Fashion mogul Donna Karan is apologizing after praising Harvey Weinstein following his firing from his film company amid allegations of sexual harassment lasting decades.
In a statement Monday, Karan said her remarks were taken out of context and don't represent her feelings. She says she believes "sexual harassment is NOT acceptable and this is an issue that MUST be addressed once and for all regardless of the individual."
Karan on Sunday suggested to The Daily Mail that Weinstein’s alleged victims may have been ‘asking for it’ in a rambling interview that questioned the way women dressed and how they present themselves to the world.
The DKNY designer was in Los Angeles for the CineFashion Film Awards and told a reporter that, “'To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but 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?
Meanwhile, among those weighing in were his longtime allies and beneficiaries Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Kevin Smith and Judi Dench. They spoke up with a combination of disgust over his alleged behavior and remorse or defensiveness over their own business entanglements with him. Even the actors’ labor union SAG-AFTRA joined the chorus in condemning the disgraced movie mogul, calling reports of his alleged conduct “abhorrent and unacceptable.”
Director Kevin Smith, whose movies “Clerks” and “Chasing Amy” were produced by Weinstein, noted on Twitter that the producer financed the first 14 years of his career.
“Now I know while I was profiting, others were in terrible pain,” Smith wrote. “It makes me feel ashamed.”
Weinstein, 65, was fired Sunday by the Weinstein Co., the studio he co-founded, three days after a bombshell New York Times expose alleged decades of crude sexual behavior on his part toward female employees and actresses, including Ashley Judd. The Times said at least eight settlements had been reached with women.
Streep, who once called Weinstein “God” while accepting the Golden Globe for “The Iron Lady,” condemned his alleged conduct as “inexcusable” while also saying she did not know about it before.
“The disgraceful news about Harvey Weinstein has appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported,” Streep said in a statement.
Stories of his behavior, she said, were not universally known in Hollywood.
“Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally,” Streep continued. “If everybody knew, I don’t believe that all the investigative reporters in the entertainment and the hard news media would have neglected for decades to write about it.”
Similarly, Dench, whose awards and nominations have been inextricably linked for two decades to Weinstein, first at his company Miramax and then at the Weinstein Co., said in a statement that she was “completely unaware” of the “horrifying” offenses.
“I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered and wholehearted support to those who have spoken out,” she wrote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report