Hollywood men silent over Weinstein allegations as women speak out


When the Guardian contacted 20 high-profile actors and directors who have worked with the producer, all declined comment or failed to respond

Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and dozens of other women in Hollywood have condemned the producer Harvey Weinstein amid a growing number of sexual harassment allegations. Most high-profile men in the industry, however, have remained silent.

The Guardian reached out to more than 20 male actors and directors who have worked with the movie mogul over the years, some of whom have ongoing projects with Weinstein. All declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries about the accusations that the producer sexually harassed women over a period of nearly three decades. He allegedly invited vulnerable women to hotel rooms for business reasons and then greeted them in the nude or asked them to massage him or watch him shower, according to a New York Times report.

The list of industry figures thus far remaining silent includes a number of male directors, such as the Oscar-nominated Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, the Hateful Eight) and David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter, Flirting With Disaster), who have both made numerous movies with Weinstein.

The liberal film-maker Michael Moore, currently working with Weinstein on a documentary about Donald Trump, also did not respond to a request for comment.

To some, the glaring silence from the men of Hollywood reflects a broader culture of misogyny in the entertainment business, boosted by enablers who looked the other way or ignored the rumors, allowing the Weinstein accusations to remain an open secret for years.

Why are they being silent? What do they have to hide? the New Zealand model Zo Brock said in an interview Monday, two days after she published her own account of alleged harassment by Weinstein. Id love to hear from some of those guys. They are all men I admire and look up to as artists Theyre all men with daughters. Its horrifying.

The accusations first came to light last week in the New York Times report, which included on-the-record testimony from the actor Ashley Judd and others who said they had been victimized by Weinstein. Over the years, the producer reached settlements with at least eight women, including actors and assistants, the paper reported.

Weinstein, who was fired from his company on Sunday, has apologized for the pain he has caused, but he and his attorneys have also said he denies many of the allegations, saying the piece was saturated with false and defamatory statements and relied on mostly hearsay accounts.

The Guardian, which has not independently confirmed the accounts in the New York Times, published an interview Monday with actor Romola Garai, who alleged that Weinstein greeted her wearing only a dressing gown when she was 18 years old.

Shortly after the New York Times story went viral last week, many prominent women in Hollywood lent their voices in support of the accusers. Patricia Arquette, Amber Tamblyn, Olivia Munn, Lena Dunham, Brie Larson, Constance Wu, Rosie ODonnell, America Ferrera, Jessica Chastain and others tweeted soon after it published.

Days later and under some pressure to comment, Streep and Dench also weighed in, both strongly condemning the alleged offenses and claiming they had no prior knowledge of the accusations. Winslet also released a statement saying Weinstein had behaved in reprehensible and disgusting ways. She also acknowledged that there had been whisperings over the years: I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made up rumours, maybe we have all been nave. And it makes me so angry.

While the actors Seth Rogen and Mark Ruffalo have spoken up, most male celebrities with ties to Weinstein have chosen not to comment, even after Weinstein was ousted from his own company.

The Guardian reached out to representatives of actors who have starred in Weinstein films, including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Colin Firth, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Russell Crowe, George Clooney and Ewan McGregor, along with the directors Tarantino, Russell, Ryan Coogler, Tom Hooper, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michael Moore, Rob Marshall, Robert Pulcini, Garth Davis, Doug McGrath, John Madden, Simon Curtis, Kevin Williamson, Martin Scorsese, John Hillcoat and John Wells.

None so far have commented, despite the fact that many have previously been vocal about gender equality in the industry and other social justice causes. Many have directly criticized Donald Trump amid similar accusations of sexual misconduct.

Damon and Crowe were caught up in the scandal this week when a former New York Times reporter alleged that when she was investigating Weinstein in 2004, the two actors called her to vouch for a key Weinstein associate, apparently in an effort to discourage her from moving forward with the piece. Representatives for both actors did not respond to inquiries about the allegations from the journalist Sharon Waxman.

Migdia Chinea, a film-maker and screenwriter, said it was outrageous that so few men had been willing to speak up.

Many of these guys are very well known in liberal circles and they support a very progressive approach to equality and women, she said. Heres an opportunity for these guys to really speak about this issue All of these powerful men should come forward and denounce sexual harassment.

Rose McGowan, one of the most prominent Weinstein accusers, has called for the entire board of men in Weinsteins company to resign and tweeted that men have remained silent because they are weak and scared.

Brock said she would like to see more men publicly admitting to their misconduct following the Weinstein news. Wouldnt it be nice if people had the courage and the gall to say, Hey, Ive done this, too I need help?

Laura Finley, a Barry University professor and author of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault in Popular Culture, noted that it can make a huge difference when men publicly support women who have come forward.

We need mens voices even more than womens voices, she said. Men can reach men in ways that women unfortunately still cant.

Before he was fired, Weinstein reportedly sent an email to high-level executives at studios, networks and talent agencies asking them to write statements of support.

I am desperate for your help, he wrote, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Do not let me be fired. If the industry supports me, that is all I need.

If you have stories to share about Weinstein or sexual misconduct in Hollywood, contact sam.levin@theguardian.com

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/oct/09/harvey-weinstein-hollywood-men-actors-directors