Anne-Marie Duff: Weinstein was so powerful, it would be hard to speak out

Anne-Marie Duff has said “core issues” involving women in the film industry need to be addressed before “financial issues” over gender inequality are solved.

The British actress discussed the scandal around film producer Harvey Weinstein – whose alleged behaviour she called “disgraceful” – and problems around “respect” for women in Hollywood and other industries.

Weinstein has a litany of sexual harassment allegations stacked against him from a number of actresses, and Duff said it would have been difficult for people to speak out against the “powerful” man before now.

Speaking to ITV’s Lorraine, Duff said: “We are all talking about it – we should be, it’s disgraceful behaviour.

“I’ve worked on a couple of films that Harvey’s company was responsible for distributing in America.

“You have to understand how powerful this man has been. And that’s the issue really, because we have this notion about a ‘casting couch’, but it goes beyond that.”

The former Shameless star continued: “Ultimately, you’re looking at the man who is responsible for getting movies into cinemas, so for a lot of young actors and actresses, if somebody says, ‘if you don’t do this for me then the whole film’s future can be affected’, that’s an awful weight of responsibility.

“We often talk about parity in pay for men and women in our industry, but unless we address core issues like respect – just for your very existence as a female within the industry – we cannot then look at things like financial issues.”

Weinstein faces a litany of sexual harassment allegations against him (Jordan Strauss/AP/PA)

Asked by host Lorraine Kelly if the backlash against Weinstein is going to change things, Duff said: “I hope so.

“I’m sure it’s not just our industry. It goes on everywhere but absolutely, of course, as soon as you lift the big old rock, out crawls all the nastiness, you know?

“But it’s good, we only get rid of it by talking about it and naming it.”

Duff, who appeared on the morning programme to discuss her new play, Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle, at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre, appeared in 2009 film Nowhere Boy, which was distributed by the Weinstein Company.

Weinstein, the co-founder of the film studio, was sacked on Sunday following the allegations against him.

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