Steven Spielberg once had to fire an employee after a complaint about their inappropriate behavior.
Spielberg, 71, who founded the movie companies DreamWorks Studios and Amblin Entertainment, addressed the sexual harassment and assault scandals sweeping Hollywood in an interview with The Guardian.
When asked if he’d been aware of the seedy side of the movie industry, the director recalled a time when he had to deal with a case of bad behavior.
“There was some inappropriate behavior years and years ago inside my own company, which we dealt with and dismissed the person involved in that,” he explained. “But I’ve always had small companies with no more than 70 employees, and my companies have always been run by women. I find when companies are run by women, there’s less of a chance for men to get away with that kind of behavior.”
Allegations of sexual misconduct hit the headlines last October (17), when multiple women, including the actresses Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan, Mira Sorvino, Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow, came forward to accuse movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of wrongdoing ranging from harassment to rape.
Spielberg admits he was wary of Weinstein but did not know about the allegations until they appeared in the press.
“I knew that he was a bully, and I knew that he was a very intimidating competitor,” he sighed. “But I learned for the first time about his sexual proclivities when I read the (New Yorker magazine) story by Ronan Farrow.”
Numerous other entertainment figures have been accused of misconduct, including Kevin Spacey, and directors James Toback and Brett Ratner.
Spielberg added in his chat with The Guardian that although sexual misconduct is currently under the spotlight, the problem is as old as the entertainment industry itself.
“(I was) Certainly aware of the existence probably all the way back to William Shakespeare’s time of the casting couch, and the prevalence of sexual abuse and sexual intimidation in the old Hollywood of the 1920s, 30s and 40s,” the respected filmmaker said.