Joe Biden Addresses "Disgusting and Immoral" Harvey Weinstein Claims
"My father taught me the greatest sin that could be committed was the abuse of power, whether it was mental, physical or economic," the former vice president said during a speech Wednesday.
Joe Biden has joined Hillary Clinton and Michelle and Barack Obama in condemning Harvey Weinstein after numerous women have alleged that the disgraced mogul sexually harassed and assaulted them.
While accepting an honor at the Anti-Violence Project Courage Awards held Wednesday night, the former vice president slammed Weinstein's alleged behavior as "disgusting and immoral," calling it the "ultimate abuse of power."
"While we have made progress together, we know that violence and the abuse of power still persist today," Biden said at the podium. "We've recently seen that in stark relief in the disgusting conduct and behavior of a very powerful figure in Hollywood. A man who had power over scores of women and their careers. He abused that power in a disgusting and immoral way."
He added, "My father taught me the greatest sin that could be committed was the abuse of power, whether it was mental, physical or economic. And the ultimate — the cardinal sin — was for a man to use his power — physical or economic — to abuse a woman or a child. It's disgusting."
Biden applauded the bravery of the women who have spoken out against the mogul and urged "powerful men in Hollywood" to also speak up. "Silence is complicity," he said.
On Tuesday, Clinton broke her silence on the sexual assault and rape allegations surrounding Weinstein, who has been slammed by a chorus of Hollywood stars — from George Clooney to Meryl Streep — and has been fired from his own company.
The former presidential candidate and secretary of state said she was "shocked and appalled by the revelations." In a statement long-awaited since the Oct. 5 publication of The New York Times exposé, she added, "The behavior described by the women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior."
In an interview with CNN, Clinton elaborated on her initial reaction to hearing the news. "I was just sick. I was shocked. I was appalled. It was something that was just intolerable in every way," she said. Commenting on Weinstein's close ties to the Democratic party, she added, "People in Democratic politics for many decades appreciated his help and support. I think these stories coming to light now, and people who never spoke out before having the courage to speak out, just clearly demonstrates that this behavior he engaged in cannot be tolerated and cannot be overlooked."
Barack and Michelle Obama also commented on the claims in a joint statement. "Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status," the statement read.
"We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. And we all need to build a culture — including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect — so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future."
Clinton, Obama and other prominent Democrats have received thousands of dollars from megadonor Weinstein while campaigning over the years.
Hours after the Times first published its report, the Democratic National Committee announced that it would be donating over $30,000 in contributions from Weinstein to organizations such as Emily's List, Emerge America and Higher Heights "because what we need is more women in power, not men like Trump who continue to show us that they lack respect for more than half of America."