Donna Karan defends Harvey Weinstein over sexual harassment claims, does a U-turn | hollywood | Hindustan Times
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Donna Karan defends Harvey Weinstein over sexual harassment claims, does a U-turn

After Harvey Weinstein was criticised by movie legends Meryl Streep and Judi Dench, designer Donna Karan has issued a statement taking back her words in support of the tycoon.

hollywood Updated: Oct 11, 2017 09:07 IST
This file photo shows Producer Harvey Weinstein (L) and actress Meryl Streep attending the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California.
This file photo shows Producer Harvey Weinstein (L) and actress Meryl Streep attending the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (AFP)

Fashion designer Donna Karan has said her comments supporting movie mogul Harvey Weinstein over sexual harassment charges levelled against him were taken out of context. On Sunday, Karan, who is also a friend of Weinstein’s, told the Daily Mail that he was “wonderful”. Karan also shamed the victims and said women must consider if the way they dress suggests they are “asking for it”.

Weinstein was fired late Sunday from his own film studio, three days after a bombshell New York Times report alleged that the Oscar-winning producer behind such hits as “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist” had preyed on young women hoping to break into the film industry. Among the women who have accused him of asking sexual favours in return of advancing their careers include Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan.

Donna Karan attends the 69th Annual Parsons Benefit at Pier Sixty, in New York 69th Annual Parsons Benefit, New York. (AP)

“I think we have to look at ourselves,” Karan said on the red carpet at the CinéFashion film awards in Los Angeles, “I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?”

Karan said women who dressed provocatively were asking for trouble. “You look at everything all over the world today and how women are dressing and what they are asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.”

The DKNY founder was among the first few to defend Weinstein. After facing a backlash on social media and many celebs including McGowan who called the designer “scum in a fancy dress”, Karan said her statements “were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel about the current situation concerning Harvey Weinstein”.

Here is Donna Karan’s statement:

Last night, I was honored at the Cinemoi Fashion Film Awards in Hollywood and while answering a question on the red carpet I made a statement that unfortunately is not representative of how I feel or what I believe.

I have spent my life championing women. My life has been dedicated to dressing and addressing the needs of women, empowering them and promoting equal rights.

My statements were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel about the current situation concerning Harvey Weinstein.

I believe that sexual harassment is NOT acceptable and this is an issue that MUST be addressed once and for all regardless of the individual.

I am truly sorry to anyone that I offended and everyone that has ever been a victim.

Earlier, movie legends Meryl Streep and Judi Dench led a chorus of outrage Monday following the revelation that Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed women for decades, as Hollywood stood accused of covering up a pattern of misconduct that finally cost the film mogul his job.

Streep -- who famously called Weinstein "God" in an Oscars acceptance speech -- broke her silence in a statement first published by the Huffington Post, in which she said she was "appalled" by the "disgraceful" news and insisted "not everybody" knew about the allegations.

"I don't believe that all the investigative reporters... would have neglected for decades to write about it," she added.

Fellow Oscar winner Judi Dench, who has credited much of her success to Weinstein and once revealed she had a fake tattoo of his initials applied to her buttocks, said in a statement to Newsweek she was "horrified" and also denied any knowledge of the accusations.

George Clooney also broke his silence and called Weinstein's behavior "indefensible." Clooney said he had heard rumors starting in the 90s about women sleeping with Weinstein in exchange for acting roles, but that he had dismissed them as ploys to dismiss the actresses' talent.

But tough questions were also being asked about what some suspect was a collective effort to protect the movie mogul and father-of-two, one of Hollywood's most influential powerbrokers who was able to make or break careers.

In a statement to the New York Times, the actress Glenn Close acknowledged that "for many years" she had been aware of rumors of inappropriate behavior by Weinstein.

"Harvey has always been decent to me, but now that the rumors are being substantiated, I feel angry and darkly sad," she wrote.

The Weinstein Company’s board said it had sacked him “in light of new information about misconduct” in the explosive Times article, which detailed decades of legal settlements stemming from harassment allegations.

Variety magazine reported Monday that Paramount Network had subsequently dropped Weinstein as an executive producer on two upcoming drama series, “Waco” and “Yellowstone.”

(With inputs from agencies)