New York: Hollywood stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have opened up about facing sexual harassment at the hands of embattled producer Harvey Weinstein.
Paltrow told New York Times that she was 22 when she was cast to play the lead role in Weinstein-produced “Emma”.
The actor said before the shooting, she was summoned to Weinstein’s suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a work meeting that began uneventfully.
It ended with Weinstein placing his hands on her and suggesting they head to the bedroom for massages, she recalled.
“I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” Paltrow said.
The actor, who later went on to work with Weinstein for her Oscar-winning role in “Shakespeare in Love”, said she refused his advances and confided in Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time, who confronted Weinstein. Pitt confirmed the incident to NYT.
Paltrow said she felt she was expected to keep the incident a secret.
“We’re at a point in time when women need to send a clear message that this is over. This way of treating women ends now,” she said, adding that she wants to support women who have come forward.
Jolie had a similar experience to recount. She said in the late 1990s, she rejected Weinstein’s unwanted advances in a hotel room.
“I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did. This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable,” Jolie told NYT in an email.
Many women, including celebrities from Hollywood, have come forward with their stories following the NYT article that chronicled almost three decades old hidden history of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein, who has since been fired from his own company.
Rosanna Arquette, a star of “Pulp Fiction”, Judith Godreche, a leading French actress and Katherine Kendall are some of the other women who have come forward.
Meanwhile, Hollywood A-listers such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck have broken their silence on the issue.
DiCaprio, who worked with Weinstein on films such as “The Aviator,” “Django Unchained” and “Gangs of New York”, said he applauds the courage of women who have spoken out.
“There is no excuse for sexual harassment or sexual assault no matter who you are and no matter what profession. I applaud the strength and courage of the women who came forward and made their voices heard,” DiCaprio said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Ben Affleck, who also starred in numerous pictures under the Weinstein-founded Miramax label, including “Good Will Hunting”, said earlier that the reports “made (him) sick.”
“I am saddened and angry that a man who I worked with used his position of power to intimidate, sexually harass and manipulate many women over decades.”
New Yorker also published a report yesterday detailing multiple allegations of sexual assault and rape though Weinstein has denied these allegations.
Weinstein’s fashion designer wife Georgina Chapman, 41, has left the movie producer.
“My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions,” Chapman, 41, told People magazine.
Chapman and Weinstein, 65, have two children together.