Few public figures were mourning Harvey Weinstein’s downfall on Monday. The movie producer who was once at the top of the entertainment industry and influential in political circles was found guilty of third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual act.
Weinstein’s demise, however, has been uncomfortable for many politicians who once socialized with him and gladly took his donations (and have since returned them and distanced themselves).
Weinstein’s reach even extends into the current Democratic presidential race. In 2005, he recorded a robocall to boost Michael Bloomberg’s bid for reelection as mayor of New York City.
HuffPost was not able to obtain an audio file of the robocall, but there were media reports at the time about it.
“New York City is a great place to make movies,” Weinstein said, according to the now-defunct New York Sun. “And we’ve got a great leader in Mike Bloomberg.”
If you have a copy of this robocall, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bloomberg has not yet commented on the Weinstein jury verdict, although in 2017, he said Weinstein’s behavior was “disgraceful.”
“It’s not a world that I’m really familiar with,” Bloomberg told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “I certainly never heard stories. I don’t know about rumors or anything, but I never heard stories. I’m not tuned in to the Hollywood thing.”
Although Bloomberg was far from the only politician with ties to Weinstein, the association still isn’t one he wants hanging around.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other Democrats have questioned Bloomberg’s attitudes toward women, noting past lawsuits alleging sexual harassment and discrimination at Bloomberg’s titular company and Bloomberg’s own history of sexual and off-color quips.
Many accusers have been prevented from speaking out by nondisclosure agreements with Bloomberg LP. But after coming under fire for those agreements ― and for refusing to even say how many there are ― Bloomberg recently announced that three women who made complaints specifically about him could speak publicly with no repercussions.
He has not done the same for other people with complaints about Bloomberg LP.
“New York City is a great place to make movies. And we’ve got a great leader in Mike Bloomberg.”
Bloomberg’s political rivals are aware of his ties to Weinstein. The grassroots group People For Bernie, which backs Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, recirculated footage of Bloomberg praising Weinstein in the past. Conservatives, including Donald Trump Jr., have also noted the links between the two.
New York City’s newspapers have long chronicled the relationship between Bloomberg and Weinstein, which began even before Bloomberg became mayor. On election night in 2000, Bloomberg and Weinstein ― along with journalist Tina Brown, a friend of Bloomberg’s who was then an employee of Weinstein’s ― hosted a party meant to honor Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore’s victory.
At the party, Weinstein referred to Bloomberg ― who had just left the Democratic Party to become a Republican in preparation for his mayoral bid ― as a “transvestite Republican.”
The next year, Weinstein flipped at the last minute to back Bloomberg’s bid. A longtime supporter of Democratic mayoral candidate Mark Green, Weinstein was disappointed with Green’s efforts to make peace with Fernando Ferrer, Green’s primary rival ― and especially with Green’s aides, who decided to rebuff an offer to enlist former President Bill Clinton to help unify the party, according to the New York Daily News.
The night before the election, Weinstein called Bloomberg and endorsed him. He then “spent all day on the phone lining up Bloomberg votes” on Election Day.
Their relationship would quickly become mutually beneficial: Bloomberg ramped up film and television tax credits in the city in an effort to diversify the city’s economy and make it less reliant on the financial industry. They teamed up on an unsuccessful effort to woo the Academy Awards to New York. In 2005, Weinstein appeared at a campaign rally for Bloomberg and recorded the robocall on his behalf.
By 2007, Bloomberg had even named Weinstein to the board of advisers of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which works with city agencies and nonprofits to coordinate philanthropic giving.
The Bloomberg campaign downplayed the relationship between the two men in a statement.
“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,” Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser said. “And film company executives gave back to New York ― eight years before the truth about Harvey Weinstein was known, he was known for helping raise tens of millions of dollars for 9/11 responders and for helping to spur Lower Manhattan’s rebirth.”