Steven Spielberg speaks out on Weinstein scandal and Catherine Deneuve slamming the #MeToo movement

"It is not a witch hunt, it is imperative"

Steven Spielberg has shared his thoughts on life in Hollywood in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal – as well as responding to Catherine Deneuve’s comments slamming the #MeToo campaign.

There has been a huge wave of leading figures speaking out against sexual harassment and misogyny in the entertainment industry since producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

As a mark of solidarity, women from across the world of entertainment shared their own experiences of sexual harassment on social media with the hashtag #MeToo. This culminated in TIME Magazine honouring those involved in their ‘Person Of The Year 2017,  this weekend’s Golden Globes when it dominated the tone of the entire evening.

However, this week saw Catherine Deneuve criticise the movement as a “witch hunt”, arguing that men should be “free to hit on women”.

Golden Globes sexual misconduct
Meryl Streep and #MeToo’s Tarana Burke

Now, Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg has described everything that’s happened in the wake of the scandal as a “national and global problem” and an “epic event”

“I don’t see it as a witch-hunt at the moment – I don’t,” Spielberg told Sky News of Deneuve’s comments. “I’m sorry I don’t see it as a witch-hunt – I see it as an imperative.

“This is not just another blip on the news cycle, this is something that isn’t just going to be yesterday’s news in 24 hours.”

Spielberg continued: “This is a watershed moment, and extolling the virtues of women coming forward through tremendous personal sacrifice, using tremendous amounts of courage to speak about what has happened to them yesterday or 40 years ago, it doesn’t matter.

“This is something that is going to change everything for the better.”

He added: “There is always more to come, but the other thing we have to think about is this…Hollywood and celebrity gets a lot of recognition, you can’t just think of this as a Hollywood problem, this is a national problem and probably a global problem.”

Steven Spielberg and E.T.
Steven Spielberg and E.T.

In her controversial letter, the French actress warned of a new “puritanism” as a result of the recent surge of sexual harassment scandals, stating: “Rape is a crime. But trying to seduce someone, even persistently or clumsily, is not – and nor is men being gentlemanly a chauvinist attack.”

While the letter says it was necessary to speak out against the abuse of power by some men, it goes on to claim that the #MeToo movement had created an unfair environment for men: “[Men], who are sanctioned in their work, [are] pushed to resign, etc., when their only wrongdoing was to touch a knee, try to steal a kiss, speak about intimate things during a professional dinner or send messages that are sexually loaded to a woman who wasn’t attracted to them.

“As women we do not recognise ourselves in this feminism, which beyond denouncing the abuse of power, takes on a hatred of men and of sexuality,” the letter also states.

Harvey Weinstein denies all allegations of sexual misconduct.