Barack Obama, Emma Watson and Hillary Clinton have joined a bevy of actors and actresses in speaking out against film mogul Harvey Weinstein in the wake of sexual harassment allegations levied against him.
Weinstein, long considered one of the most famous, powerful and influential men in Hollywood, was fired from his eponymous company on Sunday evening following the emergence of "new information", according to the board.
His firing came after the New York Times published a report detailing a number of sexual harassment claims, including alleged legal settlements with eight different women, against the 65 year old allegedly dating back over three decades.
Weinstein initially said he would be taking a leave of absence from his company in light of the allegations and apologised, saying: "I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain and I sincerely apologise for it."
Weinstein, who has not been charged with any crimes, has also disputed parts of the NYT report. Lisa Bloom, who has now quit her role as Weinstein's legal adviser, said in a statement last week: "He denies many of the accusations as patently false" while another lawyer Charles J. Harder initially said Weinstein was planning on suing the newspaper, calling it defamatory.
On Tuesday, the New Yorker published a story with further allegations of both sexual harassment and sexual assault. In response, his spokesperson told the magazine: "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual. Mr. Weinstein has begun counselling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance."
When the claims first emerged, there was little said from the actors and actresses who had previously worked with Weinstein, something Rose McGowan branded a "deafening" silence.
Ladies of Hollywood, your silence is deafening.— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 7, 2017
However, in recent days, a rising number of Hollywood names have distanced themselves from Weinstein by lending their voices in support of the women who have made the claims.
Gwyneth Paltrow has become one of the most famous actresses to claim she experienced harassment at the hands of Weinstein. On Tuesday, she told the New York Times, that following a meeting over her role in Emma, he suggested they head to the bedroom for massages, which she refused.
"I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified. I thought he was going to fire me," she said.
Paltrow and Weinstein in London in 2002 (Getty Images)
Angelina Jolie has also come forward.
"I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did," she said. "This behaviour towards women in any field, any country, is unacceptable."
Actress and women's rights campaigner Emma Watson said she was "awestruck" by the women who have come forward.
I stand with all the women who have been sexually harassed, and am awestruck by their bravery. This mistreatment of women has to stop.— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) October 10, 2017
Leonardo DiCaprio, who collaborated with Weinstein on hit films like The Aviator and Django Unchained posted a message on Facebook:
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, who wrote the Oscar-winning film Good Will Hunting in 1997 with Weinstein's backing also issued statements on Tuesday. Damon denied he had ever witnessed Weinstein harass women.
Damon told Deadline: 'I did five or six movies with Harvey. I never saw this. I think a lot of actors have come out and said, everybody's saying we all knew. That's not true. This type of predation happens behind closed doors, and out of public view. If there was ever an event that I was at and Harvey was doing this kind of thing and I didn't see it, then I am so deeply sorry, because I would have stopped it. And I will peel my eyes back now, father than I ever have, to look for this type of behaviour. Because we know that it happens. I feel horrible for these women and it's wonderful they have this incredible courage and are standing up now."
Ben Affleck, Harvey Weinstein and Matt Damon at a Film Independent NYC (Getty Images)
Affleck tweeted a statement, saying the allegations of assault, which emerged on Tuesday – which Weinstein denies - made him sick.
Actress Jennifer Lawrence, who worked with Weinstein for her Oscar-winning role in Silver Linings Playbook, told Variety on Monday: "I was deeply disturbed to hear the news about Harvey Weinstein's behaviour. 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 the women affected by these gross actions. And I want to thank them for their bravery to come forward."
Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Harvey Weinstein at a dinner for Silver Linings Playbook in London in 2013 (Getty Images)
Dame Judi Dench, who worked with Weinstein on a number of projects including Shakespeare In Love, told CNN: "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."
This kind of abuse is inexcusable and absolutely upsetting.
Dame Judi with Harvey Weinstein in 2005 at a screening for Mrs Henderson (Getty Images)
Meanwhile, Jessica Chastain claimed on Twitter that she was once warned about Weinstein's alleged behaviour:
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
Oscar-winner Kate Winslet was another actress who told Variety she was "deeply shocked" to hear of the allegations.
"I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made up rumours, maybe we have all been naive. 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."
Mark Ruffalo also denounced the film producer on Twitter:
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
Meryl Streep, who worked with Weinstein on her Academy-Award winning portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, also released a lengthy 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 [...] The behaviour 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."
There must be no tolerance of this degrading, vile treatment of women in ANY workplace
George Clooney was interviewed by the Daily Beast and said the allegations were "disturbing on a whole lot of levels".
"It's indefensible [...] Harvey's admitted to it and it's indefensible. I've known Harvey for 20 years [...] 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 behaviour ever."
Weinstein with Clooney in 2006 (Getty Images)
Brie Larson also commented on Twitter: "As always, I stand with the brave survivors of sexual assault and harassment. It's not your fault."
Mindy Kaling encouraged more actors to speak out against the producer:
Why is it helpful men speak up? Bc that's what this personality fears most: the disintegration of the tacit male support for this behavior.— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) October 10, 2017
The Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore also thanked the women who had come forward, including Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, on Twitter:
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
As did another Oscar winner, Patricia Arquette:
While Lena Dunham publicly supported the women who have spoken out:
The woman who chose to speak about their experience of harassment by Harvey Weinstein deserve our awe. It's not fun or easy. It's brave.— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) October 5, 2017
Emmy Rossum also criticised Weinstein's initial statement where his lawyer referred to him as an 'old dinosaur learning new ways".
The “old dinosaur” explanation doesn’t cut it. DECADES of using power to intimidate women for sexual gain is reprehensible and inexcusable.— Emmy Rossum (@emmyrossum) October 9, 2017
I applaud all women for speaking up. It’s scary to be the first one to speak out against something or someone. But you’re not solo for long— Emmy Rossum (@emmyrossum) October 9, 2017
Barack and Michelle Obama also issued a statement condemning Weinstein. The film mogul was a regular donor to and fundraiser for the Democrat party and Obama's re-election campaign. The Obama's daughter Malia also reportedly interned at the Weinstein company earlier this year.
"Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein," the statement to CNN said. "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 need to build a culture including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect – so we can make such behaviour less prevalent."
Weinstein with Clooney in 2006 (Getty Images)
Weinstein also supported and donated to Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful presidential campaign last year. In a statement, she said she was "shocked and appalled" by the allegations.
H/T Cosmo UK