Sunday 24 June 2018

'There was something repulsive about Harvey, I disliked him intensely'

Oscar-winner Fricker joins condemnation of Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein and fashion designer Georgina Chapman at the Oscars Vanity Fair Party in Beverly Hills, California, in February. Photo: Danny Moloshok
Harvey Weinstein and fashion designer Georgina Chapman at the Oscars Vanity Fair Party in Beverly Hills, California, in February. Photo: Danny Moloshok

John Meagher and Anne-Marie Walsh

Oscar-winning actress Brenda Fricker has joined the growing band of high-profile figures in condemning the disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The Dubliner worked with the New York super-producer for the promotion of 'My Left Foot' in 1989. But she said she had seen first-hand just how "predatory" he could be when it came to young actresses.

"There was something dangerous about him and I disliked him intensely," she told the Irish Independent.

"He wasn't interested in me because, let's be honest, I was a middle-aged, frumpy woman and he was after young, beautiful girls. And at the time I first got to know him, you'd have lots of girls hanging off him.

"He gave off this sense that he could make things happen for people."

The Jim Sheridan-directed film, on the life and times of disabled Irish writer Christy Brown, yielded Weinstein his first Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. "And I gave him his first Oscar," Fricker said. "There were times when you'd ask yourself what it was exactly that he did.

"He certainly exuded an air of someone who was very important and there was an awful lot of a***-licking around him, although I certainly didn't do that, and neither did Ray McAnally or some of the other members of the cast.

"But there really was something repulsive about him and he would have been very aware of my dislike for him."

Fricker praised those actresses who first revealed Weinstein's behaviour and said she believed the revelations would spell the end of his glittering career in the movies.

Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan also called Weinstein a "creep".

Meanwhile, actors' union Irish Equity has urged victims of sex attacks to come forward in the wake of the scandal, and claimed there were "repeat offenders" here to whom many actors would give a "wide berth".

The union's call came as Irish filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson said "powerful abusers" in Ireland would be hoping their colleagues remain silent.

Irish Equity president Pádraig Murray assured members it would support them if they reported inappropriate behaviour.

But Mr Murray, a brother of 'Fair City' actor Bryan Murray, revealed that research has shown that the majority of those who experience or witness this type of behaviour are too afraid to come forward because they fear they will lose work.

Irish Equity organiser Karan O'Loughlin said that she knew anecdotally of one or two "repeat offenders" in the industry.

The actors' representative has not come across anything as bad as the Weinstein case, but said she heard anecdotally of one or two people that actors would warn others against.

"Actors are in a really precarious position," she said.

"I believe the number of repeat offenders is small but, in general, some individuals get away with a lot of inappropriate behaviour including harassment, bullying and other bad behaviour under the guise of artistic endeavour."

She added: "It's not on."

Irish Independent

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