There's so much that goes on behind the scenes in Hollywood. And much of it the public will never know. But some things, fortunately, start to come out when enough victims get the courage to speak out.
Such is the case with Harvey Weinstein, the major film executive. In the last week, numerous women have come out publicly to expose how Weinstein behaved very inappropriately with them. Ashely Judd is one of the more famous names to accuse Weinstein of harassment.
Amongst the claims are that Weinstein exposed himself to a couple of victims and forced them to watch him masturbate, shares PEOPLE. TV reporter Lauren Sivan shared on the "Megan Kelly Today" show that Weinstein did that to her 10 years ago.
And on the TODAY show on Monday, Kathie Lee Gifford shared with her co-host Hoda Kotb that the same thing happened to her with a different Hollywood executive when she was new in the industry:
“I was like excited, you know? And I went, ‘Okay.’ I said, ‘I’ll come to your office.’ [He said], ‘Well, that’s under construction. I’m working from home right now, so would you mind coming to my house?’ I had no reason to think not. I didn’t know the man personally, I just knew of him.”
“I get to the house, and the exact same thing happened to me. Exact same thing,” she said, referring to Sivan's experience with Weinstein. “And I learned from that. Boy, I felt grateful I got out of there without being raped,” said Gifford.
“That’s what you feel like. ‘All right, it was just that. I can live through that.’ But you’re so demeaned, you feel so dirty. More than anything, you know what you feel? Stupid. I just thought, ‘Kathie, you idiot. Never go to somebody’s house.’ That can happen in somebody’s office, too,” she continued.
Gifford knows Weinstein personally, so all of the allegations coming out against him are shocking. “I never saw any of this. I’m not saying it didn’t happen. I’m just saying I know a different man, just like I did with Bill Cosby,” she said.
“So, it’s very upsetting to me on a personal level. This is a man I considered a friend. I feel for his family, and I feel for him,” she continued. “It’s also upsetting for me as a woman that this kind of behavior is real, and no one ever thinks it’s going to catch up with them.”
Weinstein has already been forced out of his film studio and has said that he is seeking professional help, though through his lawyer last week he made a statement denying many of the allegations. What do you think of the numerous instances of sexual harassment by powerful executives in Hollywood? Are you surprised? Share your thoughts in the comments! Thank you!
Meryl Streep came under fire last week, because she worked so closely with Weinstein and many assumed she knew about his behavior. But she made this strong statement in response.