As disturbing allegations about Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein throw the film industry into turmoil, leave it to sharp-tongued British actress Emma Thompson to say exactly what everyone is thinking.
The 58-year-old Oscar winner spoke eloquently of the “endemic” plaguing Hollywood in an interview with BBC Newsnight, in which she called the allegations levelled against Weinstein as “the tip of the iceberg”.
Police in New York and London have confirmed they are investigating historic sexual assault allegations against the disgraced producer after around 30 women spoke out about their inappropriate encounters with him.
Weinstein, 64, has denied any non-consensual sexual conduct with women.
Thompson said while she was not aware of what many are calling ‘Hollywood’s open secret’, she was not surprised
“I had only some business contact with him,” Thompson said of Weinstein, saying that whenever she was in a room with him he gave off “an appalling aura”.
“His bullying behaviour patterns also existed in the business world, so my main contact with him was shouting at him down the phone that I never wanted to work with him again, never ever.”
Thompson had some brutally honest words to described Weinstein, whose wife, Georgina Chapman, left him after the story broke.
“What I find extraordinary is that this man is at the top of a very particular iceberg,” Thompson said.
“I don’t think you can describe him as a sex addict – he’s a predator, that’s different.”
“He’s the top of a ladder of a system of harassment and belittling and bullying and interference and what my mother would have referred to in the olden days as ‘pestering’,” Thompson said.
Then Thompson succinctly summed up what she feels is the problem with Weinstein’s alleged behaviour and society in general.
“What we need to start talking about is the crisis in masculinity, extreme masculinity, and the fact it is not only ok but it is also represented by the most powerful man in the world at the moment,” Thompson said, alluding to United States president Donald Trump.
“It’s pretty filthy, right?”
Thompson is one of countless famous women, inclding Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Lea Seydoux and Cara Delevingne, who have shared personal accounts of Weinstein’s behaviour.
On Thursday, actress Kate Beckinsale revealed on Instagram she had “said no to Harvey” many times over the years and her career had “undoubtedly” suffered as a result.
Weinstein was last seen entering a rehab centre in Arizona to seek treatment for sex addiction.