Hollywood accused of hypocrisy over Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment allegations

Nick Allen
Harvey Weinstein (L) and actress Meryl Streep attend the Australian Academy Of Cinema And Television Arts International Awards Ceremony at Soho House on January 27, 2012 in West Hollywood, California - WireImage

Hollywood has been accused of hypocrisy as allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein, the volcanic-tempered movie mogul, were met with a "deafening silence" from A-list stars.

Two days after the New York Times reported that Weinstein had reached at least eight legal settlements with women dating back decades, only a smattering of entertainment industry figures stepped up to condemn a man who has long held the power to make or break careers.

Lisa Bloom, a feminist lawyer who had been criticised for her decision to advise Weinstein, announced on Saturday that she was resigning.

But Rose McGowan, who reportedly settled a harassment case against Weinstein in 1997, said she had been expecting fellow actresses to speak out publicly. 

"Ladies of Hollywood, where are you?" she wrote on Twitter. "Ladies of Hollywood, your silence is deafening."

Harvey Weinstein

McGowan, 44, best known for her role in the TV series Charmed, accused the industry, including agents, directors, producers, studio heads, and the actor's union of a "30-year cover up" which seemingly continued.

By Saturday night those yet to comment publicly on the scandal included a host of actresses who have starred in Weinstein movies.

They included Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Gwyneth Paltrow, who won an Oscar for the Weinstein-produced Shakespeare in Love.

Harvey Weinstein with his wife Georgina Chapman

Only one A-list star, Jessica Chastain, appeared to show support, voicing "respect" for McGowan and Ashley Judd, who told the New York Times that Weinstein, 65, had sexually harassed her in a hotel room.

Donald Trump said he was not surprised by allegations that Weinstein sexually harassed women for nearly three decades.

"I've known Harvey Weinstein for a very long time, I'm not at all surprised to see it," the US president said.

Anthony Bourdain, a high profile celebrity chef, called the Hollywood A-list "nauseating, chicken-hearted enablers all". 

He added: "Where’s the loud, vocal support for these women? Mostly a shameful silence. I’m talking about all the people who knew and said nothing - and those who are STILL staying silent."

Harvey Weinstein with Kylie Minogue

According to the New York Times Weinstein targeted young actresses and his own staff, appearing naked in front of them, and asking them to massage him or watch him shower.

Weinstein has admitted to having caused "a lot of pain" and apologised. He asked for a "second chance," saying he is undergoing therapy.

He also threatened to sue the New York Times for "reckless reporting".

In a separate development Lauren Sivan, a television reporter, alleged that Weinstein cornered her in the kitchen of a restaurant in New York, which left her deeply shocked.

Weinstein, a father-of-two married to British fashion designer Georgina Chapman, has been a powerhouse in Hollywood for decades.

He formed the Miramax production house in the late 1970s with his brother Bob, later selling it to Disney and going on to form The Weinstein Company.

He helped propel Oscar-winning movies like Good Will Hunting, The Artist, and The King's Speech

The Weinstein Company announced it was launching an investigation and bringing in an outside legal firm to conduct it.

Harvey Weinstein has threatened legal action after a bombshell expose of sexual harassment claims

Amid suggestions Weinstein would be suspended the company later said he would be on "indefinite leave".

Discussions were said to have been typically heated and a third of the nine-member board resigned.

In a statement the company said: "As Harvey has said it is important for him to get professional help for the problems he has acknowledged.

"Next steps will depend on Harvey's therapeutic progress, the outcome of the board's independent investigation and Harvey's own personal decisions."

In an unconfirmed report the New York Post suggested that Bob Weinstein could have leaked details of his brother's history of harassment cases. "Bob’s wanted Harvey out for years," a former employee told the New York Post.

Later, Mika Brzezinksi, a high profile morning television host, said she was not going ahead with a three-book deal she had signed with Weinstein Books.

Weinstein Sex scandal

She said: "Authors, actors, and movie-makers should not work for any Weinstein company until he resigns. Not a close call."

Bloom had come under fire for her decision to advise Weinstein.

The high profile lawyer previously represented accusers of Bill O'Reilly, the former Fox News host who was revealed to have settled harassment cases.

She described Weinstein's behaviour as "gross" but said she had been "blunt" with him, and he was a "dinosaur" who was changing.

Bloom's mother, the equally high profile lawyer and women's rights campaigner Gloria Allred, had offered to represent accusers of Weinstein "even if it meant that my daughter was the opposing counsel".

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