By Chris Delmas/AFP/.
Jane Fonda is adding her name to the list of movie stars coming forward about Harvey Weinstein. In the last few days, actresses like Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie, and Gwyneth Paltrow have spoken on the record about times Weinstein allegedly sexually harassed them. The disgraced producer, who has been fired from his company and roundly condemned by Hollywood’s upper echelon, has now been accused by more than 30 women of sexual misconduct. Ever since the reports began unfolding, questions have been asked about who, exactly, was aware of Weinstein’s allegedly lecherous behavior, and when. In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Fonda revealed that she found out about one of Weinstein’s alleged misdeeds about a year ago.
“I’m ashamed that I didn’t say anything right then,” the Oscar winner said.
“Why didn’t you? You’re so bold,” Amanpour asked.
“I was not that bold,” Fonda replied.
It was the actress Rosanna Arquette who came to Fonda and told her about her experience with Weinstein. Arquette has since spoken about the alleged incident in interviews with The New Yorker and The New York Times. Back in the early 90s, Arquette said, she was supposed to meet Weinstein for dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel to pick up a script for an upcoming film. She was told to meet him in his room. When she arrived, she said, he was wearing a white bathrobe. He then allegedly asked her to give him a massage, grabbed her hand, and tried to pull it toward his erect penis. “My heart was really racing. I was in a fight-or-flight moment,” she told The New Yorker. Arquette then left the room.
At the time, Fonda said she “didn’t feel it was my place” to go public with Arquette’s story.
“It came as a shock and a great disappointment, this male entitlement,” she told Amanpour.
As Amanpour noted earlier, it may seem surprising that Fonda, of all people, did not speak out after hearing Arquette’s story. Fonda is a daring feminist figure who’s fought loudly and publicly for a number of causes; she’s known for her fierce activism nearly as much as she is for her on-screen work. But as Fonda noted, she didn’t feel comfortable speaking on Arquette’s behalf, especially on such a delicate topic—even though Fonda is a survivor of rape and sexual abuse herself.
When pressed by Amanpour, Fonda said this sort of thing also happened to her in the past—though never perpetrated by Weinstein. “I only met Harvey when I was old, and Harvey goes for young, because that’s more vulnerable,” said Fonda, adding that Weinstein is not a nice man: “He didn’t treat the people who worked with him well.”
Fonda’s personal story about sexual misconduct involved a French director she worked with early in her career. Fonda did not name him or the project, but noted that the director flew to Los Angeles to meet with her and explain the script, which is when the incident occurred. “He said to me, ‘In the movie, your character has to have an orgasm and I really need to know what kind of orgasms you have,’” Fonda said. “He wanted me to sleep with him.”
She turned him down, but got the part anyway. “You have to say no,” Fonda said when Amanpour asked what advice she would give to younger actresses. “You have to understand that you have control over your body . . . if we all talked and told, they’d be too afraid to do it.”
“We have a man who is president who does these things,” she said. “What kind of a message does that say? That counteracts a lot of the good that we’re doing . . . it’s unacceptable.”
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