Black Panther director Ryan Coogler has spoken out about sexual abuse in Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
“I am disturbed and saddened at the news that several women have been victimized by a person I had come to know through the purchase of my first feature film,” the director wrote. “While I had no further business dealings with Harvey Weinstein, and no knowledge of this predatory behavior, my career did benefit from this brief involvement. Because of that, I feel a responsibility to speak up on this issue.”
The Weinstein Company produced Coogler’s 2013 film Fruitvale Station. Coogler, along with a number of other actors and Hollywood talent, have since distanced themselves and denounced Weinstein’s behavior.
The director continued, “I love working as a storyteller. But I work in an industry that too many times has proven to not be a safe space for women. I make it a priority to ensure that there is gender equity and an inclusive work environment on every project I am involved with. However, just minding our business sometimes isn’t enough. It goes without saying, but I will state it now: sexual harassment is a human rights violation, sexual assault is a human rights violation, rape is a human rights violation.”
“The entertainment industry, like many others, has a historic imbalance of power among gender that allows these violations to run rampant. As men we sit in positions of privilege. It is our responsibility to leverage our position, and be allies to the women in our industry. We need to do everything we can to make sure violations like these don’t continue to happen. The first step is to listen. Salute to the brave women who came forward. I could never imagine how difficult that must be.”