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Tom Hanks said he did not feel complicit but offered his frank assessment of Hollywood’s problems with sexual harassment committed by powerful predatory men.
Hanks, currently on a book tour to support his short- story collection Uncommon Type, spoke to Morning Edition‘s David Greene at a discussion event at USC’s Bovard Auditorium, and the NPR host didn’t dance around the hottest topic in Hollywood, asking Hanks directly for his take on the wave of sexual misconduct allegations surrounding Harvey Weinstein, James Toback and many others.
Describing how these predatory men think, Hanks said: “They think, somehow, this is how it works. ‘Don’t you understand, this is how it works, I’m your boss and you will have to please me.'”
Hanks added that sexual harassment was a problem across society and not just Hollywood, and he hoped there will be better days ahead. “I think those days are close to [over]— I don’t know if they’ll ever be over.” He hoped that now people could come forward with their stories of sexual harassment in the workplace without fear.
A Hollywood veteran, Hanks said that he had heard of “shenanigans” on the movie sets he had worked on but never something as serious as a sexual predator. He added that it was OK to find love, to flirt in the industry and that “you can be a jerk and an asshole in a lot of ways, but you can’t be a sexual predator.”
When Greene asked Hanks if he personally and Hollywood generally felt complicit in enabling sexual harassment, he responded firmly that he didn’t himself, but added that he was “sure there were people who knew exactly what was going on.” Hanks said these people have to ask themselves: “Did you aid it? Did you abet it? Did you warn people against it?”
When the Weinstein scandal broke, Hanks, who has never worked with the disgraced producer, told the New York Times that the allegations “all just sort of fits” given the long-running rumors. He was particularly dismissive of Weinstein’s defense that he grew up in a different era when sexual attitudes were different. “Look, I don’t want to rag on Harvey but so obviously something went down there. You can’t buy, ‘Oh, well, I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s and so therefore…’ I did, too.”
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