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Oscar-winning actor Emma Thompson has labelled Harvey Weinstein a “predator” who is just the tip of an “iceberg” as she joined the growing band of Hollywood stars to condemn the producer following a string of sexual assault allegations.
In an interview with BBC’s Newsnight, the British star argued Weinstein’s alleged behaviour - he is accused of rape, assault and harassment - is “endemic” to the Hollywood system.
But she widened the point by saying women have been subjected to “belittling, bullying and interference” since “time immemorial”.
Her comments comes as police forces in London and New York said they were investigating allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein, including one from the London area in during the 1980s.
Weinstein on Thursday appeared in public for the first time since the allegations surfaced, and told reporters he had “got to get help”. His spokeswoman has said he has begun counselling.
In the interview, Thompson said she did not know about the allegations of sexual impropriety but added: “They don’t surprise me at all and they’re endemic to the system anyway.
“What I find extraordinary is that it’s at the top of a very particular iceberg
“I don’t think you can describe him as a sex addict. He’s a predator. That’s different.”
She added that Weinstein is “at the top of the ladder of a system of harassment and belittling and bullying and interference and what my mother would have referred to in the olden days as ‘pestering’.
“‘Is he pestering you?’ That’s the word we used to use in the olden days, if you recall. This has been part of our world, women’s world, since time immemorial. So what we need to start talking about is the crisis in masculinity, the crisis of extreme masculinity, which is this sort of behaviour, and the fact that it is not only ok but that it is also represented by the most powerful man in the world at the moment.”
Asked whether there are others like Weinstein in the Hollywood industry, Thompson responds, “Of course, many. Maybe not to that degree. Do they have to all be as bad as him to make it count?
“Does it only count if you really have done it to loads and loads and loads of women. Or does it count if you do it to one woman once. I think the latter.”
Thompson’s interview struck a cord with viewers who labelled it “empowering” and “stunningly good”.
Weinstein’s spokeswoman has said the producer “can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual”.