Jennifer Lawrence and Angelina Jolie are amongst the names that have broken their silence on the Hollywood story...
It’s the news that has rocked Hollywood.
As part of an in-depth investigation by the New York Times, a number of women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against film heavyweight Harvey Weinstein.
Following the report, the producer issued a statement. It included the words: ‘I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed.’
He also said: ‘I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.’
You can read it in full here.
A number of A-listers have since broken their silence. Some have their own harrowing accounts of their own experiences with the producer, whilst others have denounced his actions and, importantly, shown their support for the victims.
‘I was deeply disturbed to hear the news about Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour,’ Lawrence said in a statement to The Daily Beast.
‘I worked with Harvey five years ago and I did not experience any form of harassment personally, nor did I know about any of these allegations. This kind of abuse is inexcusable and absolutely upsetting.’
She added, ‘My heart goes out to all of the women affected by these gross actions. And I want to thank them for their bravery to come forward.’
As a 22-year-old actress that was looking for her big break, Gwyneth was hired by big time film producer Harvey Weinstein for the lead in Emma.
According to The Times, Gwyneth says that the meeting ended with Mr. Weinstein ‘placing his hands on her’ whilst making suggestions of ‘massages.’
‘I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,’ she told the New York Times.
Having refused his advances, she is said to have confided in her boyfriend at the time, Brad Pitt.
It has been reported that the producer warned her not to tell anyone else about what had occured. ‘I thought he was going to fire me,’ she said.
In an email to the New York Times, Angelina – who starred in Weinstein’s Playing By Heart in the ’90s – recalled: ‘I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did.’
She added: ‘This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.’
‘I’ve heard rumours, and the rumours, in general, started back in the ’90s, and they were that certain actresses had slept with Harvey to get a role,’ Clooney said in a statement.
‘It seemed like a way to smear the actresses and demean them by saying that they didn’t get the jobs based on their talent, so I took those rumours with a grain of salt. But the other part of this, the part we’re hearing now about eight women being paid off, I didn’t hear anything about that and I don’t know anyone that did.
‘That’s a whole other level and there’s no way you can reconcile that. There’s nothing to say except that it’s indefensible.’
As part of the extensive chat with The Daily Beast, he continued: ‘A lot of people are doing the “you had to know” thing right now, and yes, if you’re asking if I knew that someone who was very powerful had a tendency to hit on young, beautiful women, sure.
‘But I had no idea that it had gone to the level of having to pay off eight women for their silence, and that these women were threatened and victimised. I’ve been talking with a lot of people about this, and I don’t know many people who knew of that.’
He later added: ‘A good bunch of people that I know would say, “Yeah, Harvey’s a dog” or “Harvey’s chasing girls,” but again, this is a very different kind of thing. This is harassment on a very high level.
‘And there’s an argument that everyone is complicit in it. I suppose the argument would be that it’s not just about Hollywood, but about all of us—that every time you see someone using their power and influence to take advantage of someone without power and influence and you don’t speak up, you’re complicit.’
For advice and support with any issues raised in this article, please visit the Survivors Trust website or call a Sexual Harassment helpline.
In a post to Instagram, the model-turned-actress shared her own troubling account of an experience with Weinstein.
‘When I first started to work as an actress, i was working on a film and I received a call from Harvey Weinstein asking if I had slept with any of the women I was seen out with in the media,’ she wrote.
‘It was a very odd and uncomfortable call….i answered none of his questions and hurried off the phone but before I hung up, he said to me that If I was gay or decided to be with a woman especially in public that I’d never get the role of a straight woman or make it as an actress in Hollywood.’
A year or two later, Cara said that she was invited to a meeting with a director about a new film.
‘The director left the meeting and Harvey asked me to stay and chat with him. As soon as we were alone he began to brag about all the actresses he had slept with and how he had made their careers and spoke about other inappropriate things of a sexual nature. He then invited me to his room. I quickly declined and asked his assistant if my car was outside,’ she said.
Cara claimed that his assistant had suggested that she go to his room to wait. ‘At that moment I felt very powerless and scared but didn’t want to act that way hoping that I was wrong about the situation. When I arrived I was relieved to find another woman in his room and thought immediately I was safe.’
But, she continued, he then went on to ask them to kiss.
Trying to ‘make the situation more professional’, Cara started singing. She was trying to make the encounter more ‘like an audition’, she said, before pressing the point that she needed to leave.
‘He walked me to the door and stood in front of it and tried to kiss me on the lips. I stopped him and managed to get out of the room.
‘I still got the part for the film and always thought that he gave it to me because of what happened. Since then I felt awful that I did the movie.
‘I felt like I didn’t deserve the part. I was so hesitant about speaking out….I didn’t want to hurt his family. I felt guilty as if I did something wrong. I was also terrified that this sort of thing had happened to so many women I know but no one had said anything because of fear,’ she finished.
A number of other celebrities, including Meryl Streep, Judi Dench and Kate Winslet have also spoken out.
Jessica Chastain tweeted: ‘Please take care of yourself. All of this has been very triggering for victims. I believe you. You are not in this alone.’
With many survivors feeling reluctant to speak out (often through fear of not being believed), it’s important to continue this conversation.