Hillary Clinton condemns longtime Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein
HOLLYWOOD — Hillary Clinton condemned disgraced Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein on Tuesday, marking her first public comments on the matter since reports of his alleged predatory behavior broke five days ago.
“I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein,” Clinton said in a statement through her spokesman Nick Merrill. “The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.”
Weinstein is a longtime associate of the Clintons and a major Democratic Party donor who bundled funds for the party’s political campaigns, including supporting both of Clinton’s presidential bids.
Clinton’s statement makes no mention of Weinstein’s sizable donations to her own war chest.
On Tuesday, The New Yorker published a major story in which several women alleged sexual assault by Weinstein. Through his representative, Sallie Hofmeister, Weinstein denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex.”
The reports have put Democrats under pressure to disavow Weinstein and return or donate contributions from him to charity.
Representatives for the former secretary of state and former President Bill Clinton had previously not responded to requests for comment about Weinstein, whose ties to the Clintons go back years, from the Clinton presidency to the former first lady’s successful campaign for Senate.
Clinton spoke in California Monday night as part of her book tour and did not address the allegations, nor was she asked about them during the 90-minute event.
Many Democratic office-holders quickly repudiated Weinstein, with some going so far as to send donations given by Weinstein to charity.
Clinton’s former running mate, Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, said on CNN Tuesday morning that people should condemn Weinstein and said he anticipated Clinton would say something eventually.
Kaine noted Clinton has spoken out about sexual harassment often. During the campaign, Clinton spoke out about the issue and went after President Donald Trump over the allegations of sexual assault against him. Trump pushed back by touting similar allegations against her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Early in the campaign, the former secretary of state was asked about some of those accusations and her own assertions that victims who allege assault should be believed. In the context of allegations against her husband, Clinton said, “I would say that everyone should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence.”
Clinton’s condemnation Tuesday came after years of links between the Clintons, Weinstein and the Democratic Party.
In 2015, the Clintons rented a home next to Weinstein in the Hamptons, and Weinstein served as a connector between Hollywood stars and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
Weinstein raised about $1.5 million from 1990-2016, according to data from the campaign finance-tracking Center for Responsive Politics, and was involved in fundraisers for Clinton’s effort, some of which she headlined.
Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, longtime Hillary Clinton aides were confused by the former secretary of state’s silence on the issue, questioning — in private — why she had not weighed in at all.
Weinstein was fired from his company on Sunday, days after the New York Times report of alleged sexual harassment by the media mogul over a period of nearly three decades.
Designer Donna Karan has apologized for the remarks she made about women in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal,
“I made a statement that unfortunately is not representative of how I feel or what I believe.”
“I have spent my life championing women,” Karen said in a statement obtained by CNN. “My life has been dedicated to dressing and addressing the needs of women, empowering them and promoting equal rights.”
Karan was interviewed on the red carpet Sunday at the Cinemoi Fashion Film Awards in Hollywood and made comments to the Daily Mail which suggested that women may be “asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality.”
“I think we have to look at ourselves,” Karan said. “Obviously, the treatment of women all over the world is something that has always had to be identified. Certainly in the country of Haiti where I work, in Africa, in the developing world, it’s been a hard time for women.”
The legendary women’s fashion designer went on to question women’s role in sexual harassment incidents.
“To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women,” Karan said to the Daily Mail. “What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?”
Karan also pointed to Weinstein’s achievements and said she knew his wife Georgina Chapman. The designer described the couple as “wonderful people.”
Her defense of Weinstein was not well-received and actress Rose McGowan, who was named in the New York Times story but declined comment, called Karan “scum” in a tweet on Monday.
“Donna Karan you are a DEPLORABLE Aiding and abetting is a moral crime,” McGowan tweeted. “You are scum in a fancy dress.”
Others also tweeted their anger, with some calling for a boycott of her DKNY brand. A few pointed to some of Karan’s own runway creations to slam her for her comments. “Hey ladies, be careful if you’re wearing Donna Karan’s designs. You’re just asking for it!,” one tweet read.
Karan’s statements come at a time when many others in Hollywood including Meryl Streep and Dame Judi Dench have condemned Weinstein’s alleged behavior. George Clooney spoke with The Daily Beast Monday and called the accusations against the man he has known for 20 years “indefensible.”
“That’s the only word you can start with,” Clooney said.
Karan said in her statement that her comments “were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel about the current situation concerning Harvey Weinstein.”
“I believe that sexual harassment is NOT acceptable and this is an issue that MUST be addressed once and for all regardless of the individual,” Karan said. “I am truly sorry to anyone that I offended and everyone that has ever been a victim.”
CNN has reached out to a rep for Karan to ask about her statement and how her comments were taken out of context.