Five days after the New York Times report emerged about the decades of sexual harassment allegations levied against Harvey Weinstein, Barack and Michelle Obama released a statement condemning the behavior of the Hollywood mogul and major Democratic donor who had also employed their daughter.
“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,” the former President and First Lady said Tuesday. “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 behavior less prevalent in the future.”
The Times reported last Thursday that Weinstein had amassed three decades of sexual harassment allegations, and had reached at least eight settlements with women. More allegations followed on Tuesday: The New Yorker reported that three women claimed Weinstein had raped them, and the Times reported more allegations of harassment, which included testimony from high-profile figures like Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.
A spokesperson denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex” in response to both reports.
Weinstein, one of the Democratic party’s most high-profile and prominent donors and fundraisers, contributed more than $70,000 to Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, according to FEC documents. He also employed the Obamas’ eldest daughter Malia last year when she took a gap year before entering Harvard University this fall.
Weinstein was terminated from his company following the allegations.