Some are saying they definitely knew. Others are pleading total ignorance.
Hey, at least they’re saying something.
Several days after sickening revelations about decades of sexual misconduct on the part of Hollywood power producer Harvey Weinstein, several major industry players — George Clooney, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Jessica Chastain and many more — began to reckon with what they’d just learned. Or … confirmed.
Many, like Lawrence and Clooney, worked closely through the years with Weinstein, who was in no small part responsible for their success. Others, who didn’t know him well, were equally as passionate.
With Weinstein’s power stripped — he was fired from the company he co-founded days after revelations surfaced in the New York Times — and too much damning evidence to be denied, the Hollywood elite is finally speaking up.
Here’s what they had to say:
Lawrence won the Best Actress Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook — produced by Weinstein, who surely campaigned like mad for his actress in the 2013 race. It was their only project together.
Lawrence told Variety she hadn’t witnessed anything untoward from the producer personally, but what she’d read was enough to convince her.
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.
“It’s indefensible. That’s the only word you can start with,” Clooney told The Daily Beast in a lengthy interview. “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.”
Weinstein and Streep have done two movies together: The Giver and August: Osage County. Streep told The Huffington Post that the behavior is “inexcusable,” but claims not to have known about it.
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 … 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.
Never one to shy from controversy — especially when it applies to equality in Hollywood — Jessica Chastain didn’t bother with a prepared statement. She just went to Twitter.
Somehow, the two never worked together. And she says she knew.
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
Always a good ally, this one.
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
The erstwhile Girls star penned a long and thoughtful op-ed for the New York Times. Though Dunham has no personal experiences with Weinstein, she knows what sexual harassment in Hollywood looks like.
Last year, I was by a director of a show, not my own, and not on a set, and the response by the powers that be was to defend him, question the women ferociously and take ages before letting him go from the network. It was a move based less on his skill than on some ancient loyalty. It’s that kind of behavior that normalizes this abuse of power.
Dench has worked with Weinstein on several projects, and told CNN that she was “completely unaware” of his behavior.
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 whole-hearted support to those who have spoken out.
Garai told the Guardian that Weinstein “auditioned” her wearing only a dressing gown in his hotel room when she was 18.
Like every other woman in the industry, I’ve had an ‘audition’ with Harvey Weinstein, where I’d actually already had the audition but you had to be personally approved by him … So I had to go to his hotel room in the Savoy, and he answered the door in his bathrobe. I was only 18. I felt violated by it, it has stayed very clearly in my memory.
Kimmel had a back-and-forth over Twitter with Donald Trump Jr. about similarities between accusations against the President and Weinstein. And he promised to write a monologue joke, which he delivered on Monday night:
What’s the difference between Harvey Weinstein and the Pillsbury Doughboy?
When the Pillsbury Doughboy offers you a roll, he doesn’t ask you to watch him take a shower for it.
Winslet — also a Best Actress Oscar winner under Weinstein, for her role in The Reader — pulled no punches in 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 unequivocally support this level of very necessary exposure of someone who has behaved in reprehensible and disgusting ways. … 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.
Surprisingly enough, Close’s only project with The Weinstein Company was voice-work for the Hoodwinked animated films, but she released a lengthy statement Monday to The New York Times. And she admits that she, too, had heard the whispers:
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.