Jessica Chastain on Harvey Weinstein Claims: "I Was Warned From the Beginning"
The Oscar nominee joins a list of high-profile actresses who have shared statements regarding the Weinstein Co. co-founder who was ousted from his own company on Sunday.
Jessica Chastain has been engaged in the Harvey Weinstein story on Twitter since the dam first broke last week when The New York Times published a bombshell report detailing his decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct and harassment.
She has retweeted Weinstein-related coverage from the Times and Vulture and posted messages of solidarity with Mark Ruffalo and Chelsea Handler. ("You are a wonderful human," Chastain wrote about Ruffalo after his tweet that Weinstein's story displayed a "disgusting abuse of power.") "This is heart shattering," she wrote when retweeting a Vulture report about how Russell Crowe and her Martian co-star Matt Damon allegedly helped bury a planned exposé in the Times more than a decade ago.
Then, on Monday afternoon, Chastain posted a three-sentence revelation which added more context to why she had been following the story so closely, and echoed a statement being spread by several A-listers following Weinstein's ouster from his own company: The signs were out there. "I was warned from the beginning," tweeted the Oscar nominee to her nearly 600,000 followers. "The stories were everywhere. To deny that is to create an environment for it to happen again."
I was warned from the beginning. The stories were everywhere. To deny that is to create an enviornment for it to happen again.— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) October 9, 2017
The actress has known Weinstein for more than a handful of years after starring in several films produced or distributed by The Weinstein Co. Among them are the John Hillcoat-directed crime drama Lawless opposite Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce from 2012, and the Ned Benson-directed The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby trilogy opposite James McAvoy, released in 2013 and 2014.
"I'm sick of the media demanding only women speak up. What about the men? Perhaps many are afraid to look at their own behavior," Chastain also wrote on Twitter.
She's got a point. While many of Hollywood's highest-profile male stars have remained silent thus far, the same can't be said of its leading ladies. Chastain's statement arrives on a day that has seen other A-list actresses come out with their own, even if they claimed not to know of Weinstein's history. Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, Lena Dunham and Glenn Close have all delivered their take on what is becoming the most important story to hit Hollywood in years for how it has pulled back a veil, uncovering a culture of enabling and abuse of power at the hands of one of the most successful yet most feared film executives.
"The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported. The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes," said Streep in a statement given to journalist Yashar Ali for HuffPo. "One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew."
The same for Dench, who has been in business with Weinstein for years. "Whilst there is no doubt that Harvey Weinstein has helped and championed my film career for the past 20 years, I was completely unaware of these offenses which are, of course, horrifying and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered, and whole-hearted support to those who have spoken out," said the actress to CNN.
Rose McGowan, revealed to be one of the women who accepted a settlement from Weinstein following an encounter with him at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, has also been hitting the scandal hard on her social media accounts. She caught up with The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, demanding that the male culture in Hollywood "change ASAP." The actress added: "Hollywood's power is dying because society has changed and grown, and yet Hollywood male behavior has not. It is so not a good look. ... The men of Hollywood need to know they own no woman. The days of Entourage-like behavior and thinking is as dated as your largely bro nature."
Dunham penned a well thought-out take for the Times about her history with Weinstein, his complicated story and how Hollywood can change its ways. "When we stay silent, we gag the victims," she wrote. "When we stay silent, we condone behavior that none of us could possibly believe is O.K. (unless you do). When we stay silent, we stay on the same path that led us here. Making noise is making change. Making change is why we tell stories. We don't want to have to tell stories like this one again and again. Speak louder."
As for Close, she released a lengthy statement Monday to the Times that painted a complex picture of the conflicting emotions that many industry insiders are likely feeling as news continues to spill out and the accusers grow in numbers.
Close's full statement is below.
"I'm sitting here, deeply upset, acknowledging to myself that, yes, for many years, I have been aware of the vague rumors that Harvey Weinstein had a pattern of behaving inappropriately around women. Harvey has always been decent to me, but now that the rumors are being substantiated, I feel angry and darkly sad.
"I'm angry, not just at him and the conspiracy of silence around his actions, but also that the "casting couch" phenomenon, so to speak, is still a reality in our business and in the world: the horrible pressure, the awful expectation put on a woman when a powerful, egotistical, entitled bully expects sexual favors in exchange for a job.
"Ours is an industry in which very few actors are indispensable and women are cast in far fewer roles than men, so the stakes are higher for women and make them more vulnerable to the manipulations of a predator. I applaud the monumental courage of the women who have spoken up. I hope that their stories and the reportage that gave them their voices represents a tipping point, that more stories will be told and that change will follow.
"The changes must be both institutional and personal. Men and women, in positions of power, must create a work environment in which people, whose jobs depend on them, feel safe to report threatening and inappropriate behavior, like that reported in the Times. No one should be coerced into trading personal dignity for professional success. I feel the time is long and tragically overdue for all of us in the industry, women and men, to unite — calmly and dispassionately — and create a new culture of respect, equality and empowerment, where bullies and their enablers are no longer allowed to prosper."