At this point, people everywhere know Harvey Weinstein’s many crimes against up-and-coming and well-known actresses. The New York Attorney General Letitia James recently announced that there would be a compensation fund of about $19 million for survivors of Weinstein’s crimes. He’s spent time at Rikers Island and Wende Correctional Facility, located in Alden, New York. The prison is merely a stone’s throw from Buffalo, but it’s not the predator’s first time in Western New York. To learn more about his life and association with the Queen City, we decided to take a look back to his formative years at the University at Buffalo.
Young Harvey Weinstein at UB
Before he became the rapist known ‘round the world, Weinstein had a reasonably conventional upbringing. Born to second-generation immigrants in Queens, Weinstein and his brother, Bob, grew up in an average American household. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University at Buffalo. It was during his collegiate years that the convicted sex offender discovered he had a knack for event production. This led him to found Buffalo’s premier concert production company, Harvey & Corky Productions.
Harvey & Corky
If you ask Buffalonians who were around in the 70s, the name Harvey & Corky Productions will undoubtedly ring a bell. Weinstein started the company with Bob and his friend, Corky Burger. The company quickly gained notoriety for bringing some of the most prominent music groups of the decade to Buffalo. Some headliners include:
- The Rolling Stones
- The Police
- Frank Sinatra
- Bette Midler
- John Mellencamp
- Pat Benetar
And many more. After booking a few of the biggest stars of the time, Weinstein bought a Clarence nightclub with Burger, Stage One, to host musical acts. Young Harvey Weinstein was certainly making a name for himself as one of the most promising names in the Buffalo entertainment industry.
Unfortunately, it’s likely that this lust for power is where his predatory behavior started. Patrick Nehin remembers running into Weinstein and Nehin’s girlfriend at the time in a hotel’s coffeehouse early in the morning. According to Nehin, his girlfriend said that Weinstein tricked her into coming over to Weinstein’s apartment to watch Casablanca. After a belligerent and confrontational Weinstein followed him to the parking lot, Nehin decided to take matters into his own hands.
“…I closed my eyes and hit him as hard as I could,” Nehin recalled to the Buffalo News. “His nose exploded.”
Harvey in Hollywood
If Nehin was hoping to leave Weinstein with a lesson in addition to a broken nose, he was sorely mistaken. A few years later, Weinstein founded Miramax, a wildly successful production and distribution company. It quickly went on to become a household name, releasing such popular films as Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love and Chicago.
However, the success of the business not only earned Weinstein millions; it gave him excessive power, as well. His crimes are well-known now but were merely a dark rumor in the underbelly of the film world. Despite all of the brief allusions to his vulgar reputation — from Gwyneth Paltrow’s reference to Weinstein being a coercer on David Letterman to the mentions of his predatory behavior by 30 Rock character Jenna Maroney — it wasn’t until the MeToo movement gained enough momentum in 2017 to take down this Hollywood star.
What This Means
Many actresses and other acquaintances of Weinstein’s came forward to tell their stories of coercion and rape. He was eventually convicted of sexual assault and rape in New York and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Weinstein is also waiting for a criminal trial in Los Angeles, due to his many Hollywood allegations.
What’s become known as the Weinstein effect has taken place, leading women and men in almost every industry to voice their assault and harassment experiences. Since 2017, 83 people have accused Weinstein of harassment and rape, mostly from those based in Los Angeles or New York City.
Yet, Buffalonians who can remember the initial rise of a young Harvey Weinstein have remained silent.
Are More Survivors Out There?
Chances are likely that there may be more unheard tales of abuse at the hands of Weinstein. Certainly, Nehin thought that his experience with Weinstein’s darker side might have been foreshadowing.
“Now after all this, I wonder if he tricked [my girlfriend] into a massage. You think that a person is bad, then you find out it’s much worse than you imagined. I think he is one of the worst people in America.”
If Weinstein abused you or someone you know, please contact us. Steve Boyd has represented hundreds of abuse survivors, and he’s ready to achieve justice for you.