Barack Obama has broken his silence on the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The former president, whose daughter Malia interned for the major Democratic Party donor and film producer’s company earlier this year, released a statement on Tuesday, October 10, condemning the movie mogul.
"Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein," the statement said. "Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.”
Harvey (pictured with Barack in 2006) is a longtime Democratic Party donor Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic
The statement 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 behavior less prevalent in the future."
The Obamas had longstanding ties to the movie producer. Back in 2013, then-First Lady Michelle Obama praised Harvey calling him a “wonderful human being” and “a good friend.” The movie executive also attended Barack’s star-studded 55th birthday party at the White House in 2016.
Former First Daughter Malia Obama interned for the film mogul's company in 2017 Photo: Alessio Botticelli/GC Images
Michelle Obama and Barack’s 19-year-old daughter Malia previously interned for Harvey’s company in New York. Back in February, Harvey’s wife Georgina Chapman — who announced on Tuesday that she was leaving the 65-year-old amidst his scandal — opened up to HOLA!’s sister brand HELLO! about Malia’s internship. “She’s a very smart girl,” the Marchesa designer said. “I think she’s working incredibly hard.” According to TMZ, the former first daughter was "ensconced in the production/development department" and was tasked with "reading through scripts and deciding which ones move on to Weinstein brass."
Harvey’s sexual harassment allegations came to light last week after The New York Times published an exposé on October 5. Since then a number of Hollywood’s leading ladies including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have come forward to describe their alleged experiences with the film producer. In an initial statement to The New York Times, Harvey stated: “I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then. I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office - or out of it. To anyone.”“I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go,” he said, adding that he was planning on working with therapists and would be taking a leave of absence from his company to “deal with this issue head on.” On Sunday, Harvey was fired from The Weinstein Company.