Oliver Stone has walked back controversial remarks he made in defense of Harvey Weinstein.
“I’ve been traveling for the last couple of days and wasn’t aware of all the women who came out to support the original story in the New York Times,” Stone wrote on Facebook. “After looking at what has been reported in many publications over the last couple of days, I’m appalled and commend the courage of the women who’ve stepped forward to report sexual abuse or rape. I’ll therefore recuse myself from the Guantanamo series as long as the Weinstein Company is involved.”
Earlier Friday morning at South Korea’s Busan International Film Festival, where the director and producer is serving as chair of the competition jury, Stone was asked about the mounting allegations against the studio boss, who was fired from The Weinstein Co. over the weekend.
“I’m a believer that you wait until this thing gets to trial,” Stone said, per The Hollywood Reporter. “I believe a man shouldn’t be condemned by a vigilante system. It’s not easy what he’s going through, either. During that period he was a rival. I never did business with him and didn’t really know him. I’ve heard horror stories on everyone in the business, so I’m not going to comment on gossip. I’ll wait and see, which is the right thing to do.”
In the initial New York Times exposé cited by Stone in his clarification, numerous women — including actress Ashley Judd — made sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein. At the time, Weinstein’s then-advisor, Lisa Bloom, said the mogul denied “many of the accusations as patently false.” Weinstein himself apologized for his “bad behavior” and said he “bear[s] responsibility for [his] actions” (Bloom stepped back from Weinstein last weekend.)
This week, more allegations surfaced via a bombshell report from The New Yorker and a follow-up story published by the New York Times. Multiple women have now accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including Asia Argento, who claimed Weinstein raped her by forcibly performing oral sex on her. Actress Rose McGowan claimed Thursday on Twitter that “HW raped me.” Weinstein denied those allegations in a statement via his representative: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
Following initial reports of Stone’s comments, the director was blasted on Twitter for defending Weinstein. Former Playboy Playmate Carrie Stevens accused Stone of “walking past me & grabbing my boob” at a party. Others posted links to a BuzzFeed story from 2012 that showed Stone appearing to grope Salma Hayek during the press tour for Savages. A representative for Stone did not immediately reply to EW’s request for comment.
This post has been updated to include Stone’s clarification