As women continue to come forward with allegations against Harvey Weinstein, others are speaking out on the pervasive issue of sexual harassment and the damaging silence and secrecy around it, both in Hollywood and beyond. Asked about the allegations in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Blake Lively stressed the importance of listening to and believing victims when they tell their stories.
“The number one thing that can happen is that people who share their stories, people have to listen to them and trust them, and people have to take it seriously,” she told THR. “As important as it is to remain furious about this, it’s important to also say that this exists everywhere so remember to look everywhere. This isn’t a single incident. This cannot happen, this should not happen, and it happens in every single industry.”
THR notes that Lively has had professional obligations with Weinstein, having been on a high school film career panel with him and Michelle Obama in 2013. Lively, however, said that she wasn’t previously privy to the “open secret” of Weinstein’s alleged behavior and that her experiences with Weinstein did not reflect those currently in the press.
“I think that if people heard these stories… I do believe in humanity enough to think that this wouldn’t have just continued,” she said. “It’s devastating to hear.”
She added that she thinks one reason women don’t speak up is that they’ve been conditioned to accept bad behavior to a degree. “It happens to women all over the place, all the time, to the point where women don’t even think that this is a real assault,” she told THR. “I’ve had plenty of things happen to me whether it be trying on a dress for prom at some clothing store, to a director being inappropriate, to a guy walking down the street where you don’t think, ‘Oh well, that wasn’t actually sexual assault — this guy just, like, grabbed my butt.'” It’s all too real — and too infuriating.
“It’s important that women are furious right now,” Lively concluded. “It’s important that there is an uprising. It’s important that we don’t stand for this and that we don’t focus on one or two or three or four stories; it’s important that we focus on humanity in general and say, ‘This is unacceptable.'”
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