Last year, Hollywood was rocked by the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Dozens of women came out to accuse the famed producer of sexual assault, including Salma Hayek who revealed that he was her “monster” during the filming of Frida and later shared more horrifying details in an Oprah interview. Yesterday, we heard the good news that The Weinstein Company, which produced films such as Frida, The Artist, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, was now the hands of Latina businesswoman Maria Contreras-Sweet. Unfortunately, however, that deal has fallen through.
According to People, a group of investors led by Maria Contreras-Sweet had reached a deal to buy The Weinstein Co. In a statement, Contreras-Sweet said that they hoped to “launch a new company, with a new board and a new vision that embodies the principles that we have stood by since we began this process last fall… Those principles have never wavered and have always been to build a movie studio led by a board of directors made up of a majority of independent women.” However, according to The Guardian, the deal ultimately fell through at the eleventh hour due to her group uncovering an additional $50-60 million in debt. In a statement, she said:
“All of us have worked in earnest on the transaction to purchase the assets of the Weinstein Company. However, after signing and entering into the confirmatory diligence phase, we have received disappointing information about the viability of completing this transaction. As a result, we have decided to terminate this transaction.”
Although it’s upsetting that the fate of The Weinstein Co. again hangs in the balance, it’s incredible that this Latina entrepreneur went to such great lengths to try to save the company and compensate Harvey Weinstein’s victims. This also isn’t the first time that Contreras-Sweet has been in the spotlight. You might know her name from her work with President Barack Obama or when she started a bank that served Latino business owners. However, there’s a lot more to know about this inspiring Latina. Here are six things that you need to know about Maria Contreras-Sweet.
1. She is an immigrant.
Contreras-Sweet was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and immigrated to Los Angeles, California, when she was five years old with her mother. She has five siblings, but her parents didn’t stay together (her dad was 30 years older).
“They didn’t have a cultural connection,” she told The New York Times. “That’s why my mother left and she traveled here to the United States with her six children.”