As high-profile Hollywood actresses acknowledge publicly that they were the targets of sexual harassment by now-ousted Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, media focus is shifting to who knew about Weinstein’s behavior, who didn’t, and who’s lying.
Celebrities and politicians alike have been pulled into the controversy.
Decades of sexual harassment allegations and at least eight payoffs have been made public thanks to New York Times and New Yorker reports.
Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow came forward Tuesday to say they were targeted by Weinstein. Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette said that after rejecting Weinstein’s advances they found it hard to get work and alleged the studio head punished them.
Also on Tuesday, former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton condemned Weinstein.
Obama said in a statement, “Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.”
Clinton said in a prepared statement:“I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein. The behavior described by the women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.”
Actress Rose McGowan tweeted that actor Ben Affleck knew about Harvey Weinstein’s misconduct toward her, and now he’s lying about it, according to the New York Times:
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“On Tuesday, after Mr. Affleck tweeted that the allegations against Mr. Weinstein “made
him sick,” Ms. McGowan called him a liar, saying he had long been aware of what
Mr. Weinstein had done.”
McGowan settled with Weinstein in 1997 for $100,000 after a hotel room incident at the Sundance Film Festival. In recent days she has actively supported women who speak publicly about being sexually harassed or worse by Weinstein. She’s also going after Hollywood players who did not criticize Weinstein, writing in a tweet “you all knew,” NYT reported.
Holy shit. Ever seen a movie where one person takes on a corrupt, powerful system all by herself?
That's @rosemcgowan & it's not a movie.
— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) October 10, 2017
Former President Obama is among those accused of failing to protect Weinstein, a major Democratic donor who gave Malia Obama, 19, an internship at the Weinstein Company right after her dad left office, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Weinstein was a major donor to Democratic candidates, and now several of them, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, have vowed to give equivalent sums to charity. The Obama family has its own history with the producer. Weinstein gave to Barack Obama’s campaign and in November 2013 his first lady thanked Weinstein at a career event.
“This is possible because of Harvey. He is a wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse,” she said at the time.
Biggest mystery of @nytimes Weinstein story: How exemplary parents like Obamas let their daughter work there. The stories were out there.
— Frank Rich (@frankrichny) October 6, 2017
Weinstein has revealed Democrats’ hypocrisy, said Corey Lewandowski, the ex-campaign manager for President Donald Trump. “’Harvey Weinstein Democrats’…live one way and preach that everybody else live by a different set of standards,” Lewandowski wrote in a column for The Hill.
The GOP tweeted that the Democratic National Committee should give back his donations. Liberal commentator Keith Olbermann argued back that the GOP should return all the “in-kind” contributions from alleged sexual harassers such as Fox News figures Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) October 9, 2017