Barack Obama Says Harvey Weinstein ‘Needs To Be Condemned’ Following Sexual Harassment Scandal
Former President Barack Obama is breaking his silence on the unfolding Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment and assault scandal. “Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein,” Obama said in a statement provided to media outlets Tuesday. “Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status. We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. And we all need to build a culture — including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect — so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future.” The Obamas’ daughter Malia, 19, interned for Weinstein’s powerhouse company earlier this year. The movie mogul also helped raise millions of dollars for the Democratic Party, hosting fundraisers during Obama’s presidency. Hillary Clinton, who has also benefitted substantially from Weinstein’s fundraisers, also spoke out on Tuesday, saying, “I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein.” She also addressed his accusers, now in the dozens, saying, “Their courage and support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.” She added, “The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated.” Weinstein has contributed more $20,000 to Clinton’s campaigns since she ran for U.S. Senate in New York in 1999, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In the wake of the explosive New York Times report detailing allegations spanning three decades, several Democratic lawmakers who had received contributions from Weinstein — including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, have said they are giving that money to charities helping women. More allegations against Weinstein emerged on Tuesday, as The New Yorker revealed — among 13 different women’s accounts of alleged sexual harassment, assault or rape — that the mogul allegedly forcibly performed oral sex on Italian actress Asia Argento two decades ago. Actresses Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette also claimed that after rejecting Weinstein’s unwanted advances, they were removed from or kept from being hired for projects. In response to the lengthy allegations made against Weinstein in the New Yorker piece, a spokesperson for Weinstein said, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.” Weinstein was fired from his company this week, and his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, is leaving him. “My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions. I have chosen to leave my husband. Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time,” Chapman said in a statement to PEOPLE. There are plans for Weinstein to enter a treatment facility — but the mogul, who has been staying at a Los Angeles hotel, has not left yet, according to a source. This article originally appeared on People.

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