High-profile figures linked to Harvey Weinstein, from A-list actors who have starred in his movies to Democrats who have accepted his campaign donations, are rushing to disavow the disgraced Hollywood executive whilst praising the bravery of the women speaking out, critiquing the Hollywood cover-up culture, and, in a number of very high-profile cases, vehemently claiming that they didn’t know about his behavior when they agreed to work with him.
Update, Oct. 11, 2017 11:15 a.m.: This post was updated to include statements from the Obamas, Leonardo DiCaprio, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ryan Coogler, Bob Iger, and Michael Eisner.
Update, Oct. 13, 2017 11:25 a.m.: This post was updated to include statements from Ryan Gosling, Blake Lively, Charlize Theron, and Minnie Driver.
Ryan Gosling tweeted the following:
Blake Lively spoke to the Hollywood Reporter:
The number one thing that can happen is that people who share their stories, people have to listen to them and trust them, and people have to take it seriously. As important as it is to remain furious about this, it's important to also say that this exists everywhere so remember to look everywhere. This isn't a single incident. This cannot happen, this should not happen, and it happens in every single industry.
It happens to women all over the place, all the time, to the point where women don't even think that this is a real assault. I've had plenty of things happen to me whether it be trying on a dress for prom at some clothing store, to a director being inappropriate, to a guy walking down the street where you don't think, 'Oh well, that wasn't actually sexual assault — this guy just, like, grabbed my butt.
It's important that women are furious right now. It's important that there is an uprising. It's important that we don't stand for this and that we don't focus on one or two or three or four stories, it's important that we focus on humanity in general and say, 'This is unacceptable.'
Charlize Theron put out a statement on Instagram:
Minnie Driver gave a statement to Variety:
In light of the revelations about Harvey Weinstein in the past few days, I feel it necessary to add my support for the women who have been victimized and have been brave enough to talk about it. While I never experienced any abuse while working with Harvey, I think it’s important to add my voice to those of women everywhere who have experienced abuse at the hands of powerful men.
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. We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. And we all need to build a culture—including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect—so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future.
Leonardo DiCaprio tweeted:
Benedict Cumberbatch issued a statement:
I am utterly disgusted by the continuing revelations of Harvey Weinstein's horrifying and unforgivable actions. We need to collectively stand up and support victims of abuse such as the brave and inspiring women who have spoken out against him and say we hear you and believe you. That way others may be emboldened by our support to come forward and speak. But we shouldn't wait until there are any more stories like this. We, as an industry and as a society at large, need to play our part. There has to be zero tolerance of any such behavior in any walk of life. We owe that to these women's bravery in coming forward.
Disney CEO Bob Iger issued the following statement:
Harvey Weinstein’s reported behavior is abhorrent and unacceptable, and it has no place in our society.
Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner tweeted:
Fired Weinsteins because they were irresponsible, and Harvey was an incorrigible bully. Had no idea he was capable of these horrible actions— Michael Eisner (@Michael_Eisner) October 10, 2017
Director Ryan Coogler issued a statement:
I am disturbed and saddened at the news that several women have been victimized by a person I had come to know through the purchase of my first feature film. While I had no further business dealings with Harvey Weinstein, and no knowledge of this predatory behavior, my career did benefit from this brief involvement. Because of that, I feel a responsibility to speak up on this issue.
I love working as a storyteller. But I work in an industry that too many times has proven to not be a safe space for women. I make it a priority to ensure that there is gender equity and an inclusive work environment on every project I am involved with. However, just minding our business sometimes isn’t enough. It goes without saying, but I will state it now: Sexual harassment is a human rights violation, sexual assault is a human rights violation, rape is a human rights violation.
The entertainment industry, like many others, has a historic imbalance of power among gender that allows these violations to run rampant. As men we sit in positions of privilege. It is our responsibility to leverage our position, and be allies to the women in our industry. We need to do everything we can to make sure violations like these don’t continue to happen. The first step is to listen. Salute to the brave women who came forward. I could never imagine how difficult that must be.
Meryl Streep gave a statement to the Huffington Post:
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.
Hillary Clinton released a statement:
Statement from Secretary Clinton on Harvey Weinstein: pic.twitter.com/L1l2wl9l0I— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) October 10, 2017
Ben Affleck posted a Facebook status, which he re-shared in a tweet:
Lena Dunham wrote an op-ed for the New York Times entitled “Harvey Weinstein and the Silence of the Men:”
This past week, reports that Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed women for years came to light, making it crystal clear that not every woman in Hollywood has had the chance to walk our path. Abuse, threats and coercion have been the norm for so many women trying to do business or make art. 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.
The use of power to possess and silence women is as likely to occur in a fast-food restaurant as it is on a movie set, and Hollywood has yet another chance to make a noisy statement about what we should and should not condone as a society. A liberal-leaning industry, we have been quick to condemn Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes and, yes, the president. We do not accept sexual abuse as “locker room talk.” So why the deafening silence, particularly from the industry’s men, when one of our own is outed as having a nasty taste for humiliating and traumatizing women?
Kate Winslet gave a statement to Variety:
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 behaviour is without question disgraceful and appalling and very, very wrong. I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made up rumours, 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.
Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) all told the Daily Beast they intend to donate any Weinstein campaign contributions to charity.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told CNN that he thinks Democrats should give back any Weinstein campaign donations.
George Clooney spoke to the Daily Beast:
It’s indefensible. That’s the only word you can start with. Harvey’s admitted to it, and it’s indefensible. I’ve known Harvey for 20 years. He gave me my first big break as an actor in films on From Dusk Till Dawn, he gave me my first big break as a director with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. We’ve had dinners, we’ve been on location together, we’ve had arguments. But I can tell you that I’ve never seen any of this behavior—ever.
Jennifer Lawrence gave a statement to People:
I was deeply disturbed to hear the news about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior. 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.
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.
Jessica Chastain tweeted:
I was warned from the beginning. The stories were everywhere. To deny that is to create an enviornment for it to happen again.— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) October 9, 2017
Julianne Moore tweeted:
1. Coming forward about sexual abuse and coercion is scary and women have nothing to be gained personally by doing so.— Julianne Moore (@_juliannemoore) October 9, 2017
Patricia Arquette tweeted:
If there is a way to cure yourself of being a predator than I hope harvey learns what it is & shares it with the world. It's an epidemic.— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) October 9, 2017
We need best practices if there are any for reform & it needs to be easily accessible for everyone. Not just the wealthy .— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) October 9, 2017
Judi Dench gave a statement to Newsweek:
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.
Susan Sarandon tweeted:
Huge respect for @AshleyJudd and all the women who broke their silence for the article on Harvey Weinstein. Brave.— Susan Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) October 7, 2017
Mark Ruffalo tweeted:
To be clear what Harvey Weinstein did was a disgusting abuse of power and horrible. I hope we are now seeing the beginning of the end of these abuses.— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) October 8, 2017
Glenn Close gave a statement to the New York Times:
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.
Amber Tamblyn tweeted:
Stand with @AshleyJudd or give your legs to someone else. What she and others have just done is painful and difficult and triumphant.— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) October 5, 2017
America Ferrera tweeted:
This abuse of power must be called out, however powerful the abuser, and we must publicly stand with those brave enough to come forward. https://t.co/9jAAZtfjJe— America Ferrera (@AmericaFerrera) October 6, 2017
Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted:
I'm as appalled and repulsed by the Weinstein news as anyone with a beating heart. And forever in awe of the bravery of those who spoke out.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) October 10, 2017
Nathan Lane made it about himself, telling Page Six about Weinstein's violence towards him at Hillary Clinton's 53rd birthday party:
[Weinstein] tossed emcee Lane against a wall for a joke the actor made onstage about Rudy Giuliani’s comb-over, the Broadway and film star said.
“This is my f–king show, we don’t need you,” Weinstein reportedly raged at Lane.
Matt Damon brought up the fact that he has daughters, echoing Republican politicians who were apparently only offended at Trump's pussy-grabbing habits as fathers, not people, in what Christina Cauterucci has dubbed the Daughter Clause:
Men who talk about Harvey keep mentioning their daughters like it finally gives them skin in this game pic.twitter.com/WA4yWk94Np— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) October 10, 2017
And late night hosts, including Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Seth Meyers addressed the issue during their Monday shows: See Slate’s roundup.