Obamas say they are 'disgusted' by Weinstein allegations

Obamas say they are 'disgusted' by Weinstein allegations
© Getty Images

Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump has the right foreign policy strategy — he just needs to stop talking The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump faces bipartisan criticism over Putin presser, blames media for coverage Wall Street Journal editorial board rips Trump on Helsinki: It was a 'national embarrassment' MORE and former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaQueen Elizabeth wore brooch from Obamas on the day Trump arrived in the UK: reports Obama: 'I'm actually surprised by how much money I got' Michelle Obama attends Beyonce and Jay-Z concert in Paris MORE said on Tuesday they are "disgusted" by the alleged behavior of Harvey Weinstein, who is facing growing accusations of sexual harassment and rape. 


"Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status," they said in a joint statement. 

They added that "we should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. And we all need to build a culture — including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect — so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future.”

Both the former president and first lady were facing growing criticism for remaining on the sidelines despite the mounting accusations against Weinstein, who is a major Democratic donor and contributed to Obama's 2012 presidential campaign. 

In the 2012 cycle, Weinstein donated more than $5,000 to Obama for America and more than $66,000 to the Obama Victory Fund, according to the Federal Election Commission.

The statement did not address what, if anything, would happen to Weinstein's donations. 

The Hollywood film producer was also a bundler for Obama, including teaming up with Vogue editor Anna Wintour for at least two fundraisers for Obama in 2012, where a top-flight roster of liberal donors paid $35,800 to co-host and individuals paid $10,000 each to get in.

In total, Weinstein has given more than $1.4 million to federal candidates, parties and PACs between 1990 and 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Most of that funding was aimed at helping Democrats.

Republicans have seized on the growing scandal and have criticized the Obamas for remaining silent. 

Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, took a swipe at Michelle Obama via social media on Tuesday.

“So Michelle Obama speaks out against women in the @GOP, but won’t stand up for the women assaulted by Weinstein?” she said on Twitter.

The former first lady praised Weinstein in 2013 as a “wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse.”

The Obama's statement comes hours after Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Dem pollster: GOP women have a more difficult time winning primary races than Dems Mellman: (Mis)interpreting elections MORE also weighed in on the Weinstein scandal, saying she was "shocked and appalled." 

“The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior," the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate said in a statement.

But the comments come five days after The New York Times published an initial bombshell investigative story detailing decades of sexual assault accusations against Weinstein. 

Both the Times and The New Yorker each published additional accounts on Tuesday from women accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment, including allegations of rape from three women. 

Weinstein, who was fired from his spot as co-chairman of The Weinstein Company over the allegations, has denied wrongdoing.