Former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle on Tuesday said they were “disgusted” by the growing allegations of sexual misconduct by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, a longtime Democratic Party donor.
“Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status,” they said in a statement.
“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,” the statement added.
Weinstein has been a major Democratic Party donor as he and his family has given more than $1.4 million in political contributions since the 1992 election cycle. The explosive report by The New York Times last week and subsequent stories have forced congressional Democrats to give thousands of dollars in donations they received from Weinstein to charities.
He has contributed some $10,000 to Obama’s election campaigns.
Weinstein visited the White House during the Obama presidency and helped put on a film workshop in 2013, where then-first lady Michelle Obama described him as a “wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse.”
In a statement on Twitter on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton, whose senatorial and presidential elections campaigns also received large donations from Weinstein, said she was “shocked and appalled” and that “the behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated.”
“Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior,” she said.
Statement from Secretary Clinton on Harvey Weinstein: pic.twitter.com/L1l2wl9l0I
— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) October 10, 2017
Actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie told the Times in a report Tuesday that Weinstein had sexually harassed them. Separately, three women accused Weinstein of raping them in a story published online by The New Yorker, including the Italian actress Asia Argento and a woman who was an aspiring actress in college when she caught Weinstein’s eye. A representative for the mogul vehemently denied the allegations in a statement to the magazine.
The New York Times reported last week that Weinstein settled sexual harassment lawsuits with at least eight women. Weinstein was fired Sunday from the Weinstein Co.