Actress and model feminist Jane Fonda says she’s known for more than a year that Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed and assaulted young women in Hollywood, but chose not to say anything.
Speaking to Christiane Amanpour, Fonda said that her friend, and fellow outspoken liberal activist, Rosanna Arquette, told her about her experiences with Weinstein. Arquette was one of several women who also spoke to Ronan Farrow, telling the New Yorker author that after she resisted Weinstein’s advances in a New York City hotel room, he cut her out of the business for years.
But Fonda says she never spoke up, and kept Arquette’s claims under lock and key, despite, it seems, running into Weinstein here and there at Democratic party events during the 2016 election.
“I’m ashamed that I didn’t say anything right then,” Fonda said.
She should be.
Fonda has been a women’s rights activist for years, beginning in the 1960s when her anti-war activism dovetailed nicely with the feminist movement. Just recently, at the Emmy Awards, Fonda and co-star Lily Tomlin made provocative statements accusing President Donald Trump of being a sexist, and emblematic of an oppressive Patriarchy designed to keep women down.
“Back in 1980 in that movie, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot,” the pair crowed. “And in 2017, we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”
Weinstein was clearly the exception to Fonda’s rule. According to Fonda, she never said anything about the Hollywood mogul because “I guess it hadn’t happened to me, and so I didn’t feel that it was my place.”
That’s right: Fonda said nothing because, despite what is likely a horrific story from her own friend, recounting a vile and treacherous man, Fonda wasn’t on Weinstein’s list of victims, so she felt no need to address the problem — or even, it seems, help her friend make her story public.
Fortunately, Fonda cleared her name later in the interview by saying she is actively “resisting” Donald Trump, so clearly she’s doing her part to oppose male hegemony, and need not be called on to take any responsibility for Hollywood’s pile of filth.
“Let’s not think this is some unique, horrific thing. This goes on all the time,” Fonda told Amanpour. “It’s this male entitlement — in Hollywood, and everywhere. In offices and businesses all over the world, in bars, and restaurants and stores, women are assaulted, abused, harassed and seen for just being sexual objects, there for a man’s desire, instead of as whole human beings.”
She claimed Donald Trump actually made it harder to come forward with allegations of sexual assault, and that she — Jane Fonda — has been doing “good” work, helping to bring sexual harassment and misogyny to the forefront, an effort that Trump himself stalled.
Trump, she claimed “counteracts a lot of the good that we’re doing, because a lot of men say, ‘Well, our president does it, and he got elected even after people discovered that he was an abuser, so I’m just going to go ahead and do what I want to do.'”
Weirdly, Weinstein seems to have been prescient on the subject of Trump’s nomination; he started harassing women sometime in the 1990s. It was only after Trump’s election, when the New York Times — by no means a Trump-loving publication — began digging into allegations of Weinstein’s behavior.