George Clooney Reacts to Harvey Weinstein Allegations: "It's Indefensible"

Actor breaks his silence on all the accusations surrounding the Hollywood producer

By Mike Vulpo Oct 10, 2017 4:10 AMTags

George Clooney is the latest A-list star speaking out about Harvey Weinstein.

Just a few days after the New York Times first went public with their investigation that featured several women coming forward and claiming sexual misconduct against the Hollywood producer, George is sharing his perspective.

 "It's indefensible. That's the only word you can start with," he said in an interview with The Daily Beast. "Harvey's admitted to it, and it's indefensible. I've known Harvey for twenty years."

George continued, "He gave me my first big break as an actor in films on From Dusk till Dawn, he gave me my first big break as a director with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. We've had dinners, we've been on location together, we've had arguments. But I can tell you that I've never seen any of this behavior—ever."

According to the Times, Harvey reached at least eight settlements with various women over a span of nearly 30 years. Once the article was published, however, the producer released his own statement.

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Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

"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," he explained. "I have since learned it's not an excuse, in the office—or out of it. To anyone. I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with the people I work with have changed."

Harvey continued, "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. That is my commitment."

His lawyer also called the allegations in the Times piece "false and defamatory" and said a lawsuit against the newspaper is being prepped.

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Doug Peters/PA Images/

During his candid interview with Marlow Stern, George also admitted to hearing rumors about the producer for several years. He would ultimately not take the rumors too seriously.

"I've heard rumors, and the rumors in general started back in the nineties, and they were that certain actresses had slept with Harvey to get a role. It seemed like a way to smear the actresses and demean them by saying that they didn't get the jobs based on their talent, so I took those rumors with a grain of salt," George explained. "But the other part of this, the part we're hearing now about eight women being paid off, I didn't hear anything about that and I don't know anyone that did. That's a whole other level and there's no way you can reconcile that. There's nothing to say except that it's indefensible."

As for some fans who think some Hollywood stars must have known about the alleged behavior, George says it's not the case for him.

"A lot of people are doing the 'you had to know' thing right now, and yes, if you're asking if I knew that someone who was very powerful had a tendency to hit on young, beautiful women, sure," George explained. "But I had no idea that it had gone to the level of having to pay off eight women for their silence, and that these women were threatened and victimized. I've been talking with a lot of people about this and I don't know many people who knew of that." 

Ultimately, George isn't the first Hollywood star to speak out against Harvey. On social media alone, stars including Julianne Moore, Jessica Chastain, Olivia Wilde and Mark Ruffalo have been critical of the Hollywood veteran. 

Meryl Streep—who once jokingly referred to Harvey as "God" at the 2012 Golden Globes—also publicly distanced herself from the producer.

"The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported. The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes," Meryl said in a statement to E! News. "One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew."