Last week, The New York Times reported that prolific film producer Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed women throughout the film industry for decades, and on October 10th The New Yorker reported additional allegations of harassment and sexual assault. Actresses coming forward include Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino, Asia Argento, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.
Weinstein kept these accusations out of the public eye through out-of-court settlements and non-disclosure agreements. (The producer's legal team has vehemently denied many of the accusations.) But now, it seems no one in Hollywood is letting him off the hook.
One of the many celebrities to speak up is indie favorite #KevinSmith, who recently went on Twitter to comment on the issue that has rocked the world of filmmaking to its core. According to the Clerks and Dogma director, he felt betrayed by Harvey Weinstein's actions, since he once held the producer in high regard:
"He financed the first 14 years of my career - and now I know while I was profiting, others were in terrible pain It makes me feel ashamed.
Smith owes his career to Weinstein. Clerks, Smith's first film, was distributed by Weinstein's Miramax Films; Weinstein hired lawyer Alan Dershowitz to defend the movie when the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave Smith's directorial debut an NC-17 rating due to its explicit dialogue.
Since then, Weinstein produced Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Clerks II. Smith's realization mirrors that of actor George Clooney, who told The Daily Beast that while he heard rumors of what Weinstein did behind closed doors, he didn't know how sickening the stories actually were:
"They [the rumors] were that certain actresses had slept with Harvey to get a role. It seemed like a way to smear the actresses and demean them by saying that they didn’t get the jobs based on their talent, so I took those rumors with a grain of salt. But the other part of this, the part we’re hearing now about eight women being paid off, I didn’t hear anything about that and I don’t know anyone that did. That’s a whole other level and there’s no way you can reconcile that. There’s nothing to say except that it’s indefensible."
In the fallout of the explosive reports, Weinstein was fired by his own company "effective immediately" in light of "new information about misconduct," and numerous celebrities joined Smith in denouncing the producer's sleazy actions. Among these people were Jeff Bridges, Lena Dunham, James Gunn, Jeniffer Lawrence, Mark Ruffalo, Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet, just to name a few.
If you've experienced sexual assault or know someone who has, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit RAINN.org.