Hillary Clinton and Barack and Michelle Obama condemned Harvey Weinstein after numerous women accused the film executive and major Democratic Party donor of sexual assault, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein,” Clinton said. “The behavior described by the women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.”
Weinstein was fired from his own company after The New York Times published a comprehensive report alleging the film executive had a history of sexual assault that spanned several decades. Over the years, Weinstein contributed and bundled money for numerous Democrats, including Clinton and Obama during their respective presidential runs. In the wake of the Times report, several top Democrats, including Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, returned or donated the money they received from Weinstein.
In a statement, Obama echoed Clinton’s shock, saying: “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.”
Following its initial report, The Times released a new piece Tuesday that included additional allegations of sexual assault from several actresses, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. The New Yorker also published a lengthy piece documenting Weinstein’s history of sexual misconduct and the various ways the allegations were ignored, even as they became an open secret in Hollywood.
In the wake of the Times piece, numerous stars have spoken out against Weinstein. In a Monday op-ed for The New York Times, Lena Dunham decried the “deafening silence” from men who refuse to speak up against sexual predators and spoke about her own regret after performing at a Weinstein-hosted fundraiser for Clinton last fall.
“I had heard the rumors. I felt that going onstage under his aegis was a betrayal of my own values,” she said. “But I wanted so desperately to support my candidate that I made a calculation… I’m sorry I shook the hand of someone I knew was not a friend to women in my industry.”
Viola Davis also shared a statement about Weinstein in Variety, saying, “To the predators… Weinstein, the stranger, the relative, the boyfriend… I say to you, ‘You can choose your sin but you don’t get to choose the consequences.’ To the victims… I see you. I believe you… and I’m listening.”
Benedict Cumberbatch, who is set to star in the upcoming Weinstein Co. film, The Current War, said he was “utterly disgusted” by the allegations and said there needed to be “zero tolerance of any such behavior in any walk of life.” Ben Affleck, who worked with Weinstein on his breakout film Good Will Hunting, said the allegations “made him sick.” Jennifer Lawrence told People that she had been unaware of the allegations when she previously worked with Weinstein, but added, “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.”