Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein are both “sexual harassers and predators”, according to a former US Labor Secretary.
Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor during the Clinton administration, made the comments after the US President weighed in on the current storm surrounding Weinstein, saying: “I’ve know Harvey Weinstein a long time. I’m not at all surprised to see it”.
Mr Trump went on to suggest that his own alleged conduct surrounding women, specifically his comments that stars could “do anything” to them, was just “locker-room talk” – a claim Mr Reich branded as “rubbish”.
Writing on his own website Mr Reich – named by Time Magazine as one of the top 10 best Cabinet members of the 20th century – said: “Trump is actively assaulting women in other ways.”
He backed his claim citing various moves made by the Trump administration including steps by the Education Department to make it harder for women at universities to prove sexual harassment and by the Health Department to make it harder for women to get contraceptives.
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He also referred to the imbalance between the number of men and women Mr Trump had nominated to become US Attorneys, as well as a 93% cut in the president’s 2018 budget for programs to help survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Mr Reich added: “Trump and Weinstein are both sexual harassers and predators. But Trump is also president of the United States. That makes him even more dangerous.”
Here is how the scandal has played out so far:
Ashley Judd was one of the few women to go on the record describing her alleged harassment. (Photo: Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)
Thursday October 5
The New York Times publishes a story exposing “previously undisclosed” allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein from women with whom he had previously worked, including actress Ashley Judd. The producer issues an apology, saying he realises the way he behaved in the past “has caused a lot of pain” and that he “needed to be a better person”.
He adds: “I came of age in the 60s and 70s, when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different. That was the culture then. I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office – or out of it. To anyone.”
Weinstein says he intends to take a “leave of absence” from the Weinstein Company as he works with a therapist.
Friday October 6
The Weinstein Company’s board of directors releases a statement saying that the majority of its members “strongly endorsed” co-founder Weinstein’s decision to step aside indefinitely while he receives “professional help for the problems he has acknowledged”.
What the future holds for Weinstein “depends on Harvey’s therapeutic progress, the outcome of the Board’s investigation and Harvey’s own personal decisions”, the board adds.
It adds that it takes the allegations “extremely seriously”.
The studio also announces it will be launching an inquiry into the allegations againstWeinstein.
Saturday October 7
Weinstein’s lawyer Lisa Bloom announces her resignation.
She says: “I have resigned as an adviser to Harvey Weinstein. My understanding is that Mr Weinstein and his board are moving toward an agreement.”
Sunday October 8
During the evening, the Weinstein Company’s board of directors announces thatWeinstein has been dismissed with immediate effect “in light of new information about misconduct”.
Monday October 9
British actress Romola Garai claims Weinstein wore only a dressing gown as he auditioned her for a film role when she was just 18.
She tells The Guardian: “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.”
Meanwhile, a host of stars speak out against the movie mogul’s behaviour.
In a statement released to Variety magazine, Kate Winslet says: “The way HarveyWeinstein has treated these vulnerable, talented young women is not the way women should ever ever deem to be acceptable or commonplace in any workplace.”
Dame Judi Dench calls the claims “horrifying”, Meryl Streep says “the women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes”, while George Clooney says Weinstein’s behaviour is “indefensible”.
Tuesday October 10
Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie become the latest actresses to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment.
Paltrow tells the New York Times she was left “petrified” after Weinstein propositioned her when she was just 22.
In an email statement to the publication, Jolie says: “I had a bad experience with HarveyWeinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did.”
Meanwhile, three women allege that Weinstein had raped them in an article in The New Yorker – claims that are vehemently denied by Weinstein.
His spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister tells the publication: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein.”
More high-profile figures speak out against Weinstein, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Affleck and Barack Obama.
Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio also commented, tweeting: “There is no excuse for sexual harassment or sexual assault – no matter who you are and no matter what profession.
DiCaprio said there was ‘no excuse’ for the alleged behaviour
“I applaud the strength and courage of the women who came forward and made their voices heard.”
Reports emerge that Weinstein’s wife, British fashion designer Georgina Chapman, has “chosen to leave” him following the allegations.
In a statement to People magazine, she said: “My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions.
“I have chosen to leave my husband. Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time.”