They called him "the third brother."
For years, Weinstein Co. President David Glasser was the right-hand man to Harvey Weinstein, working as a peacemaker between the volatile movie magnate and Weinstein's brother and partner, Bob. Glasser oversaw the company's operations and was key to building its television business.
That abruptly ended Friday night, when Weinstein Co.'s board of directors fired him after a decade at the company, the latest bombshell for the New York studio that has been fighting to survive since Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment and assault by dozens of women.
In a one-sentence statement, the board, which includes Bob Weinstein, said directors voted unanimously to terminate Glasser "for cause."
Glasser declined to comment.
The ouster came after Glasser came under fire from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who sued Weinstein Co. and its co-founders as a result of a civil rights investigation that began four months ago. Schneiderman accused Weinstein Co.'s management of complicity in Harvey Weinstein's behavior toward women. He singled out Glasser, accusing him of not responding to complaints to the company's human resources department.
"The COO David Glasser, who supervised the human resources department, did not stop this discrimination, harassment and abuse, even though he was in charge of handling dozens of shocking complaints," Schneiderman said.
According to the suit, Weinstein Co.'s human resources director forwarded a female employee's complaint to Glasser in May 2015 and wrote in the e-mail that the company had to discuss a settlement and a nondisclosure agreement. A settlement with Weinstein was negotiated shortly afterward, the suit said.
The lawsuit has threatened a potential $500 million deal to sell Weinstein Co. in what had been viewed as a Hail Mary play to save the company from bankruptcy. The business had been nearing a sale to a group of investors led by former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet, who promised to remake the studio as a female-friendly company.
Glasser was one of the staunchest advocates of the deal, backed by billionaire Ron Burkle, said people close to the bidding process. Glasser had been trying to position himself to become CEO after the sale, said people familiar with the process. According to one person, board members were angry with Glasser's handling of the attorney general's investigation and wanted to send a signal to potential buyers that he would not be part of any deal.
It is not clear whether Glasser's firing will be enough to get the sale back on track. People close to the bidders were skeptical that deal making could continue after the attorney general's suit, possibly hastening a filing for Chapter 11 protection. A representative of Contreras-Sweet declined to comment.
Glasser's appointment was only one sticking point for Schneiderman, who also questioned whether the buyers and the company would take adequate steps to compensate Weinstein's accusers and protect future employees.
The allegations against Weinstein have led to lawsuits and criminal investigations against the producer and sparked a movement to expose sexual misconduct by powerful men. Weinstein, who was fired by the board Oct. 8, has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
Glasser's firing is a dramatic setback for the former child actor, whose career has been hampered by lawsuits from people including screenwriters and producers such as Bill Condon and Chazz Palminteri.