Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet announced during an acceptance speech that she had "bitter regrets" for working with various unnamed individuals accused of numerous transgressions against women.
Theatrically turning from the stage at one point to gather herself as tears welled up at the corner of her eyes, Winslet accepted a special award from the London Critics' Circle Sunday evening. According to the BBC, following a few brief words of thanks, she addressed a far heavier topic.
"It almost feels uncomfortable to receive an award at such a time. But being up here does give me the opportunity to say some things that matter to me. There are directors, producers and men of power who have for decades been awarded and applauded for their highly regarded work by both this industry and moviegoers alike. … The message we received for years was that it was the highest compliment to be offered roles by these men," said Winslet, who most recently starred in Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel.
Woody Allen was first accused of abusing his daughter, Dylan Farrow, in 1993. Four years ago, in 2014, Farrow published a letter in the New York Times asking why so many famous and powerful women chose to work with the acclaimed director. Wonder Wheel was released in 2017.
"As women around the world and from all walks of life marched last weekend, once again joining together to speak out against harassment, exploitation and abuse, I realised that I wouldn't be able to stand here this evening and keep to myself some bitter regrets that I have about poor decisions to work with individuals with whom I wish I had not," said Winslet, who starred in Roman Polanski's Carnage and earned a Golden Globe nomination for that performance.
Roman Polanski was arrested in 1977 for the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty to a charge of sex with a minor and served a few days under psychiatric watch before fleeing the country ahead of final sentencing in 1978. Since that time, Polanski has refused to return to the United States to face justice. Carnage was released in 2011.
"There are those who can speak so powerfully for those who are not able to do so themselves, and let us please not make this about which people express public regret and those who choose not to, but instead keep the focus on the terrible, secret crimes of abuse against vulnerable children, girls, women and indeed boys and men too," said Winslet, who won an Oscar for The Reader, which was executive produced by Harvey Weinstein. (Emphasis mine, as the selflessness of her plea was deeply moving.)
Harvey Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women of decades of sexual predations, activities that were, at the very least, such an open secret in Hollywood that Weinstein-esque characters were stock villains in films and TV shows about Hollywood. The Reader was released in 2008.
"I think again of the Women's Marches. There was one banner scrawled on cardboard that particularly resonated with me. ‘The older I get the more I see women described as having gone mad. What they've actually become is knowledgeable and powerful and [expletive] furious.' Years ago that woman would likely have been locked away. How times have changed. Let's keep them changing. Thank you very much," Winslet concluded, having failed to mention any of the men above by name.
Correction: Woody Allen's daughter is Dylan Farrow, not Ronan Farrow, as I originally had it above. My bad.