UK

Harvey Weinstein Should Be Stripped Of His CBE, Labour MP Jess Phillips Says

'We need to shine a light on powerful men who were being hidden by the establishment'.

09/10/2017 20:37 BST | Updated 09/10/2017 20:53 BST

Harvey Weinstein should be stripped of his honorary CBE, Labour MP Jess Phillips demanded on Monday after the under-fire film producer was sacked from his company.

The Oscar-winning American, accused of sexually harassing female employees, was awarded an honorary CBE in 2004 for his contribution to the British film industry.

Phillips, who managed domestic abuse refuges before entering politics, told HuffPost UK: “Of course we should take it away. We need to shine a light on powerful men who were being hidden by the establishment. He should have all of his establishment gongs removed from him.”

A ‘gong’ can be removed if the honours system’s reputation is judged to have been damaged.

That verdict is handed down by the Honours Forfeiture Committee, a secretive Whitehall panel that meets to consider complaints.

PA Archive/PA Images
Jess Phillips: "Of course we should take (the CBE) away."

Honours are revoked if a recipient has been found guilty of a criminal offence, and the final decision must be approved by the Queen.

High profile cases include Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, who lost his honorary knighthood in 2008 over abuses of human rights and democracy.

Rolf Harris was stripped of his CBE after the disgraced former entertainer was jailed for indecent assaults on four girls.

Former RBS boss Fred Goodwin had his knighthood removed after criticism of his role in the bank’s near-collapse in 2008.

The Prime Minister’s Official spokesperson has said while the PM is “concerned by the allegations”, they pointed to the honours process being independent of the government.  

WPA Pool via Getty Images
 The Queen meets Harvey Weinstein in 2014.

Last week, the New York Times alleged that over the course of three decades, Weinstein had made eight settlements with women who had accused him of unwanted physical contact and sexual harassment. 

In a statement sent to HuffPost exclusively by Streep’s publicist,  Academy Award winner Meryl Streep called the alleged sexual harassment “disgraceful,” “inexcusable,” and an “abuse of power.” She called the women who have spoken out against him “heroes.”

A number of female stars have hit back at calls for women in Hollywood to condemn Harvey Weinstein, asking why men too should not stand up and denounce the Oscar-winning film producer.  

Weinstein has released a statement saying he “so respects women” and apologised for “causing pain” but also claimed that he would be suing the New York Times for “reckless reporting”.