Barack Obama has said that he and his wife Michelle Obama are "disgusted" by the recent claims of sexual assault and harassment surrounding Harvey Weinstein. In a statement, the former president said: "Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.”
He continued: "We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. And we all need to build a culture – including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect – so we can make such behaviour less prevalent in the future." As reported earlier this year, Barack and Michelle’s eldest daughter, 19-year-old Malia, interned at the New York office of The Weinstein Company in January.
The statement follows condemnation of the film producer by fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton. She too said she was "shocked and appalled by the revelations", adding: "The behaviour described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behaviour."
President Obama's statement came as Harvey's wife of ten years, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, confirmed she is leaving him. In a statement to People, Georgina said her "heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions". She added: "I have chosen to leave my husband, caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time."
Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow are the latest actresses to allege they were victims of sexual harassment by Hollywood producer. In an email to the New York Times, Angelina said: "I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did. This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable."