Germaine Greer criticised for saying female stars “spread their legs” for Harvey Weinstein

Feminist icon hit with backlash

Germaine Greer is facing a backlash over recent comments she made about the #MeToo movement, which saw her accuse female stars of “spreading” their legs for Harvey Weinstein and then “whingeing” about it.

Feminist icon Greer was named Australian of the Year in Britain during a gala event at Australia House in London on Saturday night (January 20).

In an interview before the event, Greer said: “I want, I’ve always wanted, to see women react immediately. In the old days, there were movies – the Carry On comedies, for example – which always had a man leering after women. And the women always outwitted him – he was a fool. We weren’t afraid of him and we weren’t afraid to slap him down.”

She then added: “What makes it different is when the man has economic power, as Harvey Weinstein has. But if you spread your legs because he said ‘be nice to me and I’ll give you a job in a movie’ then I’m afraid that’s tantamount to consent, and it’s too late now to start whingeing about that.”

“I want women to react here and now,” Greer continued. “I want the woman on a train who feels a man’s hand where it shouldn’t be… to be able to say quite clearly, ‘Stop.’ It’s the same old, same old. What is there about ‘no’ that you don’t understand?”

Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer

Addressing the recent backlash against Woody Allen over historic allegations of sexual assault by his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow (which he denies), Greer said: “It was 20 years ago, so you want him to stop making movies now? It might be a good idea because he’s probably no good any more.”

Following the interview, Greer has been criticised on social media for her comments, with some accusing the writer of “insensitivity” and being “hideously disappointing and unkind to victims of sexual violence”.

One Twitter user wrote: “I would like to thank Germaine for notifying us that listening to her is largely pointless from now on”.

Greer has not yet responded to the backlash.

  • For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.