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'EVERYONE is complicit': Hollywood's soul-searching begins as Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Winslet and George Clooney line up to condemn movie mogul Harvey Weinstein over sex claims

10 October 2017 11:00 AM
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George Clooney and Jennifer Lawrence have joined the condemnation of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein after revelations emerged he sexually harassed women for decades.

The producer helped Jennifer Lawrence win an Oscar with Silver Linings Playbook and gave Clooney his first break on the big screen in From Dusk Till Dawn and as a director in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

But the A-listers turned on Weinstein - a man once revered as a god by some of the world's best actors - after he was fired from his own production company over dozens of sexual harassment allegations.

In an interview last night, Clooney broke his silence and called Weinstein's behavior 'indefensible', adding that 'the problem is deeply ingrained in our society' and that anybody who is aware of sexual harassment and does not speak out is 'complicit'.

Clooney told 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.

In a long interview with the website, Clooney made the shock claims that Weinstein's circle of colleagues were complicit in the sexual harassment allegations.

He said: '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.

Jennifer Lawrence echoed Clooney's sentiments, stating although she had not witnessed Weinstein's inappropriate acts herself, she still condemned the producer.

When asked about how he reacted to the news, Clooney recalled rumours from more than 20 years ago about Weinstein's way with women.

He told the Daily Beast: 'The rumours in general started back in the 90s.

'They were that certain actresses had slept with Harvey to get a role.

'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.

Moving forward, Clooney said it was everyone's duty to flush the culture of normalizing sexual assault from everyday life.

He told the Daily Beast: 'This is about show business but it isn’t just about show business—it’s about everything.

'We need to get to a place where we can call these people out much quicker before it becomes such a deeper, long-running problem.

'We’re all going to have to be more diligent about it and look for any warning signs.

There has been widespread criticism of celebrities who were allegedly aware of Weinstein's ways and decided not to speak out against him.

When asked about the silence, Clooney told the Daily Beast: '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.

Kate Winslet, who won an Oscar for The Weinstein Co's The Reader said in a statement that the alleged behavior is 'without question disgraceful and appalling'.

'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,' wrote Winslet.

She then used a majority of her statement to support the women who have com forward.

'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,' said Winslet.

'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.

Speaking out: Meryl Streep has released a lengthy statement four days after a bombshell report detailed Harvey Weinstein's decades of sexual harassment (pair above in 2012)

Movie legends Meryl Streep and Judi Dench led a chorus of outrage Monday following the revelation that Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed women for decades, as Hollywood stood accused of covering up a pattern of misconduct that finally cost the film mogul his job.

Streep revealed in her statement however that she had no idea about the incidents of sexual harassment described by woman in the Times piece.

'The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported,' said Streep.

'The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes.

'Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally.

Streep closed out by one again denouncing Weinstein's actions and applauding the women who spoke.

'The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar,' said Streep.

Glenn Close, who has worked with Weinstein a number of times in the past, most notably in the 2005 animated film Hoodwinked and its sequel, also slammed the shamed producer.

She said: '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,' said Close in a statement to The New York Times.

'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,' said Close.

'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 offences which are, of course, horrifying, and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered, and wholehearted support to those who have spoken out,' said Dench.

Actress Ashley Judd was one of the first to speak out as she recounted her encounter with Weinstein, saying she was doing night shoots for her 1997 film 'Kiss the Girls' when she got an invite to meet with Weinsten that she could not pass up.

She said she felt uncomfortable from the start and ordered cereal from room service because it would arrive quicker than a hot meal. Judd said she was asked to give Weinstein a massage and then a shoulder rub, both of which she declined while trying to get herself out of the room.

That is when he allegedly asked her to help him pick out his clothes for the day and then watch him shower.

'I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,' said Judd.

She eventually made her escape by joking that Weinstein would have to help her win an Oscar before she would be willing to touch him, stating that the prestige of working for his studio made it too difficult to forcefully shut down his harassment.

'There's a lot on the line, the cachet that came with Miramax,' explained Judd.

Judd previously wrote about the same experience in 2015 for Variety without naming Weinstein, simply saying it was a studio mogul.

'I was with a bunch of other actors, and it was critical that it was actors: The exact same thing had happened to them by the exact same mogul,' wrote Judd.

Judd was praised for coming out in condemnation of Weinstein while a handful of actors were called out by Charmed and Scream star Rose McGowan.

One day after Sharon Waxman revealed in a post on The Wrap that she had been working on an expose about Weinstein until Damon and actor Russell Crowe called her directly to try and bury the piece, McGowan lashed out at Matt Damon.

The story was ultimately killed despite Waxman's findings at the time.

Reps for both Crowe and Damon did not respond to requests for comment.

'Hey Matt Damon, what’s it like to be a spineless profiteer who stays silent?' wrote McGowan Monday afternoon, hours after calling on the entire board at Weinstein Company to step down for being complicit in covering up the executive's actions.

Weinstein was fired late Sunday from his own film studio, three days after a bombshell New York Times report alleged that the Oscar-winning producer behind such hits as The King's Speech and The Artist had preyed on young women hoping to break into the film industry.

Weinstein's accusers - who reportedly include celebrities such as Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd - say the 65-year-old tycoon had promised to help advance their careers in exchange for sexual favors, pressuring them to massage him and watch him naked.

The Weinstein Company's board said it had sacked him 'in light of new information about misconduct' in the explosive Times article, which detailed decades of legal settlements stemming from harassment allegations.


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