With more alleged victims speaking out and a damning audiotape released which shed a bright light on the actions of Harvey Weinstein, the high-profile company he used to keep are addressing his alleged sexual assaults. With each passing day and hour, more actors, actresses and Hollywood executives are going public discussing Weinstein’s decades of alleged predatory behavior, with Barack and Michelle Obama the latest to make their disgust known.
In a statement, the former president and first lady denounced Weinstein and praised the women who came forward after years of being silenced. This came after days of scrutiny as evidence and dialogue grew against Weinstein, who donated to the Obama and Clinton campaigns over the years.
“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.”
According to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, the Malia Obama interned for Weinstein’s company last year.
Obama’s comments come on the heels of various fellow Hollywood executives and long-time friends distancing themselves from Weinstein. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former chairman of Walt Disney Studios and CEO of DreamWorks Animation bought Weinstein’s Miramax studios back in 1993, and the two men have been friends for over three decades. He recently released a letter he wrote to Weinstein through The Hollywood Reporter:
Hey Harvey, Here is the bottom line. You stated in your email below that “A lot of the allegations are false as you know.” Well actually I don’t “know” and given the timing of the circumstances, I have no way of knowing.
However, you yourself, in your quotes, have acknowledged that you have behaved inappropriately…so it seems to me we are now down to degrees of horrible.
You have done terrible things to a number of women over a period of years.
I cannot in any way say this is OK with me…It’s not at all, and I am sickened by it, angry with you and incredibly disappointed in you. There appear to be two Harvey Weinsteins…one that I have known well, appreciated and admired and another that I have not known at all.
As someone who has been a friend of yours for 30 years, I’m available to give you advice on how to at least try to make amends, if possible address those that you’ve wronged, and just possibly find a path to heal and redeem yourself. Having watched your reactions, seen the actions you have taken and read your statement, I will tell you, in my opinion, you have gone about this all wrong and you are continuing to make a horrible set of circumstances even worse.
I doubt this is what you want to hear from me and most likely you aren’t interested in my advice but this is the way I see it. I remain available. JK.
Former Disney CEO and Paramount Pictures president Michael Eisner also called out Weinstein:
If you are a victim or survivor of sexual assault, resources for support are available through RAINN‘s National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.