'I’m very hopeful about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to go away completely'

By Derek Lawrence
November 11, 2017 at 01:33 PM EST
Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

Amid the continued pulling back of the curtain on sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood, Judd Apatow is both calling for change and calling out “cowards” in the industry who continued to work with known culprits.

“Most of this is about violence and very serious harassment,” the Knocked Up director said in a candid interview with Deadline. “There’s certainly a level of it which is about people being disrespectful, and they shouldn’t be, but the majority of this is about violent crime, and about why people in our industry were and are willing to ignore violent crimes to line their own pockets, or protect their careers. That’s what this is about. How come people worked with Harvey Weinstein when they knew that he was assaulting people?”

Apatow mentioned Daryl Hannah’s recent account of multiple alleged attempts by Weinstein to get into her hotel room, including one instance where she felt the need to barricade herself in with a dresser blocking the door. Among the people that the Kill Bill star says she told about the incident was her director Quentin Tarantino, who has since admitted that he “knew enough to do more than I did.”

“If one of the lead actresses of my film called me up and said, ‘I had to put a dresser up against the door because one of your producers was trying to push his way in,’ I would never work with that person again, and I would tell somebody,” said Apatow. “Don’t work with Harvey Weinstein. It’s not more complicated than that. Aren’t we allowed to say that if somebody harasses or commits violent crime against people in our industry, that we will decide not to work with them? This isn’t a lewd comment at a party. This is assault. If you know somebody is assaulting people or terrorizing people, why do you want to make the next movie with them?”

He added, “We shouldn’t be making TV shows with Bill Cosby. We shouldn’t be putting on new shows with Bill O’Reilly. We shouldn’t be starring in movies produced by Harvey Weinstein.”

Despite the sudden influx of victims feeling empowered to come forward and the resulting blowback on the alleged assaulters, Apatow believes sexual misconduct can’t be completely erased from Hollywood. However, he does think great progress can be made in preventing and dealing with it.

“We’re always going to see it happen again. We just might reduce it,” he shared. “Because there’s always rapists, there’s always murderers. There’s always people who commit sexual harassment. It’s just about how we deal with it. It’s never going to be gone, but we can say it’s not acceptable at all, and then hopefully it changes the frequency. I think that’s happening; I think that will happen. I do think that this is going to change the way a lot of people do business. I’m very hopeful about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to go away completely.”

Among Apatow’s suggestions for helping incorporate change in the industry are sexual harassment seminars, educating young actors and actresses on “their rights,” and “creating an environment that is more supportive of women.”

“I think leaders in the industry should get together — the heads of the studios, the heads of the agencies, the heads of management companies, the heads of production companies — get together in a room, and share their experiences, and talk about how they manage their employees and their sets, and try to come up with constructive ways to approach this, going forward,” he said, citing O’Reilly and Cosby being dropped by their agencies. “There are probably a lot of ways that we can create accountability for everybody. But people should talk about what happened. I think people are just beginning to realize that they should speak up… We need to find a way to make it possible for them to do that.”

Read the full interview here.