NEWS

Barack and Michelle Obama 'Disgusted' With Harvey Weinstein Over Sexual Harassment Claims

Weinstein now faces three allegations of rape.

11/10/2017 07:40 | Updated 11 October 2017

Barack and Michelle Obama have become the latest high-profile couple to condemn Harvey Weinstein as the producer’s British wife announced she is leaving him. 

Fashion designer Georgina Chapman said on Tuesday that the father of her two children’s actions were “unforgivable”, as three claims of rape were levelled at the 65-year-old. 

“My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions,” the 41-year-old is quoted as saying in People Magazine. 

The Obamas wrote in a statement: “Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein.

Carlos Barria / Reuters
Former US President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have said they are 'disgusted' about claims made against Harvey Weinstein

“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.”

Weinstein was a major Democratic donor, holding fundraisers for several prominent politicians on the left, some of which Obama attended while he was president. The Obamas’ daughter, Malia, also interned for Weinstein’s company. 

The New Yorker reported on Tuesday that 13 women have claimed that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, including three who told the magazine they had been raped.

Weinstein’s spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister was quoted in the article saying, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”

Mark Sullivan via Getty Images
Weinstein's wife, Georgina Chapman, has said she is leaving him

A-list celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosanna Arquette are amongst those to make claims against Weinstein who was fired from the company he founded with his brother Bob, on Sunday

Earlier this week Weinstein was condemned by Hollywood’s elite including George Clooney, Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep, who exclusively told the HuffPost on Monday that the power broker’s behaviour was  “disgraceful,” “inexcusable,” and an “abuse of power”.

The Obamas are only the latest Democrats to denounce Weinstein.

Most recently, on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton released a statement saying that she’s “shocked and appalled” by the allegations against Weinstein.

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have now claimed they were sexually harassed by Weinstein

Democratic politicians have steadily come out against Weinstein ever since last Thursday, when the New York Times published an article detailing dozens of sexual harassment allegations against him.

Jolie told the Times that during the late-’90s release of “Playing by Heart,” Weinstein “made unwanted advances on her in a hotel room, which she rejected”.

“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,” Jolie said in an email. “This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”

Paltrow told the Times that she was invited to Weinstein’s suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a work meeting shortly after the producer hired her as the lead in the Jane Austen adaptation “Emma” at age 22.

Paltrow claims Weinstein put his hands on her, attempted to massage her, and invited her to his bedroom. Paltrow left immediately and told her boyfriend at the time, Brad Pitt, about it.

Pitt subsequently went to Weinstein at a movie premiere and “told him never to touch Ms. Paltrow again”.

Paltrow said Weinstein’s backlash after that episode was “brutal,” adding that Weinstein screamed at her “for a long time.”

She feared losing her role in “Emma,” but “insisted that he put the relationship back on professional footing.”

Suggest a correction