Jessica Chastain: ‘I was warned from the beginning’ about Harvey Weinstein

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Throughout the day and evening on Monday, a new round of reactions and statements about Harvey Weinstein came out, mostly from women. As The Guardian pointed out, a murderer’s row of powerful men whose careers were helped, nurtured and guided by Harvey Weinstein have all refused to issue statements or make any on-the-record comments when approached by journalists. Those men include: Leo DiCaprio, Daniel Day Lewis, Colin Firth, Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Russell Crowe, Ewan McGregor, Martin Scorsese and a hell of a lot more – go here to see The Guardian’s report. It’s more than possible that a handful of those men will be issuing their own statements and simply don’t want to just give an interview where they could, like, be asked follow-up questions.

So, as I said, the women who worked with Weinstein are talking. Jessica Chastain has been tweeting about this a lot, and this is something:

But over the course of several tweets, she’s making it clear that she’s not slamming the women who have said and are saying that they didn’t “know” about Weinstein’s abuses. Chastain is saying that even statements by Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet about how they didn’t know help further the conversation. Which is how I feel too. Here’s Winslet’s statement:

“The fact that these women are starting to speak out about the gross misconduct of one of our most important and well regarded film producers, is incredibly brave and has been deeply shocking to hear. 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.

“I have no doubt that for these women this time has been, and continues to be extremely traumatic. 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.”

[From Variety]

“I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made up rumours, maybe we have all been naïve.” I’m not a big Winslet fan, but this rings true to me. Women have heard the rumors for years, women have been whispering about this for years. Imagine you’re already a powerful and acclaimed actress and Weinstein is nice to you, and he wants to produce a film for you which he says will get you an Oscar. Your professional experience with him is completely great, and it becomes more and more difficult to give any credence to those whispers, those rumors that you hear.

PS… Please do not threadjack. There are so many stories about and around this Weinstein mess, and I will get to them. Please have faith in the gossip system and don’t derail comment threads with something which will discussed in a separate post. As always, you can email me at kaiser@celebitchy.com or tweet at me @KaiseratCB.

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80 Responses to “Jessica Chastain: ‘I was warned from the beginning’ about Harvey Weinstein”

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  1. Lee says:

    Bravo Jessica! People who are not even in the business knew it, so go figure the Hollywood ones!

  2. Eiré says:

    It’s worth noting that Chastain also mentioned that she had spoken out about working with Weinstein on a film–but the director wanted to, so they did. I’m not sure which film that would have been, but seeing how she’s handled this sh*tstorm, I can only assume she was upfront about why she didn’t want to work with him. And the director didn’t listen. That’s on that director. And they (he, presumably) should be ashamed.

    Anyone know who is was/which film?

  3. Nicole says:

    Winslet supports other predators so her statement is crap.
    But Chastain is right she got a warning. To pretend that the stories weren’t out there to protect your fave is naive. And I would hope that people are smarter than that. But maybe they aren’t.
    My thing is years and years of the same stories would flag every internal alarm I possess.

  4. Cannibell says:

    This makes sense. I have a friend who was assigned a project where she’d be working closely with Bill Cosby, and was told to never take a meeting alone with him. (She listened.)

  5. slowsnow says:

    My cynical self thinks that this story only came out because it was time to take HW down and not because someone (other than the press and the victims and those close to them) wants to protect women.
    That said, now is a good time to change things. I stand by Chastain’s first quoted tweet. Everyone knew rumours and denying it makes it worse. See Close’s statement which is the closest one gets to being candid and open and honest.
    And just a remark: funny how, once again, women are on the front line, apologising, honouring the victims, accusing, and the prominent men who worked with him are working overtime to produce the right statement but refuse to be interviewed by the Guardian. Interesting no?

  6. Fa says:

    Those women were already powerful in Hollywood, he did not try what he did an atcoming actress he is a predator and go after new actresses and less know women in Hollywood.

    • K says:

      Wasn’t Ashley Judd fairly successful when he did what he did to her, though? Or do I have that wrong?

    • KC says:

      ^This! Thank you FA! I keep being a little uneasy about accusing every famous or “high power” woman whoever worked with him or those who worked with him and never said anything about playing into this system.

      First-I doubt he treated all these women the same or displayed his bad behavior at all times. It is most likely he preyed on up and comers, no namers and several starlets who played the game. The former two may not have found a loud voice or were silenced and the latter bought into the system.
      Second- because of human nature I believe some women he behaved around who were protected by their name, status, relations, looks, lack of appeal to Weinstein, who had no one close to them mistreated and thus never heard anything substantially credible. I’m sorry but whispers and rumors are just that and if you haven’t personally experienced these things and have been treated well by the person the rumors are about it’s rather difficult to rail against them. Hearing rumors and choosing to protect yourself (not taking meetings alone) also doesn’t validate them. I just can’t take fault with all the famous women who didn’t speak up or are saying they didn’t know because….that’s life. People treat people differently and sometimes unless you’re receiving that negative treatment you have nothing in your history with them to KNOW whether it’s just a rumor. I imagine I’d find it careless and unwise even to have heard whispers and rally against him when all you’ve heard are rumors and not even first-hand. How foolish would you look to someone who hasn’t treated you thusly and to what end would that foolishness be?
      Lastly- I’m saddened that the perverted actions of this deplorable man have caused a side conversation where instead of us being rightly, justly enraged at a predator we’re actually placing judgement on people we’re not even sure knew (a little unfair) and OTHER WOMEN (who themselves may have been victimized, traumatized or silenced or as they claim had no actual hard knowledge or verification of anything more than rumors). Something seems off about the latter. I’d rather give them the benefit of the doubt (hard evidence against them withstanding) and join arms in this fight for the dignity of women with those who speak out even if they say it wasn’t their experience or they were unaware of the veracity of these rumors. I’m not for bickering with and putting down women for the bad behavior of men they don’t and can’t control.

    • Bridget says:

      Hey very clearly picked his victims. What’s the difference between Jessica Chastain and Kate Winslet? About 20 years of fame. He looked for women that were up and coming, women who needed him. Not every young woman was subject to his advances, if she had leverage of her own.

  7. Annabelle Bronstein says:

    THANK YOU for naming the men who have benefited from Harvey’s abuses and not putting all of the blame on women for staying silent. The men heard the rumors too.

    I can understand how Kate Winslet thought it could be just rumors, and I seriously doubt many of the more powerful women experienced it personally. As I said yesterday, they all knew about his temper and verbal abuse, I’m not sure everyone knew about the sexual abuses. He had good cover: a beautiful famous wife, said the “right things” about liberal causes in public, plus a powerful team cleaning up his messes a la Tiger Woods. It’s so much about the power: when you’re famous they let you do it.

  8. BaronSamedi says:

    I feel like there is a difference between ‘knowing’ and knowing for a fact with evidence and proof that will hold up in a court of law and more importantly in the court of the public. So what if they had all heard the rumours? Are we putting the onus of investigating these stories on the actresses now? Where were the HR departments of the companies involved?

    • Darla says:

      Right? I am sure most women when they heard the rumors, warned other women, that’s how Chastain was warned, and so and so and so on. Isn’t that what we all do? But our culture seems to be demanding all women in Holly wood explain why they didn’t stop him. This is bizarre.

      • Littlebowbee says:

        ^^^Yes thank you. All this OUTRAGE aimed at these actresses. This situation isn’t back and white. There is allot of grey here. It’s all their fault now. We can’t all be in their shoes. Who knows what they knew and how it’s affected them.

    • Ela says:

      Exactly! They heard rumors but unless it happened to them, they wouldn’t have had proof. And those are pretty serious allegations to make, no matter how loud the whispers were. I honestly fail to see what anyone not directly involved including the Obamas could do without any proof.

    • emma33 says:

      Yes! And realistically, what could someone like Jessica or Kate have done? Put out a statement on Twitter saying that there were rumors that Harvey was a sexual predator, but that they hadn’t personally experienced it?! There is no way they could have done that.

      I would put a tonne more blame at the feet of his brother and the other people running his company (you know, the people with actual power in this story!). They absolutely knew what was happening (because of all the settlements he did), and they did nothing! They are the people that allowed this to continue.

      • KC says:

        Agreed with all of you and so glad to hear more people saying this. See my response up thread.

        We need to be putting the blame where we KNOW it belongs and not tearing down other women who themselves may have been victimized, traumatized, silenced or possibly now feeling like they were made a fool of because he played them and hid his true nature. (I say this because of a somewhat similar scenario in college where I -a black, foreign woman) was unaware of the behavior of several in my circle and when I questioned those close to me who knew all along they pointed out that those people knew I wasn’t about that, saw me as a Debbie Downer to that life, likely thought I’d report them, didn’t care to have me join in, intentionally didn’t act that way around me and made sure never to include me in any events or outings where they felt free to behave in these ways. I had NO clue! NONE! While I’m glad my reputation sheltered and protected me, I felt like a FOOL for not knowing until one young lady left college because she was pregnant!

      • holly hobby says:

        The New Yorker article came out and I read some of the Weinstein staff signed iron clad ndas so that prevented them from disclosing it. That plus Harvey had a lot of power in the past and people were afraid he’d ruin them financially and personally. Yeah rock and hard place. Some should have just outright quit.

    • V4Real says:

      I agree with you guys. I don’t understand why women here are assuming that every woman in Hollywood was aware of his behavior. If you’re an established actress like Kate and Harvey was nothing but professional around her, never demonstrated any bad behavior around her then how would she know as a fact that he was a predatory scumbag. Yes she might have heard the rumors but it’s Hollywood. How many rumors have gone around about her that wasn’t true. Perhaps that’s why some women gave him the benefit of the doubt. He did nothing or said anything inappropriate to them or around them. Why are people so quick to condemn every actress by saying they had to know or they heard the rumors. Rumors are rumors until proven to be true.

    • Wonderbunny says:

      Agreed. I’m a bit uncomfortable with this trend that people are blamed for something someone else has done. How much responsibility are we supposed to have over other people’s actions? If kids had been involved or someone’s life had been in danger, then I do think that it’s our responsibility to intervene. In this case though, it’s not that simple. What else can you do other than warn other women that maybe they should be a bit careful when dealing with him as you’d heard some stories? Also, if everyone had supposedly heard the stories, then surely the victims had heard them as well?

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I agree. I am REALLY troubled by this trend of turning around and blaming the women for Harvey’s actions.

    • I Choose Me says:

      Exactly! This bears repeating.

  9. Talie says:

    It’s weird because Ashley Judd was quite established when he pulled his stunt with her…yeah, she was low on the totem pole, but she was also on the verge of huge success.

  10. L says:

    Full list of Weinstein men (actors, directors, etc.) from that Guardian article Kaiser mentioned:

    “The Guardian reached out to representatives of actors who have starred in Weinstein films, including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Colin Firth, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Russell Crowe, George Clooney and Ewan McGregor, along with the directors Tarantino, Russell, Ryan Coogler, Tom Hooper, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michael Moore, Rob Marshall, Robert Pulcini, Garth Davis, Doug McGrath, John Madden, Simon Curtis, Kevin Williamson, Martin Scorsese, John Hillcoat and John Wells.

    None so far have commented, despite the fact that many have previously been vocal about gender equality in the industry and other social justice causes. Many have directly criticized Donald Trump amid similar accusations of sexual misconduct.”

    [Source: copy/paste The Guardian article linked above - I hope this doesn't count as a threadjack Kaiser, as it's from the article you linked]

    I suppose we’ll see today how many come through today with statements.

  11. Mata says:

    That’s what I find so curious about this whole thing. This has pretty much been an open secret. The stories (and there have been tons) have gone on for years. It’s weird that it’s finally all coming down on him now with people, who had been protecting and supporting him all this time, feigning shock and outrage. (I mean his company, not the actresses.)

    Ewan Mcgregor supported Polanski, so I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for his statement.

    • slowsnow says:

      See my comment above. I am pretty sure they felt it was time to get rid of him because a) the sexual assaults were getting out of hand b) he is not that good anymore or some inside reason.
      It’s certainly not to defend women. Or the press finally won. Which would surprise me.

  12. Mia4s says:

    I think that bizarrely the rumour and gossip and tabloid culture of Hollywood helped enable this monster. We know that not everything we hear out of Hollywood is true…and so do they. How many babies would Jennifer Aniston have by now if reporting out of Hollywood was honest and true? How many rivals have spread rumours about each other? How many of them have had untrue rumours spread about themselves that are passed around the Internet as fact? Hollywood is conditioned not to believe. This is a very rude awakening.

  13. Thief Keef says:

    Kate is so consistently full of s***.

  14. Lily says:

    Kate has worked with Polanski & Allen. Please. I’m surprised she didn’t try to vaguely defend this rapist given that she has no problem working with known pedophiles.

  15. manta says:

    Scorsese’s career was nurtured or guided by Weinstein? I understand the need to call out men on this, but 2 films (Gangs of New York, The Aviator ) produced by Miramax don’t exactly make Weinstein the mentor of Scorsese.
    He was a little bit known before 2001, you know, small things like Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Mean Streets etc…
    I can see the point with the other names and but considering Day-Lewis won 2 of his Oscars in flick heavily supported by Weinstein, I’d be surprised if he uttered one word now.

  16. D says:

    I don’t think that it’s a case of being naive, more like choosing not to see…”Living is easy with eyes closed” .

  17. LA Native says:

    I grew up in a quiet beach community 20 miles from Hollywood. I remember when I was about 21 or so, and working in a local coffee shop as a waitress. A nice man I was waiting on asked me if I ever thought about being in movies. I nervously laughed and said no, as I grew up there and wasnt impressed with Hollywood. He was very polite. Finally before he left he wrote down his number and said if I changed his mind to call him, he was working on a film starring Karen Black (yes, I am showing my age, I am 58 now). I thought about it for a couple weeks, told my family and thought I would never go without some sort of escort/protection as even then rumors of casting couches were well known. My brother who was a 6’6″ police officer in a suburb of LA was enlisted to go with me but I never could go through with it. Karen Black was pretty big right about then and did have a movie come out a couple years later.
    My point is, even back then everyone knew what really happened in Hollywood. Hardly anyone I grew up with had any desire to go into acting.

  18. Lizzy says:

    Hate to nitpick, but it seems like a lot of these statements include something about how this sort of thing happens everywhere. While there is certainly sexual harassment of many sorts everywhere, Hollywood is one of the places where it is seemingly much more prevalent and condoned. This is not the pervy guy who hits on you in the breakroom, or the manager who stares at your boobs when he talks to you, this is on a scale of deviancy, collusion, and duration that is outrageous. All sexual harassment is bad – and illegal – but please spare us your attempts to minimize what Weinstein did.

  19. Sisi says:

    I know that people don’t like Kate Winslet, but I appreciate her statement regarding Weinstein.
    It’s very strongly supportive and engouraging towards the victims, and very clearly labels the Harvey as vile and wrong, and it’s very little “me-me-me”. There are no neutral words in it, it’s very succint.
    As far as statements go, it’s pretty decent, and I hope to read many many more with that tone in the upcoming days, from many people in the industry.

    • FLORC says:

      SISI
      I’m generally indifferent towards KW.
      I read the articles. Read her statements…
      IMO She can’t be this naive… can she? To be in that business. To undoubtedly hear the rumors floating. Or is she protected from it seeing only the best sides because of status? If yes to living in a bubble… bubble from harassment. Bubble from unequal gender pay… and whatever else she’s made odd comments on… she’s still ignoring major issues because it’s not something that hurts her. And for that… I judge tf out of her. Mostly for being in a position to have her voice carry. Mostly for her apathy. Mostly for her also outright defending those who have less than dead to rights evidence like woody Allen.

  20. Barca4ever says:

    Isn’t it possible that there are many actresses who were harassed and who fear speaking up because they succumbed to the abuse of power because they feared career reprisal? One would hardly admit that the sparkling career is partially the result of influence bought and paid for. It makes me sick and not blaming any woman if they did but perhaps this is why there are so many “I’m sorry for those women but it didn’t happen to me.” This should probably be under the j- law thread.

  21. QueenB says:

    While her statement is very direct she never had aproblem with Polanski and allen. So no thanks.

  22. Tiny Martian says:

    The thing about this whole situation, is that while Harvey may be unique in his power, it is naive to suggest that he is unique in his methods. The “casting couch” has been around since the birth of Hollywood: there are countless casting couches! Women who work there know about it, it’s part of the culture, but have been powerless against it for decades. They have learned out of necessity how to navigate it, either through compliance or clever deflection, as a survival tactic. I have no judgement towards any woman who knew about Harvey’s ways and hasn’t come forward. Those who have spoken are very brave, and are paving the way for the empowerment of women in the film industry and should be celebrated.

    • slowsnow says:

      Quite true. There is a whole culture of abuse and HW is the tip of the iceberg. We just need to take this opportunity to change the rules.

    • Div says:

      Preach. Hollywood has a serious problem with systematic misogyny and racism. I’ve long said the “casting couch” insults were gross because the casting couch itself is a symbol of men abusing an extreme power imbalance. I blame the powerful male executives from Harvey’s company along with the powerful male directors who knew rather than the women.

  23. Lindy says:

    Agree with others–thank you for calling out the powerful men who have yet to say anything. It’s depressing.

  24. Greenie says:

    Jessica has been increasingly impressive to me over the course of this scandal. Even though she’s not quite untouchable yet and she does have something to lose, she has still consistently put herself out there on behalf of other actresses like herself.

  25. Venus says:

    When I was in college, I had an internship at a respected local institution. One of the interns was from out of state and lived with the director and his family for the summer. The young woman who was in charge of us said to her, “If he tries anything on you, tell me. Because he did last year with me.” It was an open secret among us non-powerful young women that the director was a creep, but not outside of our circle. He retired from the position recently after about 30 years with no whiff of scandal. So, yeah, I can see how Jessica Chastain would be warned about Weinstein while other people — even women — didn’t know.

  26. Laly says:

    Brie Larson was the only one to talks before he was fired!

  27. cathy says:

    I don’t think it’s unbelievable that he didn’t “hit” on all of the women he ever came in contact with. Just like pedophiles, these sex abusers “choose” their victims based on how they perceive the victim will react. Perhaps he knew someone like Kate and Jennifer were too “powerful” or already successful enough that they would rebuke him immediately and could also hurt him. They choose their victims based on how successful they think they will be IMO.

  28. PeaceOut says:

    WHAT ABOUT GOOP???? He got her that oscar for Shakespeare in love

  29. Barbs441 says:

    I have been hearing about Harvey Weinstein for YEARS! I used to live in LA, and in the circles I was in it was known fact that he did this to women. I’m surprised it took this long to come out

  30. Caitiecait says:

    So we are cool with Chastain saying she knew and said nothing, but we don’t believe that Jlaw knew nothing or as some commenters seem to believe was complicit. You guys sure like to pick and choose.

  31. Bridget says:

    To put it succinctly, they didn’t care when they thought women were just trading sex for roles and favors, because that was ‘consensual’ sexual harassment.

  32. PotatoHash says:

    I like how Jessica called out Matt Damon and Russell Crowe on twitter too. She’s a straight talker and admits it when she’s wrong.

  33. Helen Smith says:

    I think NDA’s need to be null and void when illegal behavior is involved. It would put a lot of the swamp creatures on notice that they can’t bully their employees into silence. I think Congress and state legislatures should take it up. I won’t hold my breath that they will because they may have NDA’s for their staff but they should.

  34. justine says:

    Ridiculous, Kate condemns Weinstein, but defends Polanski and Allen like it’s no big deal