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Outrage, Accusations Grow Over Weinstein Abuse Allegations

  • VOA News

File photo taken May 23, 2017, shows U.S. film producer Harvey Weinstein as he arrives to attend the 70th Cannes Film Festival in France.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Oscars, will hold a special meeting Saturday to discuss sexual abuse allegations against powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

“The Academy finds the conduct described in the allegations against Harvey Weinstein to be repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the Academy and the creative community it represents,” the Academy said in a statement released Wednesday.

The statement follows allegations that Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted a number of women over the past three decades.

Earlier, the British film academy said Weinstein's membership in the organization had been “suspended, effective immediately.”

WATCH: Observers Looking to Hollywood to Take Lead on Sexual Harassment

Weinstein was fired by the board of his production company, the Weinstein Co., on Monday following an explosive New York Times report, in which 13 women accused him of sexually harassing or assaulting them.

On Wednesday, French actress Lea Seydoux and Model and actress Cara Delevingne joined the fast-growing list of Weinstein accusers.

Meanwhile, celebrity news website TMZ reports that Weinstein's daughter called 911 Wednesday morning to say her dad was suicidal. When officers responded to the call, Weinstein's daughter Remy, told them no suicidal statements were made, and it was purely a family dispute. TMZ also reports Weinstein planned to leave the country for a rehab center sometime later in the day.

On Tuesday, another report from the New Yorker emerged, in which three women accused Weinstein of raping them. Actresses Asia Argento and Lucia Evans went on the record in the New Yorker story to accuse Weinstein of raping them, while another woman chose to remain anonymous.

FILE - This combination photo shows actresses Angelina Jolie at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10, 2017, left, and Gwyneth Paltrow in Los Angeles on Oct. 29, 2015.
FILE - This combination photo shows actresses Angelina Jolie at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10, 2017, left, and Gwyneth Paltrow in Los Angeles on Oct. 29, 2015.

Among the accusers are some of Hollywood's A-listers, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosanna Arquette.

The New Yorker story says 16 current and former employees at the Weinstein Co. and Miramax either witnessed or knew of Weinstein's sexual abuse. According to the report, all of those employees said Weinstein's sexual deviancy was widely known within the two companies.

The 65-year-old Weinstein oversaw production of many popular films over the last 30 years, including Shakespeare in Love, Pulp Fiction, Sex, Lies and Videotape, The English Patient, Good Will Hunting and Lee Daniels' The Butler. He ran Miramax and later the Weinstein movie companies with his brother Bob Weinstein.

WATCH REPORT: Weinstein faces more sexual abuse allegations

His fall came quickly after the Times reported on his unwanted sexual advances on women stretching over nearly three decades. The story said Weinstein, who is known in Hollywood for his demanding control of film productions and angry outbursts, had paid confidential settlements to his female accusers.

In a statement last week, Weinstein said that "the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it." Later, he claimed some of the newspaper's claims were false and said he would sue for defamation.

Weinstein took a leave of absence from his company Friday, but on Sunday the board said that "in light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days," it had told him that "his employment is terminated, effective immediately."

High-profile reactions

Weinstein has been big donor in recent years to Democratic politicians in the U.S., including twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. But with the sexual harassment revelations, Democratic political figures scrambled over the weekend to distance themselves from the disgraced filmmaker.

FILE - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks in Baltimore, June 5, 2017.
FILE - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks in Baltimore, June 5, 2017.

Several Democrat politicians, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Elizabeth Warren have promised to donate money they received from Weinstein to charities supporting women.

Clinton broke her silence on the matter Tuesday, saying she was "shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein."

"The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated," she added in a statement.

"Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status," former President Barack Obama said in a statement Tuesday. "We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories."

President Donald Trump said over the weekend he's "known Harvey Weinstein for a long time" and he is "not at all surprised" by the sexual abuse allegations.

FILE - U.S. actor Matt Damon gestures as he speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 17, 2017.
FILE - U.S. actor Matt Damon gestures as he speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 17, 2017.

Matt Damon's first film, Good Will Hunting, won him his first Oscar after Weinstein took a chance on a script from Damon and fellow unknown, Ben Affleck.

"We know this stuff goes on in the world. I did five or six movies with Harvey. I never saw this," Damon told CNN's Deadline in an interview published Tuesday.

He added later in the interview: "This morning, I just feel absolutely sick to my stomach."

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