Hollywood stars have spoken out against producer Harvey Weinstein after charges of sexual harassment and assault allegations surfaced.
This was after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted overwhelmingly to expel Weinstein as actresses came forward with numerous sexual harassment and assault allegations.
“We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of wilful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behaviour and workplace harassment in our industry is over,” the Academy’s board of governors said on Saturday.
“What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society,” added the board of the Academy, the institution that awards the Oscars and which includes such movie icons as Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg and Steven Spielberg.
The Weinstein scandal came to light in early October, when The New York Times newspaper and The New Yorker magazine revealed the history of sexual harassment perpetrated for decades by one of the best-known and most powerful producers in Hollywood.
The list of actresses and models who suffered sexual abuse from Weinstein continues to grow and now numbers around 40. Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow became the two of the biggest names in Hollywood after they joined the list of alleged victims sending statements to The New York Times claiming Weinstein had harassed them, too, early in their careers.
One star said that the alleged victims had no option as they knew that Weinstein could get them Oscar awards.
Oscar-winning star, Jane Fonda, said she regretted not speaking out when she first learned of accusations against the movie mogul from a fellow actress, who has since made her own allegations public.
Slamming Weinstein as a “predator”, Fonda said sexual abuse was “hardly unique” in Hollywood as she revealed her own experiences of being propositioned by a director as a 21-year-old.
Meanwhile, UK police have begun investigating three further sexual assault allegations in London involving Harvey Weinstein, the BBC understands. The Metropolitan Police says a second victim alleges she was assaulted in Westminster in 2010 and 2011 and in Camden in 2015.
Officers are already looking into claims a woman was assaulted by Weinstein in the 1980s, reported BBC. The Hollywood film producer has denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.
In interviews with 67 people currently or formerly in Weinstein’s orbit, The Washington Post found three previously unreported allegations of sexual or physical assault – and a striking pattern, going back to the dawn of his career, of ruthlessness and manipulation.
He was violent toward women and men, and his abuse came in many forms – from screaming and berating to character assassination and nonconsensual advances. His behavior was both an open secret and a secret ritual.
When presented with the accounts in this report, Weinstein’s representative Sallie Hofmeister reiterated previous statements: “Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of those relationships were consensual,” she said in an email. “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”