“Make no mistake about it, he is a monster,” Katzenberg said of Weinstein during an on-stage interview late Monday at the Wall Street Journal D.Live conference in Laguna Beach, California.
“The problem is there is a pack of wolves; he is not a lone actor in this. That is what we really need to find a way to deal with.”
More than two dozen actresses including marquee stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Mira Sorvino have come forward saying they were sexually harassed by the producer.
“I am a hundred percent certain Harvey Weinstein was not alone in this,” said Katzenberg, who was chairman of Walt Disney Studios for a decade until 1994. He was even Weinstein’s boss for a while after Disney bought the Weinstein brothers’ Miramax production company in 1993.
“The casting couch has been around Hollywood from the beginning,” he said.
– Two Harveys –
Katzenberg said he did “a lot of soul-searching” on how he could have missed clues that Weinstein abused his position and assaulted or harassed female actresses seeking roles in films.
“There are two Harveys,” Katzenberg said.
“Somehow or other, this behavior was masked from me by him.”
He credited the courage of women who have spoken out, and said that “anyone in a leadership position in Hollywood today” is thinking about how to address the problem the situation has spotlighted.
“Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, our president — we are seeing this not just in our industry,” Katzenberg said.
The late Ailes was for decades the driving force behind Fox News, while O’Reilly was the network’s biggest star. Both were embroiled in career-crippling sex scandals.
President Donald Trump faced his own sex scandal last year when a 2005 video emerged in which he used crude language to boast about groping women.
“We can not let it go on like this. Something has to be done,” Katzenberg said.
Since the allegations emerged this month Hollywood has largely turned its back on Weinstein.
Katzenberg spoke on the same day that a film industry group representing thousands of workers began expulsion proceedings against Weinstein, who faces a litany of sexual assault allegations.
The Producers Guild of America unanimously voted to begin “termination proceedings concerning Harvey Weinstein’s membership,” a statement from the group said.
The guild also said that it created a task force to study sexual harassment, which should be “eradicated from the industry.”
The move follows the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — the group that holds the annual Oscars ceremony — which expelled Weinstein on Saturday.
Weinstein’s films have received more than 300 Oscar nominations and 81 statuettes, but this did not stop the group that he co-founded, The Weinstein Company, from firing him on October 8.
The Weinstein Company announced Monday that Colony Capital had agreed to provide an “immediate cash infusion” to scandal-plagued studio, and that the two parties were in talks on a potential sale.
The Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment allegations continues to reverberate in Hollywood and beyond. Thousands of women took to social media over the weekend in response to an appeal by actress Alyssa Milano to respond “me too” if they have been sexually assaulted or harassed.