British actress Emma Thompson has labelled Harvey Weinstein a “predator” and said the allegations against the disgraced movie mogul are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to abuse in Hollywood.
“I didn’t know about these things, but they don’t surprise me and they’re endemic to the system anyway ??? What I find sort of extraordinary is that this man is at the top of a very particular iceberg,” Thompson told BBC Newsnight about the string of allegations levelled at the former Miramax head in the wake of recent exposes.
“I don’t think you can describe him as a ‘sex addict’; he’s a predator,” she continued.
“What he’s at the top of the ladder of is a system of harassment and belittling and bullying and interference, and what my mother would have referred to in the old days as ‘pestering’.
“This has been part of our world, women’s world, since time immemorial.”
Echoing earlier calls by fellow star Jane Fonda, Thompson drew a direct line from Weinstein’s behaviour to that of US President Donald Trump.
“What we need to start talking about is the crisis in masculinity, the crisis of extreme masculinity, which is this sort of behaviour, and the fact that it is not only OK but it also is represented by the most powerful man in the world at the moment,” she said.
When asked by journalist Emily Maitlis if she thought there were others like Weinstein in Hollywood, Thompson replied: “Of course, many!”
“Maybe not to that degree … [but] does it only count if you really have done it to loads and loads and loads of women? Or does it count if you do it to one woman once? I think the latter,” she said.
Thompson’s comments, which were trending on Twitter on Friday morning, come as more and more high-profile stars add their names to the list of women accosted by Weinstein, including model Cara Delevigne, and actresses Claire Forlani and Kate Beckinsale, who said she was propositioned by Weinstein when she was just 17.
“A few years later he asked me if he had tried anything with me in that first meeting. I realised he couldn’t remember if he had assaulted me or not,” Beckinsale wrote on Instagram.
The fallout over Weinstein’s string of abuse has put the spotlight on Hollywood’s tendency to turn a blind eye to such allegations, with actors Terry Crews and James Van Der Beek also revealing their own experiences of sexual harassment at the hands of industry power-players.
“I’ve had my ass grabbed by older, powerful men, I’ve had them corner me in inappropriate sexual conversations when I was much younger,” Van Der Beek, the former star of Dawson’s Creek, shared on Twitter.
“I understand the unwarranted shame, powerlessness and inability to blow the whistle. There’s a power dynamic that feels impossible to overcome,” he wrote.
Crews, a former NFL star and actor on the hit sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, shared a similar story, saying “a high level Hollywood executive came over to me and groped my privates” at a Hollywood function last year.
He said the potential headlines – “240lbs black man stomps out Hollywood honcho” – and the threat of jail time dissuaded him from confronting his abuser.
“I decided not to take it further because I didn’t want to be ostracised – par for the course when the predator has power and influence,” he added.
“I understand why many women who this happens to let it go … I understand and empathise with those who have remained silent,” he wrote. Emma Thompson tells us the Harvey Weinstein allegations are just the tip of the iceberg of a wider and systemic problem in Hollywood pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/VDxswrUP5Z??? BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) October 12, 2017I was called to meet Harvey Weinstein at the Savoy Hotel when I was 17. I assumed it would be in a conference room which was very common.When I arrived ,reception told me to go to his room . He opened the door in his bathrobe . I was incredibly naive and young and it did not cross my mind that this older ,unattractive man would expect me to have any sexual interest in him .After declining alcohol and announcing that I had school in the morning I left ,uneasy but unscathed.A few years later he asked me if he had tried anything with me in that first meeting .I realized he couldn’t remember if he had assaulted me or not .I had what I thought were boundaries – I said no to him professionally many times over the years-some of which ended up with him screaming at me calling me a cunt and making threats, some of which made him laughingly tell people oh “Kate lives to say no to me .” It speaks to the status quo in this business that I was aware that standing up for myself and saying no to things,while it did allow me to feel uncompromised in myself,undoubtedly harmed my career and was never something I felt supported by anyone other than my family.I would like to applaud the women who have come forward , and to pledge that we can from this create a new paradigm where producers,managers,executives and assistants and everyone who has in the past shrugged and said ” well, that’s just Harvey /Mr X/insert name here ” will realize that we in numbers can affect real change.For every moment like this there have been thousands where a vulnerable person has confided outrageous unprofessional behavior and found they have no recourse, due to an atmosphere of fear that it seems almost everyone has been living in .I had a male friend who, based on my experience,warned a young actress who said she was going to dinner with Harvey to be careful. He received a phone call the next day saying he would never work in another Miramax film ;the girl was already sleeping with Harvey and had told him that my friend had warned her off.Let’s stop allowing our young women to be sexual cannon fodder,and let’s remember that Harvey is an emblem of a system that is sick,and that we have work to do.A post shared by Kate Beckinsale (@katebeckinsale) on Oct 12, 2017 at 6:02am PDT