Will Queen Elizabeth Revoke Harvey Weinstein’s British Royal Honor?

Despite sexual assault claims from more than 80 women, the disgraced producer remains a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Harvey Weinstein has been stripped of his memberships in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, but one honor he hasn’t lost yet might be even more prestigious: his honorary CBE from Queen Elizabeth II.

Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual assault by 87 women (he has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex), received the royal honor in 2004. One level below a knighthood, CBE stands for Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The award was a “recognition of Weinstein’s contribution to bringing mainstream attention to British film talent and to the national film industry,” Variety reported at the time.

But after the first allegations against Weinstein surfaced last October, British Labour Party politicians sent an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May calling his alleged actions “unacceptable and intolerable” and asked that his CBE be rescinded.

So why hasn’t it been?

Such a move was being “actively considered” by the Honors Forfeiture Committee, the BBC reported on October 25, but there has been no news since then. A spokesman for the Cabinet Office, which supports the Prime Minister and Cabinet of the United Kingdom, told the BBC that forfeiture action “is confidential,” and an e-mail request for an update from the Cabinet Office was not immediately returned.

While the Committee considers cases in which honorees may have brought the system into “disrepute,” it’s the Queen who ultimately decides whether to revoke a royal honor.



Weinstein would be far from the first person to have his royal honor taken away; a few other high-profile situations have prompted a monarch to annul the royal honors that first came to be in June 1917, when King George V established the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire to reward artistic, charitable, scientific, and public service contributions.

The most recent example occurred in March 2015, when Her Majesty announced that she had “cancelled and annulled” the appointment of Australian entertainer Rolf Harris as a CBE. Harris, 88, was sentenced to five years and nine months in jail for indecent assault charges involving 12 young girls between 1968 and 1986.

Before that, former Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Fred Goodwin, 59, was stripped of his knighthood in February 2012 because of his role in the bank’s near-collapse four years earlier.

Zimbabwe’s former prime minister and president, 94-year-old Robert Mugabe, lost his knighthood in 2007. “This action has been taken as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided,” a foreign ministry spokesman said at the time.

The Queen took away the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) of Naseem Hamed, a 44-year-old former boxer, in 2007, after he was convicted of “dangerous driving” that reportedly caused a serious automobile crash.

While there are a few additional examples throughout the 20th century, Benito Mussolini‘s stands out. The Italian dictator lost the honor of Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, which King George V had bestowed on him in 1923, after he declared war on Britain and the Allied forces during World War II.