Ever since the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal broke, Oprah Winfrey has insisted she wasn’t aware of the disgraced media mogul’s inappropriate and illegal behavior. Now, the former talk show host and A Wrinkle in Time star is revealing what she did know about Weinstein’s actions.
“What I knew was Harvey was a bully. Was I friendly with Harvey? Yes, I was friendly with Harvey. Of course, I didn’t know any of this was going on,” she told Gwyneth Paltrow, one of Weinstein’s accusers, in the first episode of the Goop podcast, out Thursday. While the producer didn’t sexually harass Winfrey, she contends that he used to call her and demand talk show appearances for the stars of his films.
“I think where this movement will eventually lead us to is not accepting any kind of behavior that disparages you as a human being. Why am I willing to put up with an asshole? Not only am I not going to take your sexual harassment, I’m not going to take any of your bullshit, period,” Winfrey said of her hopes for the future of the #MeToo movement.
“Knowing that you’re not alone is a part of the big healing. I remember the first time I realized that I wasn’t the only kid who had been sexually molested. The first time I realized it, I was doing a talk show where somebody was telling their story. I was dumbfounded. I don’t know what to do. That somebody, that is my story. I could cry right now. I was like, that’s happened to someone else? I thought I was the only one. At the first time I heard it, I was in Baltimore and I didn’t have the courage to speak out on television about it,” she told Paltrow on the Goop podcast of her own experience with sexual assault.
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As a former friend of Weinstein’s, Winfrey has been criticized since the allegations first came out as people contended that she knew about the abuse. After her powerful Golden Globes speech, Seal publicly accused Oprah of turning a blind eye. “Oh I forgot, that’s right … you’d heard the rumors but you had no idea he was actually serially assaulting young starry-eyed actresses who in turn had no idea what they were getting into. My bad,” he wrote on Instagram.
In this new interview, Oprah makes her position clear: She did not know what Harvey was doing behind closed doors.