Almost a week after the New York Times broke a story of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct, former Vice President Joe Biden has called for legal consequences for the producer’s alleged actions.
“It is my hope the statute hasn’t run on some [allegations] because this man deserves more than losing his company,” Biden said in a speech about sexual assault at Rutgers University on Thursday.
The former VP used Weinstein as an example of sexual assailants escaping consequences, describing his alleged actions as “disgusting conduct and behavior of a very powerful figure in Hollywood, a man who had the power to make or break the career of a number of very talented actors, a man who used that power in a disgusting and immoral way.”
Biden also applauded the efforts of the growing list of women who have openly accused Weinstein of sexual assault. “Because of the bravery of so many courageous women speaking up, putting their careers at risk to save other women, this disgusting behavior at least on the part of Harvey Weinstein has been brought to an abrupt and justifiable end,” said Biden.
Biden has been a vocal advocate for the victims of sexual assault and harassment. As a senator, he introduced the Violence Against Women Act, a bill signed by Bill Clinton in 1994 to systemically improve the investigation and prosecution process of violent crimes against women.
However, it is important to note that the former Vice President has also been criticized for his treatment of Anita Hill when she accused her boss, current Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, of sexual harassment. According to Politico, Biden failed to call three witnesses during the hearings who would have corroborated Hill’s allegations.
As of Friday, the extensive list of women who are accusing Weinstein of sexual assault continues to grow. Some women, including Asia Argento and Rose McGowan, have accused the producer of rape, both in an expose published by the New Yorker and in separate statements.
These women have inspired other alleged victims of Hollywood figures to speak out. On Friday, actress Patricia Arquette and former Playboy model Carrie Stevens leveled accusations of sexual misconduct against director Oliver Stone, who had previously defended Weinstein before taking back his statements. Earlier this week, Ben Affleck received two accusations of sexual assault from former TRL host Hilarie Burton, to whom he has apologized for his “inappropriate” behavior, and makeup artist Annamarie Tendler.
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