Hillary Clinton said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday that she will donate the money Harvey Weinstein contributed to her political campaigns after multiple sexual assault allegations were leveled against the powerful Hollywood mogul.
Clinton, in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria as part of her ongoing book tour, said she was “sick” and “shocked” when she found out about the sexual assault allegations, first revealed in a bombshell report by The New York Times and then further reported in a detailed report by The New Yorker.
“I was appalled. It was something that was just intolerable in every way,” she said. “And, you know, like so many people who’ve come forward and spoken out, this was a different side of a person who I and many others had known in the past.”
On her donations, Clinton added that it wasn’t possible to give the money back but that she would donate it to charity. “What other people are saying, what my former colleagues are saying, is they’re going to donate it to charity, and of course I will do that,” she said. “I give 10% of my income to charity every year, this will be part of that. There’s no — there’s no doubt about it.”
Clinton said she had no idea that Weinstein acted that way in private, despite some in Hollywood saying that people close to him had known.
“I certainly didn’t, and I don’t know who did,” she said. “But I can only speak for myself, and I think speak for many others who knew him primarily through politics.”
Weinstein has long been a top Democratic donor and during the 2016 campaign he served as a key bridge between the Clinton campaign and the wealthy world of Hollywood stars.
Throughout Clinton’s political career, Weinstein helped raise around $1.5 million for Democrats and associated groups by bundling donations, according to data from the campaign finance-tracking Center for Responsive Politics.
Clinton also headlined multiple fundraisers hosted by Weinstein.
The two were also personally close: In 2015, the Clintons rented a home next to Weinstein in the Hamptons.
Clinton said Wednesday that she would have considered the Hollywood producer a friend.
“People in Democratic politics for a couple of decades appreciated his help and support. And I think these stories coming to light now,” She said. “And people who never spoke out before having the courage to speak out, just clearly demonstrates that this behavior that he engaged in, cannot be tolerated and cannot be overlooked.”
Clinton’s initial silence — it took her days to release a statement — was perplexing to some Democrats, with even some longtime advisers privately questioning the decision not to quickly weigh in.
“I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein,” Clinton said in a statement five days after the allegations broke, 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.”
Pressure grew on Clinton after her former running mate and Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine told CNN on Tuesday that “any leader should condemn” Weinstein.
In the interview, Clinton also heralded the women who have spoken out against Weinstein.
“The courage of these women coming forward now is really important because it can’t just end with one person’s disgraceful behavior and the consequences that he is now facing,” she said. “This has to be a wake-up call and shine a bright spotlight on anything like this behavior anywhere, at any time.”
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