October 11, 2017

Must-Read: Lena Dunham, Meryl Streep, and Hillary Clinton Condemning Harvey Weinstein

Since The New York Times published the exposé of Harvey Weinstein’s decades long history of sexual harassment and abuse, Hollywood is more than #shookt. Harvey’s  alleged victims range from aspiring talents to big names such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. There are several instances that he settled with these women out of court, which makes it even the more dubious. Add to this the fact that a few of Hollywood’s elite actors and film makers are part of the cover up.

Despite Harvey’s far-reaching influence over the industry, different women have publicly stated their disgust towards the man, while empowering the women to voice out their stories. Here’s what Hollywood’s women are saying about Harvey, vis-a-vis the context of their career and professional relationship.

Meryl Streep 

As the reports against Weinstein gained traction, Hollywood’s biggest stars were quickly questioned. It’s clear that Harvey preyed on younger women who needed a step up in the industry while maintaining a clean persona to the established actresses. Meryl Streep’s full statement gives leeway to how not everyone knew about his behavior but still championed the women speaking up. Here is her full statement:

The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported. The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes.

One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew. Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally. I didn’t know about these other offenses: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues; I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts. And if everybody knew, I don’t believe that all the investigative reporters in the entertainment and the hard news media would have neglected for decades to write about it.

The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar. Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game.

Lena Dunham

Since the news broke out, Lena has been creating a storm on Twitter. Not only is she going after Weinstein but also trying to wake up men to stand up and fighting off the bullies who continue to victim-shame the women who Harvey has allegedly victimized. She also wrote a piece about it for The New York Times, where she says, “Mr. Weinstein may be the most powerful man in Hollywood to be revealed as a predator, but he’s certainly not the only one who has been allowed to run wild. His behavior, silently co-signed for decades by employees and collaborators, is a microcosm of what has been happening in Hollywood since always and of what workplace harassment looks like for women everywhere.”

Rose McGowan 

Rose has served as focal point to the campaign against the producer. Reportedly, she reached a settlement with Weinstein of $100,000 for “an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival.” Her Twitter page is now her platform to continue to speak about the incident, the apparent cover-up, and to pick out the men also allegedly involved.

Glenn Close 

Veteran actress Glenn Close is one of the women who felt the betrayal of Harvey’s behavior. Note how Harvey was in good terms with credible people in the industry. If you were a young woman set on speaking up, you might think twice because you might be afraid of how these actresses will take Harvey’s side for the sake of their career standing.

I’m sitting here, deeply upset, acknowledging to myself that, yes, for many years, I have been aware of the vague rumors that Harvey Weinstein had a pattern of behaving inappropriately around women. Harvey has always been decent to me, but now that the rumors are being substantiated, I feel angry and darkly sad.

I’m angry, not just at him and the conspiracy of silence around his actions, but also that the “casting couch” phenomenon, so to speak, is still a reality in our business and in the world: the horrible pressure, the awful expectation put on a woman when a powerful, egotistical, entitled bully expects sexual favors in exchange for a job.

Ours is an industry in which very few actors are indispensable and women are cast in far fewer roles than men, so the stakes are higher for women and make them more vulnerable to the manipulations of a predator. I applaud the monumental courage of the women who have spoken up. I hope that their stories and the reportage that gave them their voices represents a tipping point, that more stories will be told and that change will follow.

The changes must be both institutional and personal. Men and women, in positions of power, must create a work environment in which people, whose jobs depend on them, feel safe to report threatening and inappropriate behavior, like that reported in the Times. No one should be coerced into trading personal dignity for professional success. I feel the time is long and tragically overdue for all of us in the industry, women and men, to unite — calmly and dispassionately — and create a new culture of respect, equality and empowerment, where bullies and their enablers are no longer allowed to prosper.

Hillary Clinton

Speaking of women in power, the Democrats and Hillary Clinton have been under pressure to denounce Harvey Weinstein especially since he donated to Hillary’s presidential campaign. How could a man champion a feminist advocate and yet have conversations like this behind hotel room doors?

Kate Winslet

Kate won best actress for The Reader, a Weinstein Company production. Despite this, Kate wasn’t hesistant in condemning Harvey’s actions.

The fact that these women are starting to speak out about the gross misconduct of one of our most important and well regarded film producers, is incredibly brave and has been deeply shocking to hear. The way Harvey Weinstein has treated these vulnerable, talented young women is NOT the way women should ever EVER deem to be acceptable or commonplace in ANY workplace.

“I have no doubt that for these women this time has been, and continues to be extremely traumatic. I fully embrace and salute their profound courage, and I unequivocally support this level of very necessary exposure of someone who has behaved in reprehensible and disgusting ways. His behavior is without question disgraceful and appalling and very, very wrong. I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made up rumors, maybe we have all been naïve. And it makes me so angry. There must be ‘no tolerance’ of this degrading, vile treatment of women in ANY workplace anywhere in the world.”

Dame Judi Dench 

The difficult part of this whole issue is how Harvey has been a part of the careers of so many notable artists. This contribution though doesn’t pardon him. Judi Dench, though acknowledging her connection with Harvey, still put premium on the women claiming that they were victimized.

Whilst there is no doubt that Harvey Weinstein has helped and championed my film career for the past 20 years, I was completely unaware of these offenses which are, of course, horrifying, and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered, and wholehearted support to those who have spoken out.”



Art by Lara Intong 

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Filed Under:

celebrities, culture, Dame Judi Dench, Glenn Close, Harvey Weinstein, Hillary Clinton, Kate Winslet, Lena Dunham, Meryl Streep, Rose McGowan

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