Barack Obama, Viola Davis, Ryan Coogler Slam Harvey Weinstein Amidst Rape Scandal

by Krystal Franklin

October 11, 2017

Photos by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage, Cindy Ord/Getty Images and Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

The news of Hollywood studio executive Harvey Weinstein‘s rape and sexual harassment allegations has everyone talking, including a few of our own.

Photo by GP Images/WireImage

On Tuesday Barack and Michelle Obama spoke out about the heinous allegations (Weinstein hosted several fundraisers during his campaign). “Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports of Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status. 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.

Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic

In a statement to Variety, Viola Davis also spoke out strongly against Weinstein saying, “The predator wants your silence. It feeds their power, entitlement AND they want it to feed your shame. Our bodies are not the ‘spoils of war’… a trophy to be collected to fuel your ego,” she went on. “It’s OURS!!! It doesn’t belong to you!! And when you take it without permission, it DESTROYS…… like a virus!!! To the predators.. Weinstein, the stranger, the relative, the boyfriend…. I say to you, ‘You can choose your sin but you don’t get to choose the consequences.’ To the victims…. I see you. I believe you… and I’m listening.” 

Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler‘s first film, was purchased by The Weinstein Company. And while the director says he hasn’t had any interaction with Weinstein since, he does admit his career benefited from the relationship.

Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

“I am disturbed and saddened at the news that several women have been victimized by a person I had come to know through the purchase of my first feature film. While I had no further business dealings with Harvey Weinstein, and no knowledge of this predatory behavior, my career did benefit from this brief involvement. Because of that, I feel a responsibility to speak up on this issue.

I love working as a storyteller. But I work in an industry that too many times has proven to not be a safe space for women. I make it a priority to ensure that there is gender equity and an inclusive work environment on every project I am involved with. However, just minding our business sometimes isn’t enough. It goes without saying, but I will state it now: sexual harassment is a human rights violation, sexual assault is a human rights violation, rape is a human rights violation.

The entertainment industry, like many others, has a historic imbalance of power among gender that allows these violations to run rampant. As men we sit in positions of privilege. It is our responsibility to leverage our position, and be allies to the women in our industry. We need to do everything we can to make sure violations like these don’t continue to happen. The first step is to listen. Salute to the brave women who came forward. I could never imagine how difficult that must be.”

And while Weinstein’s accusers may all be women (including Angelina Jolie and Gwenyth Paltrow), yesterday Terry Crews broke his silence on being sexually assaulted by another male Hollywood honcho, proving that victims of sexual harassment and assault have more than one face.

TELL US: What are your thoughts on the scandal?

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