Don’t you dare drag Mama O into your nonsense!
This is exactly what movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is trying to do in the midst of his ongoing sexual assault scandal.
According to TMZ, sources have told the gossip site that Weinstein has been telling members of his inner circle that Oprah Winfrey reached out to him earlier this week to urge him to defend himself against the allegations.
The multiple Oscar winner also reportedly claimed she offered to publicly support him as more women come forward .
Winfrey’s spokesperson, however, says that’s a bold-faced lie.
“Oprah has not spoken to Harvey Weinstein directly. Someone from his team reached out to her to see if she would talk to him, and she said she would if it was for an interview [for CBS’ 60 Minutes],” the spokesperson said.
“She was only interested if he’d look in the mirror and give her the honest, bone marrow truth. Oprah issued her own statement on the Weinstein scandal earlier this week in which she described the producer’s behavior as ‘hideous.’”
Speaking of that past statement, Oprah stressed on Thursday, “I’ve been processing the accounts of Harvey Weinstein’s behavior and haven’t been able to find the words to articulate the magnitude of the situation.”
She then quoted filmmaker James Schamus, who once said, “This is the story of one predator and his many victims; but it is also a story about an overwhelming systemic enabling, and until that story is fully told we will fall far short of stopping future depredations on a similar scale.”
Oprah isn’t the only Black celeb speaking out against the 65-year-old.
Earlier this week the Obamas said that they were “disgusted” by his behavior.
“Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein,” Mr. Obama wrote.
He added: “Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status. 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.”
Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, whose feature debut Fruitvale Station was released by The Weinstein Co., released a statement late Tuesday night stressing that he was “saddened” by this news and that “sexual harassment is a human rights violation.”
“I am disturbed and saddened at the news that several women have been victimized by a person I had come to know through the purchase of my first feature film. While I had no further business dealings with Harvey Weinstein, and no knowledge of this predatory behavior, my career did benefit from this brief involvement. Because of that, I feel a responsibility to speak up on this issue,” he wrote.
Coogler added: “The entertainment industry, like many others, has a historic imbalance of power among gender that allows these violations to run rampant. As men we sit in positions of privilege. It is our responsibility to leverage our position, and be allies to the women in our industry. We need to do everything we can to make sure violations like these don’t continue to happen. The first step is to listen. Salute to the brave women who came forward. I could never imagine how difficult that must be.”
Tamron Hall, who has a show in the works with Weinstein, told the Huff Post that when she found out about the allegations she went straight to the source and confronted him.
“A woman’s worst nightmare to be in a situation where you believe someone more powerful has control over your life,” Hall said.
“When she first heard the news, she was in her home state of Texas visiting Safe Haven Shelter for Women. “I immediately thought about the women who have suffered in silence and were paralyzed by fear; fear that I’ve seen with domestic violence survivors; fear that I’ve seen when I interviewed women who were raped on their college campuses.”
Hall said she was unaware of the allegations against Weinstein and never saw him exhibit any bad behavior. During their call Weinstein apologized to her and voiced that he needs help.
To date, more than 30 women including Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd and Rose McGowen have come forward to say they were either sexually harassed and/or raped by Weinstein.
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