NEW YORK — More Hollywood artists and Democrats are speaking out against Harvey Weinstein in the wake of a New York Times investigative report alleging the producer of sexual harassment over a period of three decades.
Hillary Clinton condemned the disgraced Hollywood executive, marking her first public comments on the matter since reports of his alleged predatory behavior broke five days ago.
“I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein,” Clinton said in a statement through her spokesman Nick Merrill.
“The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.”
Weinstein is a longtime associate of the Clintons and a major Democratic Party donor who bundled funds for their political campaigns.
Many Democratic office holders quickly repudiated Weinstein, with some going so far as to send donations given by Weinstein to charity.
But Clinton’s statement makes no mention of Weinstein’s sizable donations to her own war chest.
Representatives for the former secretary of state and former President Bill Clinton had previously not responded to requests for comment about Weinstein, whose ties to the Clintons go back years, from the Clinton presidency to the former first lady’s successful campaign for Senate.
Clinton spoke in California on Monday night as part of her book tour and did not address the allegations, nor was she asked about them during the 90-minute event.
In 2015, the Clintons rented a home next to Weinstein in the Hamptons, and Weinstein served as a connector between Hollywood stars and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
Weinstein raised about $1.5 million from 1990 to 2016, according to data from the campaign finance-tracking Center for Responsive Politics, and was involved in fundraisers for Clinton’s effort, some of which she headlined.
Before Tuesday’s announcement, longtime Hillary Clinton aides were confused by the former secretary of state’s silence on the issue, questioning — in private — why she had not weighed in at all.
A bombshell report in The New York Times detailed decades of sexual harassment by Weinstein, and just three days after its publication, Weinstein was fired by the company he founded.
On Tuesday, The New Yorker published a major story in which several women alleged sexual assault by Weinstein. Through his representative, Sallie Hofmeister, Weinstein denied “any allegations of nonconsensual sex.”
The reports have put Democrats under pressure to disavow Weinstein and return or donate contributions from him to charity.
Ben Affleck, whose career was launched by the 1997 Weinstein-produced film “Good Will Hunting,” posted a tweet on Tuesday afternoon.
“I am saddened and angry that a man who I worked with used his position of power to intimidate, sexually harass and manipulate many women over decades,” Affleck wrote in part.
Jennifer Lawrence, who won an Academy Award in 2013 for the Weinstein-produced film “Silver Linings Playbook,” told Variety on Monday that she “was deeply disturbed to hear the news about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior.”
“I worked with Harvey five years ago and I did not experience any form of harassment personally, nor did I know about any of these allegations,” Lawrence’s statement read. “This kind of abuse is inexcusable and absolutely upsetting.”
George Clooney spoke with The Daily Beast on Monday night and called the accusations against the man he has known for 20 years “indefensible.”
“[Weinstein] gave me my first big break as an actor in films on ‘From Dusk Till Dawn,’ he gave me my first big break as a director with ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind’,” Clooney said.
“We’ve had dinners, we’ve been on location together, we’ve had arguments. But I can tell you that I’ve never seen any of this behavior — ever.”
Clooney said he had heard rumors back in the 1990s “that certain actresses had slept with Harvey to get a role.”
“It seemed like a way to smear the actresses and demean them by saying that they didn’t get the jobs based on their talent, so I took those rumors with a grain of salt,” the actor said.
“But the other part of this, the part we’re hearing now about eight women being paid off, I didn’t hear anything about that and I don’t know anyone that did.”
“That’s a whole other level and there’s no way you can reconcile that. There’s nothing to say except that it’s indefensible.”AlertMe