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Obama ‘Disgusted’ by Weinstein: ‘We Can Make Such Behavior Less Prevalent’

Barack Obama / Getty Images
• October 10, 2017 8:07 pm

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Former President Barack Obama issued a statement Tuesday night expressing disgust at reports about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct.

Weinstein was a long-time backer of the Democratic Party, raising and donating millions to its leaders and being frequently praised by them. Records show Obama had Weinstein to the White House 13 times, visiting with Obama himself nine of those times, and he said that Weinstein should be condemned if reports are accurate.

"Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein," Obama wrote. "Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status."

The 44th president praised the women who have told their stories about Weinstein.

"We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories," Obama added. "And we all need to build a culture—including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect – so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future."

The statement did not address the Obamas' previous relationship with Weinstein. They have previously been on friendly terms, The Obamas' elder daughter Malia, 19, interned at the Weinstein Company, and Michelle Obama had warm words for Weinstein at a 2013 White House event.

"He is a wonderful human being, a good friend, and just a powerhouse," she said about Weinstein.

The storied Hollywood "powerhouse" has taken a major hit to his reputation as reports have surfaced about his behavior. Not only did the New York Times report Thursday about allegations against him, but Tuesday the New Yorker released audio of him talking about groping one woman.

Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee for president, also took until Tuesday to speak out about Weinstein, and her statement was similarly general. She did not address her relationship with Weinstein, who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to her campaign and the Clinton Foundation altogether.