Director Ryan Coogler Speaks Out on Harvey Weinstein Allegations: "I Am Disturbed and Saddened"

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Ryan Coogler

"I am disturbed and saddened at the news that several women have been victimized by a person I had come to know through the purchase of my first feature film," wrote the 'Fruitvale Station' helmer.

Director Ryan Coogler, whose feature debut Fruitvale Station was released by The Weinstein Co., is saying that minding one's own business isn’t enough when it comes to sexual harassment and assault.

Joining a chorus of men and women in Hollywood who are denouncing Harvey Weinstein in light of the multiple searing allegations made since The New York Times first published its report on the movie executive, Coogler released a statement Tuesday addressing his brief involvement with the mogul.

Saying he was “disturbed and saddened at the news,” Coogler felt he had a responsibility to speak up on the issues raised by the allegations. He also called on the men who “sit in positions of privilege” because of their gender to do more.

Coogler continued: "It goes without saying, but I will state it now: Sexual harassment is a human rights violation, sexual assault is a human rights violation, rape is a human rights violation."

Earlier on Tuesday, a New Yorker report was published detailing multiple allegations of rape against Weinstein. Released days after the initial Times exposé, the new allegations on Tuesday morning were joined by a new Times article in which Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie accused Weinstein of harassing them.

Following the new allegations, Disney's Bob Iger, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and several more Hollywood figures who have worked with The Weinstein Co. in the past spoke out against his behavior. 

Coogler went on in his statement to call for men in Hollywood to be "allies" for women: "It is our responsibility to leverage our position, and be allies to the women in our industry. We need to do everything we can to make sure violations like these don’t continue to happen. The first step is to listen. Salute to the brave women who came forward. I could never imagine how difficult that must be."

Read the full statement below. 

I am disturbed and saddened at the news that several women have been victimized by a person I had come to know through the purchase of my first feature film. While I had no further business dealings with Harvey Weinstein, and no knowledge of this predatory behavior, my career did benefit from this brief involvement. Because of that, I feel a responsibility to speak up on this issue.

I love working as a storyteller. But I work in an industry that too many times has proven to not be a safe space for women. I make it a priority to ensure that there is gender equity and an inclusive work environment on every project I am involved with. However, just minding our business sometimes isn’t enough. It goes without saying, but I will state it now: Sexual harassment is a human rights violation, sexual assault is a human rights violation, rape is a human rights violation.

The entertainment industry, like many others, has a historic imbalance of power among gender that allows these violations to run rampant. As men we sit in positions of privilege. It is our responsibility to leverage our position, and be allies to the women in our industry. We need to do everything we can to make sure violations like these don’t continue to happen. The first step is to listen. Salute to the brave women who came forward. I could never imagine how difficult that must be.

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