Celeb reactions to the Harvey Weinstein scandal

After both The New York Times and The New Yorker published bombshell exposés that accused powerful Hollywood honcho Harvey Weinstein of sexually harassing and assaulting numerous women, including big name such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, the celebrity world was quick to react. While most stars denounced Weinstein's alleged actions, one came to his defense (in the weirdest way possible), and others stand accused of lying about what they know. Fasten your seat belts because her we go…

Meryl Streep

Within a few days of The New York Times exposé—which included actress Ashley Judd accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment and reports of settlements paid out to eight different women—famed Hollywood actress Meryl Streep issued a statement to HuffPost:

"The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported," Streep said. "The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes." Streep also challenged the notion that "everybody" knew about Weinstein's "open secret," which attracted some criticism

While Streep was arguably the biggest star to quickly champion Weinstein's alleged victims, she wasn't the first to openly stand up for them.

Amber Tamblyn

After her epic takedown of actor James Woods became a viral sensation, actress Amber Tamblyn has been using her growing Twitter audience to champion women who've been abused by the industry. When The New York Times report hit, Tamblyn was one of the first to call attention to it. "Heed the mantra and never forget," she tweeted, along with a link to the exposé. "Women. Have. Nothing. To. Gain. And. Everything. To Lose. By. Coming. Forward."

Tamblyn also called for Weinstein to release his accusers from their nondisclosure agreements, and she repeatedly offered her public support to actress Rose McGowan, who was named in the Times report as one of Weinstein's alleged victims but had declined to comment for the story. 

Perhaps Tamblyn's support empowered McGowan because she finally broke her silence…

Rose McGowan

A brief look through Rose McGowan's Twitter timeline demonstrates why Newsweek calls her the "voice of the Weinstein resistance." Her no-holds-barred tweets since The New York Times exposé was published paint a picture of an actress who is no longer hiding. She claims she was allegedly raped by Weinstein early in her career. She's also openly calling out anyone who might have been complicit in allowing Weinstein to allegedly prey on women.

McGowan also defended Lindsay Lohan after the troubled actress gave an unusual statement about the scandal…

Lindsay Lohan

After the The New Yorker and The New York Times investigations went public, Weinsten's wife, Georgina Chapman, told People that she was leaving him. This turn of events apparently didn't sit well with actress Lindsay Lohan, who recorded a strange Instagram story defending Weinstein, reported Variety.

In the since-deleted video, Lohan says she feels bad for Weinstein and disagrees with how he's being treated. "He's never harmed me or did anything to me—we've done several movies together. I think everyone needs to stop—I think it's wrong. So stand up." Lohan also says Chapman should "take a stand and be there for her husband."

Lohan was criticized for her remarks (and odd accent), but McGowan surprisingly called for sympathy. "Please go easy on Lindsay Lohan," McGowan tweeted. "Being a child actor turned sex symbol twists the brain in ways you can't comprehend."

Lohan's message certainly didn't stop other A-list celebrities from coming forward to take a stand against both Weinstein and the conditions in Hollywood that allowed him to allegedly take advantage of women.

Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet joined a growing list of prominent actresses who want their condemnation of Weinstein on the record. This was an especially bold statement for Winslet who, like Streep, has won an Oscar working with the powerful mogul.

"The way Harvey Weinstein has treated these vulnerable, talented young women is NOT the way women should ever EVER deem to be acceptable or commonplace in ANY workplace," Winslet said in a statement to Variety. "His behaviour is without question disgraceful and appalling and very, very wrong. I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made up rumours, maybe we have all been naïve. And it makes me so angry. There must be 'no tolerance' of this degrading, vile treatment of women in ANY workplace anywhere in the world."

Judi Dench

Dame Judi Dench has credited much of her film success to Weinstein. In 2011, the revered actress jokingly had a makeup artist put a fake tattoo of his name on her butt! So it was definitely notable when Dench swiftly issued a statement condemning Weinstein and supporting his alleged victims.

"Whilst there is no doubt that Harvey Weinstein has helped and championed my film career for the past 20 years, I was completely unaware of these offenses which are, of course, horrifying, and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered, and wholehearted support to those who have spoken out," she said in a statement (via Newsweek).

While Dench truly may have been unaware about Weinstein's alleged actions, this next big actress was candid about her apathy.

Glenn Close

In a statement to The New York Times, veteran actor Glenn Close denounced Weinstein's actions and also admitted that she heard rumors during her career about his alleged behavior.

"I'm angry, not just at him and the conspiracy of silence around his actions," Close wrote, "but also that the 'casting couch' phenomenon, so to speak, is still a reality in our business and in the world: the horrible pressure, the awful expectation put on a woman when a powerful, egotistical, entitled bully expects sexual favors in exchange for a job."

She added, "I applaud the monumental courage of the women who have spoken up," the actress continued. "I hope that their stories and the reportage that gave them their voices represents a tipping point, that more stories will be told and that change will follow."

Close wasn't the only actress who admitted she'd heard whispers about Weinstein. In fact, another star reveal that she'd been specifically warned about The Weinstein Company head.

Jessica Chastain

In a series of candid tweets (via Variety), Jessica Chastain said she was "warned from the beginning" about Weinstein. "The stories were everywhere," she wrote. "To deny that is to create an environment for it to happen again."

While fielding questions from fans, Chastain denied directly working with Weinstein, but she couldn't prevent some of her films from being sold to his company even after she voiced her objections. 

Chastain also echoed calls for more men in Hollywood to step forward against sexual harassment, and she thanked one hulking actor for being one of the first to do so.

Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo previously made headlines championing women when he called out his bosses at Marvel for neglecting Black Widow in their Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) merchandise. "We need more #BlackWidow merchandise for my daughters and nieces. Pretty please," the Hulk actor tweeted. So it shouldn't be a surprise that he was one of the first men in Hollywood to denounce Weinstein.

"To be clear what Harvey Weinstein did was a disgusting abuse of power and horrible," Ruffalo tweeted. "I hope we are now seeing the beginning of the end of these abuses."

Brie Larson

Shortly after The New York Times expose on Weinstein was published, Captain Marvel (2019) star Brie Larson voiced her support for the alleged victims. Larson previously made waves for criticizing Manchester by the Sea (2016) Oscar-winner Casey Affleck. (Affleck was accused of sexual harassment by two women but settled with them in 2010, according to Variety.)

"As always, I stand with the brave survivors of sexual assault and harassment," Larson tweeted. "It's not your fault. I believe you."

Ruffalo and Larson's reactions to Weinstein were soon joined by another powerful voice in the Marvel universe.

James Gunn

In a lengthy Facebook post, James Gunn, director of the Guardians of the Galaxy films, denounced sexual harassment in all its form. "Evil men are doing this everywhere, every day, in every occupation, and every type of household, all over the world," Gunn wrote.

After citing Weinstein, Gunn promised to be an ally to women in their fight against abuse. "I am hoping with recent truths coming to light, that their reign is coming to an end, in Hollywood, and everywhere. I promise to do everything I personally can to stop it, and I applaud and have deep love for every human being who breaks the silence."

At this point, few men had responded publicly to the Weinstein scandal, so Gunn's statement was significant. He soon had company from some powerful male voices in the entertainment industry.

Jimmy Kimmel

When President Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., pointed out that Weinstein had made numerous donations to the Democratic party, late night host Jimmy Kimmel called him out. According to Deadline, a "tweet exchange of sparring sarcasm" ensued. 

Kimmell reminded junior that his dad had been caught on tape talking about grabbing women by a [body part synonymous with cat]. Kimmel used a monologue on his show to continue the debate:

"So people are pointing to the fact that Harvey Weinstein was a Clinton supporter, and listen, it's true," Kimmel said (via The Washington Post). "I'm not defending Hillary Clinton. The fact is, her campaign did take money from what turned out to be a high-profile man who's been accused of sexual harassment multiple times. And not just one of them, by the way. She took money from two of them: Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump, who donated to Hillary's campaign in 2008."

"So anyway, note to DJTJ," Kimmel added. "Next time you're defending your father and you think it's a good idea to draw a parallel between him and a freshly-accused sexual predator? Don't. It doesn't help. It really doesn't."

While Kimmel's reaction was mainly a takedown of Trump Jr.'s attack on Clinton, another name in Hollywood with considerable sway was about to take on Weinstein directly.

George Clooney

Weinstein gave George Clooney his first major film role, so the actor owes a lot to the former Miramax honcho. That doesn't mean Clooney is going to defend him.

"It's indefensible. That's the only word you can start with," he told the Daily Beast. "Harvey's admitted to it, and it's indefensible."

Clooney was also candid about why he ignored the rumors about Weinstein over the years. "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," he said. "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."

Another actor who worked with Weinstein spoke out after The New Yorker investigation hit the press, but his statement didn't go over so well.

Ben Affleck

Oscar-winner Ben Affleck issued a statement on Twitter denouncing his old studio boss. However, McGowan refuted Affleck's statement and claimed he knew about the alleged abuse years ago because she confided in him about her experience.

"You lie," she said, via Twitter, claiming that when she told him about the alleged assault, he responded with, "Goddamnit! I told him to stop doing that." She added, "Ben Affleck, f**k off."

The situation went from bad to worse for Affleck, who was soon drawn into a scandal of his own when Twitter users began circulating a clip of the actor groping actress Hilarie Burton on MTV's TRL Live in 2003. Affleck swiftly apologized via Twitter.

At the time of this writing, Affleck has yet to respond to McGowan's claims. The actress isn't making things easy for one of his long-time pals, either.

Matt Damon

After being called out by McGowan for being a "spineless profiteer" and after being named by reporter Sharon Waxman for allegedly helping to bury a 2004 story about Weinstein's sexual harassment, Matt Damon spoke to Deadline about the man who took Good Will Hunting (1997) all the way to the Oscars.

"I would never, ever, ever try to kill a story like that. I just wouldn't do that. It's not something I would do, for anybody," Damon said. The actor recalled having "about a one minute phone call" with Waxman about Fabrizio Lombardo. Waxman alleges Lombardo helped procure women for Weinstein, but Damon said he had no clue that was the scope of her story. "Harvey said, Sharon Waxman is writing a story about Fabrizio and it's really negative. Can you just call and tell her what your experience with Fabrizio was. So I did, and that's what I said to her." Waxman confirmed Damon's remarks on Twitter.

Without specifically mentioning McGowan's claims, Damon also stated that he knew nothing about Weinstein's alleged behavior. "I think a lot of actors have come out and said, everybody's saying we all knew. That's not true," he said. "This type of predation happens behind closed doors, and out of public view. If there was ever an event that I was at and Harvey was doing this kind of thing and I didn't see it, then I am so deeply sorry, because I would have stopped it."

"Look, even before I was famous, I didn't abide this kind of behavior," he told Deadline. "But now, as the father of four daughters, this is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night."

Leonardo DiCaprio

Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio took to Facebook to add his voice to the chorus. "There is no excuse for sexual harassment or sexual assault—no matter who you are and no matter what profession," he said. "I applaud the strength and courage of the women who came forward and made their voices heard."

Leo was among some of Hollywood's most elite who swiftly turned on one of its own.

Julia Roberts

In a fiery statement to Us Weekly, Julia Roberts called out Weinstein—and all of humanity—to clean up its act.

"A corrupt, powerful man wields his influence to abuse and manipulate woman. We've heard this infuriating, heartbreaking story countless times before. And now here we go again," she said. "I stand firm in the hope that we will finally come together as a society against this kind of predatory behavior, to help victims find their voices and their healing, and to stop it once and for all."

The Pretty Woman (1990) star would be soon be joined by another beloved voice who's been entertaining moviegoers for decades.

Tom Hanks

When the Weinstein scandal broke, the disgraced mogul offered up a pretty weak excuse in his official statement. "I came of age in the '60s and '70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different," he said. "That was the culture then." 

That narrative wasn't flying with Tom Hanks. "Look, I don't want to rag on Harvey but so obviously something went down there," he told The New York Times. "You can't buy, 'Oh, well, I grew up in the '60s and '70s and so therefore…' I did, too. So I think it's like, well, what do you want from this position of power? I know all kinds of people that just love hitting on, or making the lives of underlings some degree of miserable, because they can."

As Hollywood's "most decent fella" continued to talk about the scandal, even his knack for being cordial wore thin. "I'm not the first person to say Harvey's a bit of an a**," Hanks said. "Poor Harvey—I'm not going to say poor Harvey, Jesus. Isn't it kind of amazing that it took this long?"

The backlash didn't stop with the Forrest Gump (1995) Oscar winner. Tinseltown was now coming out in force.

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron issued both a condemnation of Weinstein and a call to support the victims of sexual harassment and abuse everywhere. The Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) star wants other women to know she has their backs.

"The women who have spoken about their abuse are and heroic and although I didn't have a personal experience like this with Harvey Weinstein, I unfortunately cannot say I'm surprised," she wrote on Instagram. "This culture has always existed, not just in Hollywood but across the world. And many men in positions of power have gotten away with it for far too long. We cannot blame the victims here. A lot of these women are young, just starting out in their respective fields, and have absolutely no way to stand up to a man with so much influence, much greater than theirs. If they speak up, they are shut down, and that could be the end of their career. This is all a positive step forward in changing that culture, and these young women need to know that they have a support system should anything like this happen to them. And I want you all to know I support you."

Who would be next to speak out against Weinstein? 

Ryan Gosling

In an apologetic statement on Twitter, Ryan Gosling took himself to task for not doing something sooner.

"I want to add my voice of support for the women who have had the courage to speak out against Harvey Weinstein," Gosling wrote. "Like most people in Hollywood, I have worked with him and I'm deeply disappointed in myself for being so oblivious to these devastating experiences of sexual harassment and abuse. He is emblematic of a systemic problem. Men should stand with women and work together until there is real accountability and change."

Granted, Baby Goose has been a known advocate for women. The alleged victims could surely use all the support they can get, and more was on the way.

Olivia Wilde

"Let's be clear. What Harvey Weinstein did to those women was nothing short of abuse," Olivia Wilde wrote on Twitter. "I am disturbed, and disgusted. It's appalling. Though I never witnessed it, I stand in solidarity with his victims, and hope their bravery sends a loud message to all abusers of power. The victim blaming needs to stop. As does the shaming of women who didn't come forward earlier. They spoke, and we are here to listen."

Soon, even politicians were denouncing the embattled Hollywood titan.

Joe Biden

In a speech at Rutgers University, former Vice President Joe Biden formally condemned Weinstein for using "his power in a disgusting and immoral way," according to NJ.com. "This disgusting behavior at least on the part of Harvey Weinstein has been brought to an abrupt and justifiable end," Biden told a cheering crowd. "And it is my hope there are more consequences."

"This man deserves more than losing his company," Biden added. While NJ.com notes that Weinstein has donated money to Biden over the years, clearly the former VP wasn't about to let that stop him from speaking out.

Blake Lively

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Blake Lively shot down rumors that she was one of "Harvey's girls" but also stressed that his alleged victims need to be supported and action needs to be taken.

"The number one thing that can happen is that people who share their stories, people have to listen to them and trust them, and people have to take it seriously," Lively said. "As important as it is to remain furious about this, it's important to also say that this exists everywhere so remember to look everywhere. This isn't a single incident. This cannot happen, this should not happen, and it happens in every single industry."

Robert Rodriguez

Weinstein practically put Robert Rodriguez on the map, so it's no small thing that the Desperado (1995) director called out his friend and colleague in a statement to Deadline.

"I find the behavior of Harvey Weinstein truly disgusting, both what he did and how he covered his tracks, and it makes me wonder how many others can't come forward and tell their full story because of legal and personal intimidation," Rodriguez said. "His repulsive behavior was an abuse of power. Thankfully, he's now discovering what true power is."

The shockwaves of the Weinstein scandal even reached across the Atlantic, where one of Britain's top actresses dismissed the producer's excuses.

Emma Thompson

In an interview with BBC2 Newsnight (via The Guardian), Emma Thompson didn't mince words when sharing her thoughts about Weinstein's excuses. "I don't think you can describe him as a sex addict," she said, "He's a predator. That's different. He's at the top of, as it were the ladder of, a system of harassment and belittlement and bullying and interference. This has been part of our world, women's world, since time immemorial."

Thompson also made it clear that Weinstein is lucky she was unaware of his alleged behavior until now. "I will always speak… I will take someone's head off if I see anything like that," she said. 

Wow, don't mess with Nanny McPhee. 

Seth MacFarlane

While announcing the 2013 Oscar nominees for best supporting actress, Family Guy (1998-) creator Seth MacFarlane joked, "Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein."

After the Weinstein allegations began and MacFarlane's joke started making the rounds, the comedian shared a poignant backstory about that pointed jab. In a statement on Twitter, MacFarlane revealed that his friend and colleague, Jessica Barth, told him in 2011 that Weinstein had allegedly harassed her, which Barth confirmed to CNN after the scandal broke.

"I couldn't resist taking a hard swing in his direction." MacFarlane said, referencing the Oscar joke. "Make no mistake, this came from a place of loathing and anger. There is nothing more abhorrent and indefensible than abuse of power such as this. I respect and applaud my friend Jessica and those sharing their stories for their decision to come forward, and for being champions of the truth.

While MacFarlane's joke was largely viewed as a Hollywood insider trying to warn others, other celebs' reactions were not so well received.

Oliver Stone

Famed director Oliver Stone's initial reaction to the Weinstein scandal landed with a thud. "I'm a believer that you wait until this thing gets to trial," Stone said (via Variety). "I believe a man shouldn't be condemned by a vigilante system. It's not easy what he's going through either."

Stone later walked back those remarks. "After looking at what has been reported in many publications over the last couple of days, I'm appalled and commend the courage of the women who've stepped forward to report sexual abuse or rape." The director also put his money where his mouth is and recused himself from the Guantanamo (2018-) TV series "as long as The Weinstein Company is involved."

However, just like Affleck, Stone soon found himself embroiled in a scandal of his own. The AV Club reported that Stone is being accused of some pretty gross misdeeds as well. It seems the Weinstein scandal is opening the floodgates on sexual harassment in Hollywood, and it's literally anybody's guess who will get caught up in Weinstein's web next.

Who will speak out next?

As the Weinstein scandal continues to unfold, Hollywood is reeling from a controversy that now involves the entire industry to some degree. Stay tuned to Nicki Swift for the latest celebrity reactions and news on Harvey Weinstein's downfall.