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Claire disqualified from Project Runway; Harvey Weinstein deleted from credits

Claire Buitendorp in the Project Runway 16 workroom. (Photo by Barbara Nitke/LIfetime)

Project Runway season 16’s obsession with twin-related drama concluded after 15 minutes, which picked up after last week’s unnecessary cliffhanger. Claire Buitendorp was disqualified after admitting to breaking the show’s rules.

Her win from last week’s challenge was rescinded. Batani, who’d been eliminated, was allowed to stay, and Brandon’s pattern design was chosen to adorn a Dixie cup.

Separately, the credits for this episode excluded Harvey Weinstein, the producer whose name usually starts the credits at the beginning of every episode, because his company owns the show.

But he was fired from The Weinstein Company after The New York Times published a story detailing decades of payoffs to women who said he sexually harassed or assaulted them, and The New Yorker followed with a story detailing women’s stories of being harassed, assaulted, and/or raped by Weinstein.

The credits started with just his brother’s name: “Executive Producer Bob Weinstein.” But what did he know about Harvey’s behavior?

Nancy Dubuc—the CEO of A+E Networks, which owns Lifetime—told Variety that Weinstein’s actions and firing won’t affect Project Runway or other shows from the company.

“Taking action against a show because of one individual’s behavior could put hundreds of jobs in jeopardy. Behavior such as this would never be tolerated or condoned on this show. It would be reported up through the network immediately,” she said.

Dubuc added that she’d personally seen Weinstein be “verbally abusive.”

But Variety reported that A+E “never had a complaint or report of sexual misconduct in connection with a TWC program.”

Project Runway judges defend Claire’s plagiarism

Apparently it is not against the rules to measure your own clothes in the workroom, but designers cannot have pens, paper, or measuring tape in their hotel rooms. (Is that because that’s outside of their work time? Or there aren’t cameras around to capture their work? Because if they’re allowed to do it in the workroom, the problem isn’t the measuring itself.)

While Claire briefly tried to write off her behavior (“I measured a tank top.” “I have a tape measure.” ”It’s a tank!”) she was, to her credit, straightforward about admitting everything in a back-and-forth with Tim Gunn.

“I have a measuring tape,” she said, and when Tim asked her,  ”Is it true that you’ve been measuring garments in your room?” she said yes.

Tim told her: “All right. Claire, we must rescind your win and send you home.”

Beyond that moment, the show used Tim Gunn in odd ways: First he spoke directly to the camera and said, “This whole thing about copying Margarita, a total non-issue.”

But then in a voice-over, he said, “But if Claire used a measuring tape or other tools outside the workroom, that is absolutely against the rules and there will be consequences.”

Cut back to the judges dismissing all of this as inconsequential.

They were not just indifferent to all of this, but the judges—including guest judge Yolandi Hadid—were defending Claire and basically telling Michael and Margarita to shut up.

“I think you guys all borrow from each other,” Heidi Klum said. “You inspire each other, so there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Zach Posen told them, “If you focus on what other people are doing, it doesn’t lead to success.”

Even Michael and Margarita blamed themselves for how this happened, when of course it was entirely Claire’s decision and the people who call out rule-breakers should not be shamed.

Thanks to Michael and Margarita, though, the twins and the cloud they brought to the nine episodes that have aired so far finally cleared away, and the show proceeded like it should have weeks and weeks ago.

“This is exactly how it should be all the time,” Margarita said after telling us, “since the twins left, this is like a whole new place to work in.”

Yes. Finally. From the designers’ time with the kids who gave inspiration for their avant-garde designs to the sauna/salmon/Santa confusion between Kentaro and Kenya, there was a lot of lightness.

Well: except for the judges’/producers’ decision to eliminate two designers this week. Of all weeks, of all the times Claire and Shawn took the place of designers who should have stayed, now they finally do a double elimination?

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