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At a promotional event Thursday for the upcoming HBO documentary Jane Fonda in Five Acts, the eponymous Oscar-winning actress weighed in on the #MeToo movement and whether the many men in the entertainment industry who’ve been accused of sexual misconduct should be able to make a comeback.
When asked about the length of the accused individual’s rehabilitation process, Fonda said, “It doesn’t matter how much time. It depends on what the guy is doing.”
She later elaborated: “There are tools to help men become empathetic. You know, the big problem is that empathy is anathema to the social paradigm we live in called patriarchy. Men are trained not to be empathetic. So it’s not easy what they’re trying to do, but they have to try to do it. So it doesn’t matter if it takes two weeks or a year, two years, it depends on what kind of changes they’ve gone through.”
Fonda specifically cited Charlie Rose as an example of someone who hasn’t “done the work.” Rose, who formerly hosted the PBS talk show Charlie Rose and was a co-anchor on CBS This Morning, was fired from both shows last fall after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. Following a Washington Post exposé that revealed additional allegations of inappropriate behavior by Rose, three women sued the journalist and CBS for sexual harassment and retaliation. Earlier this month, Rose moved to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming in part that the women were “exploiting the #MeToo Movement.”
Similarly, Louis C.K. received swift backlash when he made a surprise return to New York City’s Comedy Cellar last month, not long after he was accused of and admitted to engaging in inappropriate behavior with women.
Speaking to reporters at a lunch for Jane Fonda in Five Acts, held at The Pool restaurant in New York, Fonda concluded her #MeToo discussion with thoughts on what should happen to alleged harassers who refuse to rehabilitate: “If they haven’t gone through the changes, then why should they come back? If you can’t learn, you don’t belong in the boardroom,” she said. There’s plenty of women who do belong in the boardroom.”
Fonda, a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement, has a long history of political activism. One of the most visible celebrities involved in anti-war efforts during the Vietnam era, Fonda’s other causes include fights for economic democracy, environmental protection and Native American rights. She currently is working with the Restaurant Opportunities Center to fight for fair wages for women in the restaurant industry.
Jane Fonda in Five Acts, which chronicles both Fonda’s activism and her acting career, premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
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