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Before Firing, Harvey Weinstein Asked Film Insiders to Defend Him

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“Do not let me be fired,” Harvey Weinstein wrote in an email sent Sunday to Hollywood agents and studio executives.

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Loic Venance/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Late Thursday, Harvey Weinstein called top Hollywood talent agents to ask for a substantial favor: to please speak up in his defense as he contended with sexual harassment allegations stretching back decades.

When none did, and with the remnants of the Weinstein Company’s board moving to fire him as the studio’s co-chairman, Mr. Weinstein got more frantic. On Sunday, he sent an email to agents and studio executives that said he was “desperate” for their help.

“Do not let me be fired,” he said in the email, according to three people who received it or were briefed on it, one of whom read it over the phone to a reporter. “If the industry supports me, that is all I need.”

Mr. Weinstein added, “We believe what the board is trying to do is not only wrong but might be illegal and would destroy the company.”

Mr. Weinstein’s pleas were for naught. On Sunday night, the Weinstein Company put out a statement saying he had been fired.

“In light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days,” the statement said, he had been “terminated, effective immediately.” The action was taken by Bob Weinstein, the company’s co-chairman and Mr. Weinstein’s brother, and three other board members.

The firing was an escalation from Friday, when one-third of the company’s nine-member, all-male board resigned and four members who remained announced that Mr. Weinstein would take a leave of absence while an outside lawyer investigated the allegations. The accusations, which were uncovered in a New York Times investigation published on Thursday, stretched back decades and came from actresses, as well as former employees at the Weinstein Company and Miramax, the previous company founded by Mr. Weinstein and his brother.

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