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Revelations about sexual harassment and the deep-rooted culture of complicity in Hollywood continue to emerge since the Weinstein allegations first broke. Alec Baldwin sits down with Jeffrey Brown As part of an interview about his new book parodying President Trump, to discuss the culture in film industry and his own experience.
Now, the continuing revelations about sexual harassment, assault, and the larger culture.
New York City Police Department officials said today they are building a rape case against former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. He has denied recent allegations of assault.
Since the Weinstein story first broke, numerous public figures are being pressed about what they knew, and didn't know, about people they have worked with.
That includes actor Alec Baldwin, who worked in the past with writer and director James Toback. Toback has been accused of harassing hundreds of women. Baldwin said he had not known the seriousness of Toback's behavior.
But when he received an award yesterday, Baldwin spoke about the culture in the industry and his own experience.
Earlier today, Jeffrey Brown recorded an interview with Alec Baldwin about his new book, a parody of President Trump.
We're going to be airing that interview in the coming days.
But, first, here's what Baldwin said about the subject at hand.
You said: "I certainly have treated women in a very sexist way. I have bullied women. I have overlooked women. I have underestimated women, not as a rule. From time to time, I have done what a lot of men do."
Explain. What do you mean?
Well, I mean, I think that in the — especially in the generation I'm from, the person in charge was always a man. The president was a man. The head of the studio was a man. The director of the film was a man.
And I was just conditioned to where, if a woman was contributing to the project or the process, we kind of go, OK, that's great. Now let's have the guy do the talking who's in charge. A man was always in charge in my lifetime. And that's changed.
But you used bullying, I mean, bullying vs. harassment vs. misconduct. Define what you mean.
Well, I mean, bullying in terms of, if I have — you know, if I have an argument with my wife and I raise my voice, that's bullying.
It doesn't — I mean, I'm not involved in any of the sexual harassment claims that are being made in the media now. But in the way that we treat women differently from men in any way, that's — we're learning. That's something we're learning we have to take a long look at and change.
But how clear are the lines when you say this? You are not in any of the headlines. I don't mean to suggest that.
But do you fear that somebody might come forward, based on past conduct?
No. No, no, no, not at all.
I think all men, all men, during the course of their lives, you included, I think every man treats women differently than they treat men unconsciously. You don't mean to. You're not sitting there going, well, this woman is less than me, her ideas are less valid, this person is less valuable to the process we're doing.
We just innately treat women differently, because men have typically been in charge. We — not that we diminish women. We elevate men over women. And I have certainly done that in my life. And that's something I think needs to change.
Just one other question on this.
Because there has been a lot of talk about a culture of complicity, right, about people knowing things and not speaking up.
And you said yesterday that you had heard rumors of actions. What did you know exactly and…
I didn't know anything.
But I know that when you talked about Harvey Weinstein in the business, for example, for decades, you knew that he was highly intrusive in the process of making films. You know, his nickname was Harvey Scissorhands. And he was very intrusive in the path of the directors who worked for him.
Number two, you knew that he was a very intense guy and very bullying guy, and was shouting and screaming at people and exhorting them when he didn't get his way.
And, last but not least, you heard the rumor that he raped Rose McGowan. You heard that over and over. We have heard that for decades. And nothing was done.
And nobody said anything, though.
Well, but what happened was that Rose McGowan took a payment of $100,000 and settled her case with him. And it was for Rose McGowan to prosecute that case.
I don't think you and I are working at a job, and we vet everybody we work for in terms of, not just sexual crimes, racism. Do I sit there and say to myself, I want to have a forensic psychiatrist come and examine the entire board of Warner Bros., and I will never take another paycheck from Warner Bros. until everybody on that board of directors that runs that company have been vetted that they're not racist, sexist, homophobic, you name it, I need to have a report on that?
And you could do the same thing.
You could site there and say, I'm never going to work for public television again until the board of directors that determines who pays your…
You get the idea.
And the point is, is, where do you draw that line, meaning we all go to work and assume — we give people the benefit of the doubt.
And where this thing with Harvey Weinstein and Rose McGowan came along was, I had no idea, until now, that she had settled the case. And many people have asked the question — The New York Times, in fact, printed an article about this. This was online.
And I found this very compelling. The New York Times wrote an article and said, do the settlement of these cases hurt the cause of exposing and bringing us to a place of real change? When women take money and are silenced by that money, even though they took the money and were silenced because they were told, beyond the money, it was the right thing for them to do, keep quiet, don't make too many waves, it is going to hurt your career, when they do it, nonetheless, does it set back the cause of change?
That's an issue, I think.
And we will have the rest of Jeff's conversation with Alec Baldwin next week, when his book "You Can't Spell America Without Me" is released.
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