Sallie Hofmeister is Harvey Weinstein’s new publicist. According to Page Six, Hofmeister’s friends say that she is “a staunch feminist, generous friend, and promoter of young professional women.”
Her decision to take on Weinstein as a client hasn’t been completely well-received by social media. However, Hofmeister has been very professional about this case and appears to be doing her job without paying much mind to the negative chatter.
Hofmeister shared that her company’s relationship with Weinstein’s lawyers was one of the reasons that she decided to take on the task.
“The firm has known Mr. Weinstein’s attorneys for some time and worked with one of them for more than two decades. We greatly respect these lawyers and they asked for our help in making sure the coverage is as fair and accurate as possible,” Hofmeister said in a statement.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Weinstein Hired Hofmeister in October
Weinstein has been accused of sexually harassing several dozen women including actresses Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie. His alleged inappropriate relationship with actress Paz de la Huerta could see him in court soon.
Suffice it to say, Weinstein needed someone to represent him during this challenging time and reached out to Sitrick And Company, a communications firm based out of Los Angeles. Although just about everyone has vacated Weinstein’s inner circle, including lawyer Lisa Bloom, Hofmeister, 60, stepped in a few weeks ago. She was listed as the producer’s spokeswoman as early as October 10.
According to Page Six, Weinstein reached out to the firm’s founder, Michael Sitrick, on October 7. Sitrick told the outlet that he couldn’t take Weinstein on as a personal client due to “a serious family illness issue” that he had been dealing with. Sitrick believed that Hofmeister would be a good fit, however, and the deal was inked shortly after.
“He said his decision to assign her the Weinstein account had nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman. She was simply the first person who came to mind, he said, adding that if she hadn’t picked up the phone, he would have reached out to a number of male executives at his firm,” Page Six reports.
2. Hofmeister Is a Senior Executive at Sitrick And Company
Hofmeister has been working at Sitrick And Company since 2013, according to her LinkedIn page. The firm specializes in “crisis public relations” and has represented big names including Johnny Depp R. Kelly, Michael Vick, and Hulk Hogan. As a senior executive, Hofmeister is poised to handle any and all aspects of public relations.
“Although the firm has extensive experience in corporate, financial, transactional and crisis communications, it is best known for its work in sensitive, make-or-break situations. Whether helping a client with reputation management, a merger, litigation issues, a restructuring or a criminal indictment, Sitrick And Company works to ensure that clients’ objectives are achieved and its key constituents receive the appropriate communications. These include employees, the investment community, customers, suppliers and government officials,” reads the company’s website.
Since Weinstein’s case is so scandalous and has the potential to completely ruin every aspect of his life (from his marriage to his career), it was imperative that he hired someone who has a great deal of experience — and Hofmeister fits the bill.
3. Hofmeister’s Decision to Accept Weinstein as a Client Has Been Criticized on Social Media
Representing Weinstein in any fashion during this scandal is risky and it’s not a job that many people are willing to take on. Hofmeister has been very professional and seems to be looking at this opportunity as a business venture and nothing more.
That said, there has been a good deal of criticism floating around since Hofmeister’s name came into play. A lot of people are surprised that Weinstein was able to find someone to handle his public relations — and more surprised that the person is a woman, given the nature of the claims that Hofmeister is facing.
“All I can say is how much are they paying her to be Harvey’s mouthpiece? I hope she’s making a fortune because this is really embarrassing,” a “Hollywood Insider” told Page Six.
“Sallie Hofmeister … stop. Please stop. You are selling your soul for a paycheck and raping the victims with your words. We, as women, must do better than that,” a Facebook user wrote on Hofmeister’s page.
“Sallie Hofmeister, how do you sleep at night?” asked one Twitter user.
“Shame on Sallie Hofmeister. Her name will forever be linked to this disgusting monster,” added another.
Despite the backlash, Hofmeister has been doing her job to the best of her ability. When The Cut asked Hofmeister if she thought that Weinstein was a “good person,” she was quick to point out that her client is in treatment and she that her client is “determined.”
“Mr. Weinstein has been in intensive therapy for more than a month and plans to continue his treatment indefinitely. He says he is committed to becoming a better person and, as we know, Mr. Weinstein is nothing if not determined,” she told the outlet.
4. She Previously Worked as a Reporter & Editor at the Los Angeles Times
Hofmeister grew up in New York and attended Clinton Central School. After graduation, she attended the University of Vermont before transferring to Kansas State University where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Before joining the Sitrick And Company team in 2013, Hofmeister worked as an editor for the New York Times (in the 90s) and as a reporter and editor at the Los Angeles Times.
According to The Cut, Hofmeister had quite a few achievements in journalism while working for the Los Angeles Times.
“In her 17 years at the Times, Hofmeister made her reputation on holding power to account and investigating the media’s biggest business deals. Her exposé of E! Network’s Mindy Herman’s bad behavior led to Herman’s resignation in 2004; she reported on Rupert Murdoch’s $1 billion bid for a British soccer team, the internal squabbles of Murdoch’s sons at News Corp, and Ted Turner’s rage over the AOL–Time Warner merger. Just a year into her tenure at the Times, her team’s coverage of Disney’s purchase of Capital Cities/ABC Inc. —creating what was then the largest entertainment company in the world — made her a finalist for the 1996 Pulitzer Prize.”
Hofmeister decided to leave the Los Angeles Times in 2012 after witnesses several layoffs. She got into public relations because many of her colleagues had made the leap.
“There’s really nothing that compares with the excitement and challenge of working in a newsroom of a major metropolitan daily newspaper. I was committed and never wanted it to end. But then came the dark years — the shrinking newsrooms and budgets, the fading spirit and morale. After years of continuous layoffs at the LAT, I began to recognize that after three decades in journalism, I needed to try something new as my final chapter. Some of my colleagues had made the transition to crisis and found it to be interesting work,” she told The Cut about her decision to switch career gears.
5. Hofmeister Is Well-Respected in the Industry
When Hofmeister made the jump to Sitrick And Company, it was a fairly big deal. So much so, in fact, that several media outlets, including Deadline, reported the news.
Hofmeister’s LinkedIn page is also filled with glowing recommendations.
“The best in the business. What a great person and a great gal,” wrote VP of sales at ActiveVideo Networks, Bob Beyer.
“Sallie is a creative, inspiring leader and manager with strong journalistic skills and high standards and ethics. As a reporter and editor she knows her subject matter and writes with clarity and panache. As a manager, she is popular with subordinates, responsive to upper management and up to date on changing technology,” wrote journalist Turner Craig.