Early in his film career, Kevin Smith was looking for a big break, but it wasn’t easy to come by financing for his films. Smith finally got backing, and it was in the form of now much-maligned producer Harvey Weinstein. Many of Smith’s early films were produced by Weinstein’s company, and the news about Weinstein’s sexual harassment allegations were a surprise to Smith. “He financed the first 14 years of my career – and now I know while I was profiting, others were in terrible pain,” he said. “It makes me feel ashamed.”
Some of the films that Smith created while with Miramax (operated by Harvey and Bob Weinstein) included “Chasing Amy”, “Dogma” and “Clerks”. These movies all achieved cult status among movie fans, and are still producing money for Smith to this day. Now, Smith is saying that any of the dividends that come from the films he made under Miramax will now be donated to charity.
Smith is putting those residuals toward Women in Film, an organization that “advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries to achieve parity and transform culture.” The charity hopes to increase the number of women that are in roles such as producing, writing and directing. Currently, the number of women in these positions is very low compared to males.
Smith said that he wanted to donate to the charity because “My entire career is tied up with the man (Weinstein)…I just wanted to make some f***ing movies, that’s it. That’s why I came (to Hollywood), that’s why I made Clerks. And no f***ing movie is worth all this. Like, my entire career, f*** it, take it. It’s wrapped up in something really f***ing horrible.”
At the time that he made the statement, Smith was part of a podcast with an audience, while one member shouted out that it wasn’t Smith’s fault for Weinstein’s behavior. Smith responded by saying “I’m not looking for sympathy. I know it’s not my fault, but I didn’t f***ing help. Because I sat out there talking about this man like he was my hero, like he was my friend, like he was my father and s*** like that, and he changed my f***ing life.”
When talking about donating to charity, Smith said that “It’s historically much harder, of course, for a woman to get a film made than a man.” With that, Smith said that he will be giving $2,000 per month to Women in Film, “from not until the f***ing day I die…And hopefully that just got to people that get to make s*** without having to deal with some f***ing animal saying, ‘Here’s the price.’”
Some argued that it wasn’t enough to donate $2,000 per month, and Smith said “Everyone on the internet of course has an opinion; a lot of people when I said that I’m ashamed, I wrote a tweet saying I’m ashamed, a lot of people of course were like, ‘Give all the money back.’ Well, I don’t have money from 20 years ago, do you?”
“But that being said, I work in an industry where thankfully there are dividends that come out of a movies for the rest of your life, so there’s such a thing as residuals where I still get money for those movies, for the movies I made at Miramax and for the movies I made with Weinstein,” he said. “The first thing I feel like I can do is, I don’t want that anymore.”
Smith still regretted saying anything positive about Weinstein in the first place. “I was signing praises of somebody that I didn’t f***ing know,” he said. “I didn’t know the man that they keep talking about in the press. Clearly he exists, but that man never showed himself to me. It all hurts, and it didn’t happen to me, but it all hurts…I had a dream and I made it, and I presented it to somebody, and they didn’t make me do something horrible.”
In total, there are nearly a dozen films in which residuals that Smith receives will be donated to Women in Film. If the Weinstein Company no longer exists, Smith says that he’ll still donate the minimum of $2,000 from his personal accounts for the rest of his life. “That feels like a start,” Smith said.