Oprah Winfrey opened up for the first time publicly about the past two weeks’ worth of sexual harassment and assault claims against Harvey Weinstein during her Wednesday appearance on CBS This Morning.
Winfrey starred in the Weinstein Company film Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
Winfrey told CBS, when asked about the movie mogul, “I’m always trying to look for the rainbow in the cloud, whatever is the silver lining. And this is what I do know for sure: Something this major happens, when you have the fallout, 50 women coming forward, that it’s a watershed moment.”
After a New York Times exposé unveiled decades of alleged sexual harassment by Weinstein and more than 40 women have spoken against the movie mogul, Winfrey believes the scandal has triggered the “suffering” women have endured and kept hidden for an extensive amount of time.
“What I do believe is actually happening is that, first of all, it’s triggering a lot of unreleased pain, repressed anger, guilt and suffering that a lot of women have had,” Winfrey explained.
To elaborate on how much the scandal has affected women, Winfrey recalled filming with several actresses who “hadn’t slept over a period of two days.” Unsure on why they were sleep deprived, Winfrey realized they were “suffering from PTSD.”
“Everybody has a story and so I think this is a watershed moment. If we make this just about Harvey Weinstein, then we will have lost this moment,” Winfrey said. Further adding, “I think this is a moment, where no matter what business you work in, the women who not only had the disease to please, that’s a part of it, but who felt that in order to keep my job, to keep my position, in order to keep moving forward…I’ve got to smile. I’ve gotta look the other way. I’ve gotta pretend he didn’t say that. He didn’t touch me. Those days are about to be over.”
Having publicly addressed her story of sexual abuse before, Winfrey believes the more women speak out, the less fear they’ll have over breaking their silence.
“A lot of women have been silenced and I know being a victim of child sexual abuse that when you feel like you cannot be heard and then other people start speaking out, it makes you feel like ‘Oh, now I can speak out, too.’”
Winfrey originally addressed the Weinstein scandal in a statement posted on her Facebook page. The statement reads:
“I’ve been processing the accounts of Harvey Weinstein’s hideous behavior and haven’t been able to find the words to articulate the magnitude of the situation. Filmmaker James Schamus captured so much of what I’ve been feeling when he said:
“This is the story of one predator and his many victims; but it is also a story about an overwhelming systemic enabling, and until that story is fully told we will fall far short of stopping future depredations on a similar scale. Thanks to the brave voices we’ve heard this week, many more will now be emboldened to come forward EVERY time this happens. I believe a shift is coming.”
Winfrey also took time to address the rumors that she would run in the 2020 presidential election. “There will be no running for office of any kind for me,” Winfrey told CBS.
Rumors and speculations began after Winfrey retweeted a column encouraging the media mogul to run for president. Winfrey responded to the tweet saying, “Thanks for your vote of confidence.”
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) September 28, 2017