Then-First Lady Michelle Obama praised movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, now facing accusations of decades of sexual harassment, as a "wonderful human being" and a "good friend" in 2013.
The New York Times reported Thursday on extensive sexual harassment claims made by women against Weinstein, including unwanted contact and inappropriate remarks. According to the report, the Democratic megadonor has reached at least eight settlements with women.
Weinstein has donated nearly $600,000 to Democrats and hosted high-priced fundraisers for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Democrats have been pressured to return the donations and some already have.
On November 8, 2013, Michelle Obama hosted a Careers in Film Symposium and offered warm remarks for Weinstein in her opening.
"I want to start by thanking Harvey Weinstein for organizing this amazing day," she said. "Harvey. This is possible because of Harvey. He is a wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse. And the fact that he and his team took the time to make this happen for all of you should say something not about me or about this place, but about you."
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) October 6, 2017
At a fundraiser hosted by Weinstein in 2013, then-President Obama thanked him for his "friendship and support" and praised him for the "amazing movies" he'd made. Weinstein won an Oscar for producing Shakespeare In Love and has executive-produced several other Best Picture winners.
Of the sexual harassment allegations, Weinstein told the New York Times, "I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go."
Among the lurid details in the New York Times report was an account by actress Ashley Judd that Weinstein asked her to watch him shower and wanted to give her a massage in his hotel room.
Former Obama aide Tommy Vietor tweeted Thursday that Weinstein "has been a well-known scumbag for a long time." However, Weinstein made 13 trips to the White House during the Obama administration, according to Breitbart News, and Obama's oldest daughter Malia did an internship under him this year.
Vietor followed up that he didn't know about Weinstein's reputation and if true he's a "disgusting piece of shit."