Movies | October 10, 2017 12:27 pm

George Clooney Criticizes Harvey Weinstein’s ‘Indefensible’ Behavior

The actor has known Weinstein for 20 years.

George Clooney
George Clooney attends a premiere for "Suburbicon" on day 3 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Princess of Wales Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Even before the New Yorker published fresh allegations against Harvey Weinstein, George Clooney became one of the first prominent male stars in Hollywood to condemn Weinstein’s behavior since The New York Times released an article detailing three decades of sexual harassment allegations against the Hollywood mogul, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Clooney, who has known Weinstein for 20 years, called Weinstein’s behavior “indefensible” and said he has never directly seen any of the inappropriate behavior. Clooney did admit to hearing rumors about Weinstein and young actresses, but believed that it was a way to smear the actresses, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

“I’ve heard rumors, and the rumors, in general, started back in the ’90s, 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,” Clooney said

Clooney responded to accusations that he “should have known” about Weinstein’s behavior because of their close relationship. But Clooney said he never knew the whole story, especially that he never knew about the payoffs Weinstein made over the years to eight women who had made complaints.

“[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,” Clooney told The Daily Beast, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, many have called Weinstein’s behavior an “industry secret that was widely known though never reported.”

Clooney’s statement follows statements from a slew of actresses who have also worked with Weinstein. Meryl Streep, Judi Dench and Jennifer Lawrence have all won Oscars for Weinstein-produced films, and all said they were unaware of the accusations.

Female stars like Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling have called on males in Hollywood to “start speaking up” reports The Hollywood Reporter. On Monday, The Guardian published a list of 20 male actors and directors who have worked with Weinstein who did not respond to the paper’s request for comment.

The list included Quentin Tarantino, Michael Moore, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper. It also included Lin Manuel-Miranda, who took to Twitter to say he was “appalled” and “repulsed” by the accusations. He also said it was his fault he missed The Guardian’s call, because he had asked his team to keep everything not relating to Puerto Rico relief off his plate. Seth Rogen, Mark Ruffalo and Kevin Smith have all spoken out.