Sunday 22 October 2017

'Repulsive' Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment an 'open secret' in Hollywood - Irish actress claims

Fionnula Flanagan has branded Harvey Weinstein 'repulsive'
Fionnula Flanagan has branded Harvey Weinstein 'repulsive'

Kathy Armstrong

Film producer Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment of women was an "open secret" in Hollywood, according to an Irish actress who worked with him.

Fionnula Flanagan (75) called Weinstein "repulsive" and a "creep" as she said she hopes the uproar surrounding the allegations helps other victims of sexual harassment worldwide to speak out.

Almost a dozen women have accused Weinstein of harassing them - including A-listers Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Separately, three women have also alleged that he raped them.

Weinstein - the producer behind Oscar-winning films such as The English Patient and Shakespeare In Love - denies any wrongdoing.

Dubliner Fionnula worked with Weinstein on award-winning Transamerica and The Others and she called the claims "an open secret".

Speaking on Liveline on RTE Radio One, she said: "He was at all the parties, a  lot of which he gave.

"He wasn't around physically on Transamerica but I did have dealings with his company and with him.

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein

"It was an open secret, he was sort of repulsive with his behaviour towards women.

"He never made any advances towards me but by the time I worked on The Others on Transamerica I was no longer a 20-year-old actress, it seems to be that it was actresses who were very young that he behaved appallingly to."

She continued to say that although he never made any advances towards her, she still felt he wasn't to be trusted.

Fionnula claimed: "I don't think he's as powerful as he used to be by any means, certainly not in the last few years.

"It was an open secret in some areas and to put a fine point on it, he was a creep.

"He was also notorious for breaking his word on business dealings so my impression was that he was not to be trusted by any means."

Read More: 'Caring for my young children is my first priority' - Harvey Weinstein's wife announces she is leaving him as scandal deepens

She also gave an insight into why his alleged victims might not have spoken out before.

Actress Fionnula Flanagan
Actress Fionnula Flanagan

She said: "He was a powerful person who could make or break a career and that's what people feared, people were nervous about that.

"If you want to work, and you have a right to work, he was just one producer but he was a powerful producer.

"Particularly because he was known for his Oscar campaigns and people wanted to be in the running for an Oscar if it was the right picture.

"That's where he could be particularly helpful or he could break a movement towards an Oscar run."

Fionnula said that she feels men worldwide abuse any power they may have to try to take advantage of women.

She said: "That behaviour is common all over the world, not just in Hollywood and it's common in every industry.

"When I was very young I would meet powerful men strictly in the professional arena who believed they were entitled to have whatever they wanted.

"I think in his case there was a sick, predatory element, I think it does come along with power."

Read More: Meryl Streep slams 'inexcusable abuse of power' by Harvey Weinstein: 'Not everyone knew'

Harvey Weinstein with his wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty
Harvey Weinstein with his wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, at the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

She also said that she wouldn't be surprised if other Hollywood power players might be nervous about allegations being made about them.

Fionnula said: "My guess is that a lot more people are going to spill the beans on other powerful men, there will be a lot of guys shaking in their boots...

"I think it's terrifically courageous of these women to come forward, you might think of such big names like Gwyneth or Angelina and you might think nobody can touch them but that's not true.

"People tend to want to shy away from these kind of situations and want nothing to do with it, having a  big name won't save you."

Weinstein has denied all the allegations.

His spokeswoman told The New Yorker: "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein.

"Mr Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual."

Read More: Paltrow and Jolie accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment as Hillary Clinton says she is 'shocked and appalled'

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