After an initial eerie silence from Hollywood, some stars are beginning to speak out about the revelations in a New York Times story alleging decades of sexual harassment by former Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein. The once all-powerful indie film mogul -- who was fired from his company over the weekend in light of the allegations and his disastrous P.R. response to the scandal -- was brought down by the expose that detailed sexual harassment claims dating back decades, including on-the-record allegations from actress Ashley Judd.
But, in keeping with the the iron fist Weinstein held over Hollywood for years (due to his legendarily volcanic temper and take-no-prisoners Oscar campaigns), very few stars either came to his defense or spoke out against the once fearsome indie film icon. That quiet response began to change on Sunday, as several musicians and actors posted comments denigrating Weinstein's alleged actions.
One of the movies' biggest, most respected stars, Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, released a statement to the Huffington Post on Monday morning (Oct. 9) in which she called the allegations "disgraceful" and "inexcusable," referring to the women who've spoke out against the man she once jokingly called "God" for his unassailable movie industry power as "heroes."
“The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported. The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes," read the statement from Streep, who worked on such films as August: Osage County and The Iron Lady with Weinstein.
"One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew. Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally. I didn’t know about these other offenses: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues; I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts. And If everybody knew, I don’t believe that all the investigative reporters in the entertainment and the hard news media would have neglected for decades to write about it. The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar. Each brave voice that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game."
Actor and and social justice activist Mark Ruffalo posted a scathing takedown on Sunday (Oct. 8), writing, "to be clear what Harvey Weinstein did was a disgusting abuse of power and horrible."
Twin Peaks star Sherilyn Fenn also made her opinions on Weinstein very clear in a tweet with a simple message: "do not hurt people."
After girlfriend Lena Dunham posted a scathing comment on Saturday (Oct. 7), writing "not only was the report horrifying, it made it clear how hard it is to come forward and the complicity of so many. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. This needs to end, and it's high time Hollywood shone a light on itself and made real changes in the behavior we accept from those in power," Bleachers leader Jack Antonoff weighed in as well.
Honing in on the longtime support Weinstein provided for Democratic causes, Antonoff called for the party to raise their voices in objection. "Democrats need to speak out against harvey weinstein with the same vigor we did over ailes," he wrote, in reference to disgraced late Fox News boss Roger Ailes, whose career was ended after several women accused him of sexual harassment.
A number of prominent democrats have pledged to return donations from Weinstein, including Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Patrick Leahy, Cory Booker, Martin Heinrich, Richard Blumenthal and Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer all pledging to make donations to women's charities, according to Time magazine.
While he didn't mention Weinstein by name, Michael Bolton urged a "ZERO tolerance to any form of sexual harassment or abuse of any kind."
Among the others speaking out were former Fox News reporter Gretchen Carlson -- whose allegations against Ailes led to his ouster -- as well as Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, as well as Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen.
Also, on Monday morning, TV reporter Lauren Sivan appeared on The Today Show to discuss her claims that Weinstein once cornered her in a restaurant hotel and then trapped her as he masturbated.