Asia Argento condemns Harvey Weinstein in powerful Cannes speech: 'He will live in disgrace'

Clarisse Loughrey

Asia Argento used her moment on stage at the Cannes Film Festival closing ceremony, there to present Best Actress alongside Ava DuVernay, to make a stirring indictment.

Not only of Harvey Weinstein – Argento was one of the first to publicly accuse him of sexual assault – but of Cannes itself, which she painted as Weinstein’s “hunting ground”.

“In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes,” she said. “I was 21 years old. This festival was his hunting ground. I want to make a prediction. Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again. He will live in disgrace, shunned by a film community that embraced him and covered up for his crimes.”

The Cannes Film Festival has been criticised for its lack of firm response to the #MeToo movement and its call for reform within the film industry. The festival declined to update its code of conduct to explicitly outlaw sexual harassment, instead working with the French government to create a telephone hotline.

Argento’s concluding statement looked to future justice to be brought: “And even tonight, sitting among you, there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women. For behaviour that does not belong in this industry, does not belong in any industry or any workplace.”

"You know who you are. You do not belong in this industry. But most importantly, we know who you are, and we’re not going to allow you to get away with it any longer.”

The Italian actor was amongst the women who came forward with allegations against Weinstein in Ronan Farrow’s 2017 New Yorker article, one that sparked a flood of further allegations against the producer. Weinstein has said that all sexual acts were consensual, while his legal team have called a number of the other allegations “false”.

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