Following the publication of a New York Times article that detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and a New Yorker exposé with rape allegations, The Shallows actress Blake Lively is speaking out.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter pegged to Lively's new film, the psychological drama All I See Is You, the former Gossip Girl star agreed to discuss the scandal surrounding Weinstein, who was terminated from awards show powerhouse the Weinstein Company once the allegations against him were made public.
"That was never my experience with Harvey in any way whatsoever, and I think that if people heard these stories…I do believe in humanity enough to think that this wouldn’t have just continued... I never heard any stories like this — I never heard anything specific — but it’s devastating to hear."
The actress, who THR reports in 2013 joined Weinstein and former First Lady Michelle Obama in a workshop for high school students interested in exploring the film industry, added:
"The number one thing that can happen is that people who share their stories, people have to listen to them and trust them, and people have to take it seriously... As important as it is to remain furious about this, it's important to also say that this exists everywhere so remember to look everywhere. This isn’t a single incident. This cannot happen, this should not happen, and it happens in every single industry."
Lively also told THR that while she did not have an incident with Weinstein, she knows that women face the fear of harassment and assault on a regular basis.
"It happens to women all over the place, all the time, to the point where women don’t even think that this is a real assault... I’ve had plenty of things happen to me whether it be trying on a dress for prom at some clothing store, to a director being inappropriate, to a guy walking down the street where you don’t think, 'Oh well, that wasn’t actually sexual assault — this guy just, like, grabbed my butt.'"
Weinstein released a statement through his representative Sallie Hofmesiter responding to the allegations against him:
"Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. He will not be available for further comments, as he is taking the time to focus on his family, on getting counseling and rebuilding his life."
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).