INDIANAPOLIS — Film director and activist Rob Reiner said the Harvey Weinstein allegations and President Trump’s election prove how difficult it is for women facing sexual harassment to come forward now.
Reiner made the remarks while attending the premiere of the movie LBJ on the opening night of the Heartland Film Festival at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields Thursday. Reiner is the director of the film.
“When you have a president of the United States who admitted to sexually harassing women and he still gets elected, that shows you how difficult it is for women and what they’re up against,” Reiner said.
Reiner said he thinks there are steps that can be taken to change the Hollywood culture in light of the growing number of allegations against Weinstein. It will take men speaking up.
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“I think it’s up to the men,” Reiner said. “And I don’t mean the men who are sexually abusing women. I’m talking about men who don’t do that, who may be now more aware there are others doing it and call them out.”
Reiner said women face a difficult decision when coming forward with a claim of sexual harassment. They face being called a liar, being told they deserved it or being punished by men in more powerful positions.
“Because I look at the difficulty that women have and when you look at something like this, it’s been 30 years and finally it’s coming out,” Reiner said. “Look at what happened in Fox News. It took a long time for that to come out and finally it does.”
Reiner said he believes the public mindset must change to take steps forward. He again pointed to the presidential election as proof.
“You have a president who openly admits to doing it and the public seems to be fine with that,” Reiner said. “Well, it’s not fine.”
Reiner’s LBJ brings a political discussion to Heartland. The film stars Woody Harrelson as Lyndon B. Johnson during the former president’s rise to the nation’s top office in the wake of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Reiner had previously told The Indianapolis Star that the film was finished well before Trump took office.
“I made the film a year ago,” Reiner said this summer, “but once Trump became president, it was completely different seeing it through the prism of knowing who’s in the Oval Office. You look at Johnson, this brilliant legislator and dedicated public servant, and how committed he was to getting things done and the contrast is so stark. The film took on a different patina because of that.”