Harvey Weinstein was a familiar name to Sandra Bullock.
As the Oscar winner recalled in an interview with The Sunday Times, she had "heard" about the disgraced producer though she had never worked with him. Long before the dozens of sexual misconduct allegations were brought against him publicly last fall, Bullock described hearing stories accusing women of sleeping with him for roles.
"I was afraid of him," she told the newspaper. "I wasn't asked to be in that world. I learnt early on to shut things off so those things didn't come my way. I only heard what Harvey wanted people to hear, and that made me so f--king angry. People would say, 'Well, you know how she got that role? She f--ked Harvey.' I would say, 'Shut the f--k up. You don't know that.' Then, later, to find out that woman was brutally attacked...They didn't sleep with Harvey. Harvey wanted you to think that."
Weinstein has long denied "any allegations of non-consensual sex." In response to Bullock's comments, Weinstein's attorney Ben Brafman said in a statement, "Accordingly, with all due respect to Ms Bullock, it is not right for her to take unproven 'allegations' and republicize them in an effort to deprive Mr. Weinstein of due process and possibly a fair trial that every citizen in this great country is entitled to."
Bullock vaguely recalled her own "situation" on a film early in her career with a person of authority. While she did not name the film or person, Bullock did say she tried to deflect with humor before asking the person to fire her.
"It was a lesson," she said. "After that, I tended to remove anything that could be misconstrued as sexual. I locked it down."
Fast forward to when women first came forward with claims against Weinstein at the end of last year, Bullock said she was "really, really scared" for them and called them "brave."
"I was like, 'Oh my God, this is amazing, but f--k, f--k, f--k, what if it doesn't work?" she recalled thinking to the newspaper. "Please God, let it not swing the other way.' We're in such uncharted territory right now. I've seen a lot of fear and a lot of men of a certain generation not understanding."
As we now know, the public's initial reaction was a majority receptive as the #MeToo movement gained new traction and the Time's Up initiative launched in response.
Meanwhile, Bullock was working on her upcoming thriller, Bird Box, at the time and noticed a difference behind the scenes. "I saw a tremendous amount of fear from men on set," she described. "In the end, I said, 'I know you're scared, but I feel safe, so you can make some jokes now. But if you cross the line, I will f--k you up."