On Thursday Oct. 5, The New York Times dropped a bombshell exposé detailing three decades of sexual harassment and assault allegations against one of Hollywood’s most powerful men: film producer Harvey Weinstein. After a group of brave women came forward for that piece, including actor Ashley Judd and a handful of Weinstein’s former assistants, more women are speaking out. What makes these testimonies even more notable is that some of them are the most respected A-list actors working today.
In a new article published on Tuesday Oct. 10, The New York Times included stories from Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, both of whom claim they were sexually harassed by Weinstein early in their careers.
For Paltrow, it was when she was just 22 and Weinstein had cast her in Emma, her breakout role. She says he invited her into his hotel room and suggested they move to the bedroom for massages. “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” she said. “I thought he was going to fire me.”
Instead, Paltrow says she confided in Brad Pitt, whom she was dating at the time, and that later, Weinstein warned her not to tell anyone else about the incident.
Jolie, on the other hand, didn’t share many details.
“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,” she told the Times in an email. “This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”
What’s disheartening is that it took these women, some of the most powerful in Hollywood, so long to come forward. The fact that they didn’t share their stories until they had the safety in numbers that came from the dozens of other accusations levied against Weinstein illustrates how difficult it is for women to speak out against their abusers, particularly when their abusers are in positions of power over them.
Since all these allegations came to light, Weinstein has been fired from his company.