Glenn Close, other celebrities say ‘casting couch is still a reality’

Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic

As more women come forward to allege they were subjected to unwanted sexual advances from movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, female stars who’ve worked with Weinstein over the years are now addressing the scandal that saw Weinstein fired from his own company.

One of these stars is Glenn Close, who released a statement to the New York Times, admitting she was “deeply upset, acknowledging to myself that, yes, for many years, I have been aware of the vague rumours that Harvey Weinstein had a pattern of behaving inappropriately around women. Harvey has always been decent to me, but now that the rumours are being substantiated, I feel angry and darkly sad.”

READ MORE: Meryl Streep and Judi Dench speak out about Harvey Weinstein allegations

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Close added that she’s “angry, not just at him and the conspiracy of silence around his actions, but also that the ‘casting couch’ phenomenon, so to speak, is still a reality in our business and in the world: the horrible pressure, the awful expectation put on a woman when a powerful, egotistical, entitled bully expects sexual favours in exchange for a job.”

Applauding “the monumental courage of the women who have spoken up,” Close is hopeful that the revelations surrounding Weinstein will lead to changes in Hollywood, “both institutional and personal,” adding: “No one should be coerced into trading personal dignity for professional success. I feel the time is long and tragically overdue for all of us in the industry, women and men, to unite — calmly and dispassionately — and create a new culture of respect, equality and empowerment, where bullies and their enablers are no longer allowed to prosper.”

READ MORE: Harvey Weinstein accused of pleasuring himself in front of female TV reporter

Kate Winslet — who worked with Weinstein in The Reader (for which she won an Oscar) is also speaking out. “The way Harvey Weinstein has treated these vulnerable, talented young women is NOT the way women should ever EVER deem to be acceptable or commonplace in ANY workplace,” said Winslet in a statement to Variety.

“I have no doubt that for these women this time has been, and continues to be extremely traumatic,” added Winslet. “I fully embrace and salute their profound courage, and I unequivocally support this level of very necessary exposure of someone who has behaved in reprehensible and disgusting ways. His behaviour is without question disgraceful and appalling and very, very wrong. I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made up rumours, maybe we have all been naïve. And it makes me so angry. There must be ‘no tolerance’ of this degrading, vile treatment of women in ANY workplace anywhere in the world.”

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READ MORE: Harvey Weinstein booted from The Weinstein Company

Jessica Chastain took to Twitter to reveal that she “was warned from the beginning. The stories were everywhere.”

Chastain, however, quickly found herself on the defensive, responding to tweets asking why, if she knew “from the beginning,” why was she only coming forward now.

Also speaking out is Lena Dunham, who has penned New York Times op-ed calling for men to end their “deafening silence” and denounce Weinstein.

“The reason I am zeroing in on the men is that they have the least to lose and the most power to shift the narrative, and are probably not dealing with the same level of collective and personal trauma around these allegations,” Dunham explained. “But here we are, days later, waiting for Mr. Weinstein’s most powerful collaborators to say something. Anything. It wouldn’t be just a gift to the women he has victimized, but a message to the women who are watching our industry closely. They need a signal that we do not approve of the abuse of power and hatred of women that is the driving force behind this kind of behaviour.”

One of those men is director Kevin Smith, who worked with Weinstein on his early films, admitting he feels “ashamed.”

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