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21 October 2017 Last updated 10 hours ago

Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie open up about harassment

producer Harvey Weinstein and Jolie File photo producer Harvey Weinstein and Jolie

Hollywood stars like Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Winslet, among others, have condemned producer Harvey Weinstein amid a growing number of sexual harassment allegations against him. However, besides George Clooney, other actors have not opened up on the case yet.

Weinstein, who has been fired from The Weinstein Company, has been accused by multiple women of sexually harassing them over a period of nearly three decades.

He reportedly invited women to hotel rooms for business reasons and then greeted them nude or asked them to massage him or watch him shower.

Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have become the latest voice to allege they were victims of sexual harassment at the hands of Weinstein, media reports said.

Both starlets sent statements to the New York Times, which first reported allegations against him last week.

Jolie said in an email, “I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did. This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”

In a statement, Paltrow alleged that, after Weinstein cast her in the leading role in Emma, he summoned her to his hotel suite, where he placed his hands on her and suggested massages in his bedroom.

“I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” she told the newspaper.

She said she told her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt about the incident, and said he confronted Weinstein. “I thought he was going to fire me,” she said.

Former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle too, added their voice to the growing demonstrations of public outrage against the moviemaker.

A statement released by the Obamas said they “have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein”. It adds they “celebrate the courage of women who have come forward”.

“I was deeply disturbed to hear the news about Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour. 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. This kind of abuse is inexcusable and absolutely upsetting,” Lawrence had said.

Streep said that “the disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled” all the people who have worked with him.

She added, “The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes. 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.”

Dench said that like others in the industry, she too was “completely unaware of these offences which are, of course, horrifying”.

“I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered, and wholehearted support to those who have spoken out,” she said.

Winslet called all the women who have accused Weinstein “brave” and said, “The way Harvey Weinstein has treated these vulnerable, talented young women is not the way women should ever deem to be acceptable or commonplace in any workplace.”

Actor-film-maker George Clooney didn’t slam Weinstein, but called the allegations indefensible.

“That’s the only word you can start with. Harvey’s admitted to it, and it’s indefensible. I’ve known Harvey for 20 years. He gave me my first big break as an actor in films in ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’, he gave me my first big break as a director with ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind’.

“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 behaviour – ever.”

Film-makers like Quentin Tarantino, David O Russell and Michael Moore have refused to comment on the issue, reports The Guardian.