based here, and we are grateful to Mayor Bloomberg’s Administration for being such dynamic champions of the entertainment industry,’ Weinstein said at the time. The film had an ensemble cast and starred Scarlett Johansson.
It was an association Bloomberg touted, later naming Weinstein to the board of the Mayor’s Fund charity.
The Hollywood big was often on hand for openings and ribbon cuttings with Bloomberg, as he was during the 2009 reopening of the Beacon Theatre.
They were together at annual confabs in Sun Valley, Idaho and other events where stars and power brokers mingle, such as investor Steve Rattner’s birthday in 2012.
When Bloomberg Businessweek held a soiree in 2014, Weinstein was on the guest list. Padma Lakshmi and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were there, as DailyMail.com reported at the time. Bloomberg and Weinstein were pictured talking at the event.
Bloomberg bristled in 2017 when The Hollywood Reporter asked him if he was ever friendly with Weinstein after multiple women brought accusations against him for alleged misconduct, blasting his conduct and minimizing their years-long cooperative efforts.
‘No, we gave him an award for a movie once,’ Bloomberg said. ‘It’s disgraceful, his conduct. It’s not a world that I’m really familiar with. I don’t know about rumors or anything, but I never heard stories. I’m not tuned in to the Hollywood thing,’ Bloomberg said.
There is no evidence Bloomberg knew anything about Weinstein’s alleged misconduct. But their association, and a raft of photos and videos of the two men together, could be harmful to Bloomberg at a time when he is under fire for holding women who sued his company for alleged discrimination to non-disclosure agreements.
A jury in New York began deliberations Tuesday on charges Weinstein engaged in repeated sexual misconduct.