Emma Thompson Delivers Stomach-Turning Indictment of Hollywood: Weinstein Is ‘The Tip of the Iceberg’
BY VIRGINIA KRUTA
“Who knew, what did they know, and when did they know it?” These questions — and more — are racing through Hollywood as the industry reels from the impact of acclaimed producer Harvey Weinstein being accused of multiple counts of sexual misconduct.
Veteran actress Emma Thompson weighed in on the topic during a BBC interview with Emily Maitlis, and she said that, thankfully, any contact she had with Weinstein was strictly business — but he had tried to bully people in the boardroom as well.
Thompson then laid out an indictment of the oppressive and abusive culture she called “endemic” to Hollywood:
“What I find sort of extraordinary is that this man is at the top of a very particular iceberg. I don’t think you can describe him as a ‘sex addict,’ he’s a predator.
But what he’s, as it were, the top of the ladder of is a system of harassment, and belittling, and bullying, and interference, and what my mother would have referred to in the olden days as ‘pestering.’ ‘Is he pestering you?’ That’s the word we used to use in the olden days if you recall. This has been part of our world, women’s world, since time immemorial.”
Thompson went on to note this is not the first time we have seen this type of situation:
“Isn’t it the same story as Jimmy Savile? If someone’s powerful, you can say, as the nurses used to do in those hospitals, ‘Be careful, be careful, pretend you’re asleep.’ So some of the agents may have said, ‘Look he’s a little bit … He’s a little bit oily, he’s a little bit this. Don’t worry. Again, he might pester you a bit. But, you know, go in.”
And while she said Weinstein had left her alone — the result, she alleges, of the fact she refused to back down when he attempted to bully her in the professional arena — Thompson reiterated her suggestion that all women (herself included) have dealt with the culture to some extent:
“I mean, I’ve just said I’ve — I spent my 20s trying to get old men’s tongues out of my mouth, you know, because they just thought, ‘Well she’s up for it.’ So I would imagine that that happens really very regularly, and so perhaps this is a moment when we can say to men and women: ‘Open your eyes and open your mouths and say something.’”
You can watch a portion of the interview below, via BBC: