BUFFALO, N.Y. -- As a father of two daughters and grandfather of another, Amherst Conservative Guy Marlette said he's had enough. Disturbed by the allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, Marlette called Wednesday morning for the University at Buffalo to revoke the honorary degree it gave him in 2000.
"I think there's a point that you just get tired of hearing about how these people in power or in certain positions use that position or use that power to take advantage of women,” Marlette said.
Hours later, UB confirmed it had begun the process of revocation, a decision ultimately made by the Board of Trustees and the chancellor. Weinstein attended the school from 1969-1973 before co-founding a concert promotion company in Buffalo.
"Did it bring attention to it? I hope it did because that was really the intent of my press release and if it spurred them to react a little bit quicker, all the better," Marlette said.
The Weinstein controversy has crossed over to the political arena since he had made campaign contributions to prominent New York Democrats, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
UB noted while Weinstein never personally donated to his alma mater, it did receive $22,750 from Disney on behalf of his movie production company Miramax. That money supported media studies scholarships.
Marlette has not called for that donation to be returned, but said revoking the degree makes a statement.
"They've been very progressive and they've been very progressive on a lot of stances that they've taken, especially with things that go on campus and I think this fits into it. I think it sends a strong message that the university's not going to tolerate it, nor, as a community, will we,” he said.
Marlette is a Republican-endorsed candidate for Erie County Legislature, but said his stance is not political. His opponent, Democrat incumbent Tom Loughran, said similar allegations have been leveled against the president.
"I agree that Harvey Weinstein's behavior should be condemned. Whether it's in the public sector or the private sector, whenever there's an opportunity, it's a good thing to condemn that type of behavior,” Loughran said. “Guy Marlette wants to recall Harvey Weinstein's degree. Does he want to recall the president too?"
An expert from the Teal Project, an educational outreach program from Western New York, talked with Spectrum News about why it took so long for the situation to come to light.
"We really don't want to believe that a rapist can look like a nice guy. That it's not just a man wearing a cloak hiding behind a garbage dumpster or in the bushes. That they can look like our best friend, they can look like our sons, they can look like our husbands, or boyfriends, or acquaintances or brothers. A rapist can look like anybody," said Sandra LahRache, The Teal Project.
For more information on The Teal Project, call 716-754-2210 or visit thetealproject.org.