The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

Emma Thompson says Harvey Weinstein sex abuse allegations are 'just the tip of the iceberg'

There are 'many, many' others like him, the Oscar-winning actress warns

Caroline Mortimer
Friday 13 October 2017 08:31
Comments
Emma Thompson: Harvey Weinstein is "the top of the iceberg"

The allegations against Harvey Weinstein are just the tip of the iceberg, Hollywood actress Emma Thompson has warned.

The Harry Potter and Sense and Sensibility star said that the movie producer was just one “predator” at the top of a system full of people who exploit young women.

Weinstein, 65, has been fired from his production company and faces the possibility of criminal charges in the US and the UK.

His fall from grace came after a New York Times expose about his sexual harassment and sexual assaults of actresses and employees over three decades opened the floodgates to a string of accusations from leading actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.

But the Oscar-winning actress has dismissed his claim that he will be seeking treatment for “sex addiction”.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight, she said: “I didn't know about these things but they don't surprise me at all and they're endemic to the system anyway.”

“What I find extraordinary is that this man is at the top of a very particular iceberg. I don't think you can describe him as a 'sex addict'. He's a predator. That's different.

“But what he's as it were the top of the ladder of is a system of harassment and belittling and bullying and interference and what my mother would have referred to in the olden days as ‘pestering’.”

“‘Is he pestering you?’ That's the word we've used to use in the olden days, if you recall. This has been part of our world women's world since time immemorial.”

Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

She said it was important to start talking about “the crisis of extreme masculinity” which she said was at the heart of this sort of sexual harassment, where men feel the need to express their own power by dominating and sexually degrading women.

The 58-year-old said she thought Weinstein’s case was probably the most extreme but it was not isolated and there were “many, many” others.

“Do they have to all be as bad as him to make it count? Does it only count if you really have done it to loads and loads and loads of women? Or does it count if you do it to one woman once. I think the latter,” she added.

The interview comes after reports emerged earlier this week that Thompson stood up to Weinstein on the set of the film version of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited in 2007, after he told her co-star Hayley Atwell she was too fat.

Weinstein had come to the set as his company, Miramax, was handling the US distribution rights. It was there that he met the then 24-year-old Atwell.

But after seeing her eating lunch he told her: “You look like a fat pig on screen. Stop eating so much.”

On hearing this Thompson reportedly told him she would quit halfway through shooting if he ever spoke to Atwell or any other woman on set like that again.

A source told the New York Post: “Emma called Harvey out for being a misogynist and a bully and really gave him a hard time.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in