Jane Fonda says she first heard about Harvey Weinstein‘s alleged misbehavior last year and she’s ashamed she hasn’t spoken about it until now.
“I found out about Harvey about a year ago and I’m ashamed that I didn’t say anything right then,” Fonda, 79, told Christiane Amanpour during an interview for CNNMoney on Thursday.
Explaining why she stayed silent, Fonda said, “Because I guess it hadn’t happened to me and so I didn’t feel it was my place.”
The Grace and Frankie star said her knowledge of Weinstein’s alleged behavior came from Rosanna Arquette — one of the 13 women who came forward with sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein on Tuesday in The New Yorker.
“I’m glad it’s coming out,” Fonda added. “I’m so proud of those fellow actors that are speaking up and I know that it’s taken a long time. It’s a very, very, very, hard thing to do. You don’t get anything out of it as the person who has been victimized. But it’s important that it come out.”
“But let’s not think that this is some unique, horrific — this goes on all the time,” Fonda continued. “It’s this male entitlement— in Hollywood and everywhere, in offices and businesses all over the world; in bars, in restaurants, in stores, women are assaulted, abused, harassed and seen for just being sexual objects, there for a man’s desire instead of as whole human beings.”
Asked whether she had ever been sexually harassed, Fonda replied that she had — but not by Weinstein.
“It has happened to me. It has. I only met Harvey when I was old. And Harvey goes for young because that’s more vulnerable. You know. But it’s very, very common,” Fonda said before saying the director of her first French film tried to sleep with her.
“The director didn’t speak very good English and he flew to L.A. to pitch me the story, which was hard for me to even understand what the story was,” she said. “But I remember him saying to me — and I was 20 — he said to me, you know, in the movie, your character has to have an orgasm and I really need to know what kind of orgasms you have. And so he wanted me to sleep with him.”
“I turned him down. I got the part anyway. And he was — you know, he was very nice after that,” Fonda said before adding that any woman who finds herself in that situation has to say no, no matter what she’s worried about losing. “You have to understand that you have control over your body and that you have to say no and you have to talk and tell when something like that happens. If we all talked and told, then they would be too afraid to do it, I think. I hope.”
Fonda also brought up how important it is for men to support women when they speak up about sexual harassment and assault. “We have to be helped by men. It’s important to know that not all men are predators. There are good men and the good men have to stand up and defend us and embody other ways of being. We have to believe the women who come forward. We have to speak out.”
Although she admitted that so long as Donald Trump is in the White House, it sends a bad message.“Unfortunately that counteracts a lot of the good that we’re doing because a lot of men see, well, our president does it and he got elected, even after people discovered that he was an abuser so I’m just going to go ahead and do what I want to do. It’s unacceptable and we can’t ever forget that and we have to stand up to them.”
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Following the initial New York Times report about the allegations, Weinstein said in a statement that he was working with therapists and planned to “deal with this issue head-on.” He has since been fired from his powerhouse studio, The Weinstein Company, and his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, has announced she’s leaving him.
On Thursday, a source told PEOPLE Weinstein checked into a luxury resort in Arizona after jetting out of Los Angeles on Wednesday.