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While being interviewed by editor-in-chief Cindi Leive at Monday’s Glamour Women of the Year summit at the Brooklyn Museum, Joe Biden addressed the “abuse of power” among the many men in Hollywood and other industries who have been accused of sexual misconduct.
“Everybody thinks because of my passion from writing the Violence Against Women Act that my mother was abused or someone close to me — it’s not true. My dad used to say, ‘The greatest sin anyone can commit is the abuse of power and the cardinal sin of all is for the man to raise his hand to a woman or a child,'” said Biden, who sat beside his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, who was also being honored at the event. “This is about the abuse of power.”
Leive also asked Biden his thoughts on the excuse that several men of a certain generation — including Harvey Weinstein — have used to justify their behavior, which was to blame the culture as “just the way it was.” Biden, 74, scoffed, “Oh, give me a break.”
When Leive brought up how Weinstein’s then-attorney, Lisa Bloom, defended him as “an old dinosaur learning new ways,” Biden retorted: “He should spend some time in jail, that old dinosaur.”
The former vp told the audience that “we’re on the cusp of fundamentally changing the culture,” adding that “women hold up half the sky and guess what, it’s time to end this.”
“It’s hard to come forward,” he continued. “Don’t let this slow up — it’s time to fundamentally change the culture of how women are treated in American society.”
Leive also mentioned how female members in Congress have spoken up about dealing with sexual harassment by their colleagues and asked if Biden was aware of this type of behavior at Capitol Hill.
“I was. I personally wrote the Violence Against Women Act and initially women’s groups didn’t support it because they thought it would take the focus off of choice and gender issues, but then they got fully behind it and the people who were supporting me most were my friends like Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein,” said Biden, before alluding to a prominent senator patting someone inappropriately. However, Jill stopped him from continuing with the story by placing her hand on his knee.
Last month, Biden teamed with Lady Gaga to release a PSA to raise awareness about sexual assault, and on Monday at the conference, he revealed that they are working to create trauma centers for survivors who need long-term support and care. The project is still in its very early stages.
Samantha Reed contributed to this report.
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