Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment claims depressing but not surprising

Joan Collins famously said her approach to handling the unwanted advances of a lecherous film boss was to "kick him in the balls and run out of the door".

It's the sort of advice you'd assume actresses today wouldn't need to worry about.

But sadly no, Harvey Weinstein's firing takes us right back to that not-so golden age of Hollywood in which sexual harassment was commonplace and the casting couch was pretty much an open secret.

It's depressing, yes. But surprising? It shouldn't be.

Yet again, another powerful man in the media has been accused of exploiting his position as those around him turn a blind eye.

Hollywood could do with sparing us the hypocrisy. It seems hard to believe that many of Weinstein's former friends who are now, begrudgingly, condemning his alleged behaviour hadn't heard the rumours.

Given the allegations against Weinstein date as far back as three decades, you have to question whether so many people were unaware, or if they were just happy to laugh off his behaviour as "Harvey being Harvey".

The industry is left-leaning for sure but despite all of its protestations about the importance of promoting diversity and inclusivity, the world of film has always been a closed shop. Saying yes to someone like Harvey Weinstein could open doors; saying no could crush careers.

Now, an ever-increasing list of women have come forward in support of actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd to talk about their own dubious encounters.

Ex-Fox News reporter Lauren Sivan is the first to give a TV interview about her experience with the Oscar-winning producer on NBC's Megyn Kelly Today.

It is a deeply unpleasant account of how she allegedly became trapped as Weinstein "pleasured himself" after she refused to kiss him.

"I said I had a boyfriend, that's when he blocked the exit and said just stand there and be quiet," she said.

"I stood their dumbfounded. I could not believe what I was witnessing; it was disgusting and pathetic.

"The demeaning part of it all that 20 minutes earlier we were having this great conversation and then 'just stand there and be quiet'."

If the allegations are true, Weinstein should rightfully be ashamed. If true, an apology and a promise to seek treatment seems little consolation for decades of intimidation and clear abuse of his position.

Can the industry change? As another top Hollywood producer, Barbara Broccoli, master of the Bond franchise, told me - it must.

"We can't afford to have any form of harassment of any kind in the industry; you're working with people who are very committed, very vulnerable, it's a very intense industry and we all need to look out for each other."

As Meryl Streep puts it, Weinstein's "behaviour is inexcusable".

Despite producing hit after hit - The English Patient, Pulp Fiction, The Artist, Inglorious Basterds, Gangs of New York - it seems unlikely Weinstein will be able to come back from this.

His impressive body of work is now rightly overshadowed by what was allegedly going on behind the scenes.