Obama weighs in on the growing scandal around Harvey Weinstein

Former US President Barack Obama at Church Congress in Berlin on May 25, 2017. (Photo: Steffi Loos/Getty Images)

Former US President Barack Obama has made a statement on the sexual harassment accusations mounting against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

“Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein,” reads the statement. “Any man who demeans and degrades women in such a fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or statues. 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 behaviour less prevalent in the future.”

Weinstein has been accused of decades of sexual harassment. The New York Times has reported younger women were pressured into giving him massages, while a 10-month investigation by The New Yorker found four allegations of sexual assault.

The film executive, who was fired from his company on Sunday, has supported and funded Democratic campaigns for decades, raising more than $US1 million since 2000.

Weinstein donated more than $US45,000 to PACs and campaigns supporting Obama’s two presidential elections. According to CBS, Weinstein also co-hosted at least three Democratic fundraisers that brought in more than $US5.9 million since 2011.

When the allegations first surfaced, a spokesperson for the Obamas, whose daughter Malia interned at the Weinstein Company earlier this year, had declined to comment. However, pressure has been increasing for Democrats to denounce Weinstein’s actions. A large number of politicians, including Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, have already gifted Weinstein’s donations to charity.

Hillary Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of state, released a similar statement condemning Weinstein’s actions just hours earlier.

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