Hillary Clinton 'shocked and appalled' by Weinstein accusations

Hillary Clinton condemned disgraced Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein on Tuesday, marking her first public comments on the matter since reports of his alleged predatory behavior broke five days ago.

"I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein," Clinton said in a statement through her spokesman Nick Merrill. "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."

 

 

Weinstein is a longtime associate of the Clintons and a major Democratic Party donor who bundled funds for their political campaigns.

Many Democratic office holders quickly repudiated Weinstein, with some going so far as to send donations given by Weinstein to charity. But Clinton's statement makes no mention of Weinstein's sizable donations to her own war chest.

Representatives for the former secretary of state and former President Bill Clinton had previously not responded to requests for comment about Weinstein, whose ties to the Clintons go back years, from the Clinton presidency to the former first lady's successful campaign for Senate.

Clinton spoke in California Monday night as part of her book tour and did not address the allegations, nor was she asked about them during the 90-minute event.

In 2015, the Clintons rented a home next to Weinstein in the Hamptons, and Weinstein served as a connector between Hollywood stars and Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.

Weinstein raised about $1.5 million from 1990-2016, according to data from the campaign finance-tracking Center for Responsive Politics, and was involved in fundraisers for Clinton's effort, some of which she headlined.

Prior to Tuesday's announcement, longtime Hillary Clinton aides were confused by the former secretary of state's silence on the issue, questioning -- in private -- why she had not weighed in at all.

A bombshell report in The New York Times detailed decades of sexual harassment by Weinstein, and just three days after its publication, Weinstein was fired by the company he founded.

On Tuesday, The New Yorker published a major story in which several women alleged sexual assault by Weinstein. Through his representative, Sallie Hofmeister, Weinstein denied "any allegations of non-consensual sex."

The reports have put Democrats under pressure to disavow Weinstein and return or donate contributions from him to charity.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, for example, said in a CNN interview on Sunday that Democrats should give any money they received from Weinstein back.

The offices of former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden declined to comment as well. Weinstein was a bundler -- someone who gathers donations from others into large sums -- for the Obama-Biden 2012 effort.

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