A handful of actors are stepping forward with statements against Harvey Weinstein‘s admitted sexual harassment Tuesday morning. This comes hours after the Guardian reported that it had reached out to 26 high-profile men in Hollywood for a quote about the scandal and received no reply from any of them.
One of the main issues Weinstein’s victims are saying they ran into over the decades he was actively harassing women was silence—including from those who had likely witnessed his behavior but feared speaking out because of the studio exec’s influence and money. Though they said they weren’t aware of his inappropriate actions, the first former Weinstein collaborators to speak out in support of the survivors have been women—Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, and Glenn Close. Vocal support has also come from Judi Dench, Mindy Kaling, Lena Dunham, and many other women from across the entertainment spectrum.
Meanwhile, among the men contacted by the Guardian who worked with Weinstein but have remained silent include Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Colin Firth, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Martin Scorsese.
George Clooney was the first to break his silence after the Guardian headline came out. He told the Daily Beast via a phone interview on Monday evening that he’d heard rumblings about Weinstein “sleeping with” people over the years, but never had any idea how inappropriate the women considered the film executive’s behavior.
“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,” Clooney said, who worked with Weinstein on From Dusk Till Dawn and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. “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.”
He went on to explain that, as soon as he knew what the allegations were, his opinion changed. “A good bunch of people that I know would say, ‘Yeah, Harvey’s a dog’ or ‘Harvey’s chasing girls,’ but again, this is a very different kind of thing,” he said. “This is harassment on a very high level. And there’s an argument that everyone is complicit in it. I suppose the argument would be that it’s not just about Hollywood, but about all of us—that every time you see someone using their power and influence to take advantage of someone without power and influence and you don’t speak up, you’re complicit. And there’s no question about that.”
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was also named by the Guardian as one of the people it reached out to without receiving a statement (his musical In the Heights is in development at Weinstein’s former studio). On Twitter early Tuesday morning, Miranda admitted that his lack of attention to the issue was because of his current focus on Puerto Rico relief.
“Forgive me,” he wrote to a fan asking why he’d remained silent. “Just woke up to this—I’d asked my reps to keep any press non-[Puerto Rico] relief-related off my desk. That’s my fault.”
I'm as appalled and repulsed by the Weinstein news as anyone with a beating heart. And forever in awe of the bravery of those who spoke out.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) October 10, 2017
He then went on to denounce Weinstein’s behavior and commend the victims for coming forward. “I’m as appalled and repulsed by the Weinstein news as anyone with a beating heart. And forever in awe of the bravery of those who spoke out.”
Meanwhile, the Wrap’s founder, Sharon Waxman, said on Monday that Matt Damon and Russell Crowe called her directly in 2004 to vouch for a man who was allegedly put in charge of handling Weinstein’s “women needs.” She said their influence helped lead to the Times gutting a piece she was writing on the mogul that would have exposed him sooner.