The 65-year-old Weinstein—a major donor to several prominent Democrats over the years—was fired after a New York Times exposé opened the floodgates on what appears to be years of strategic silencing of the studio head’s victims. Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace by more than 25 women so far, with 3 allegations of rape, and a litany of celebrities stepping forward to share their personal experiences with the executive and denounce his behavior. Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Rose McGowan are a few of the people who have come out with personal accounts of Weinstein’s exploitative conduct.
Obama’s oldest daughter Malia interned for the Weinstein Company earlier this year, reading scripts part-time for $9 an hour, which left some people wondering why the former commander-in-chief hadn’t publicly denounced the studio head. Tuesday night, via a statement to CNN, Obama said it was important for him to speak out in light of recent events:
“Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein,” he wrote.
“Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status,” he continued. “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.”
Several politicians have announced that Weinstein’s donations will now be going to charities that support victims of violence.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted: “What Mr. Weinstein did was awful. Sending his donations to NY orgs doing crucial work for survivors & fams, @SafeHorizon @sffny & @cvtcnyc.”