Of the many Hollywood voices coming out of the woodwork to address the cloud of sexual assault allegations hovering over Harvey Weinstein, Ryan Coogler is one of the few that addressed the mogul by his name in a statement he made to the media. Weinstein purchased Coogler’s first feature film, Fruitvale Station, but had no business dealings with him after and was not aware of his “predatory behavior.” Coogler says, “My career did benefit from this brief involvement. Because of that, I feel a responsibility to speak up on this issue.”
In a thoughtful and thorough response, Coogler not only addressed Weinstein, but also how he is aware of gender inequality and sexual harassment in the industry and how, as a man in a position of privilege, “It is our responsibility to leverage our position, and be allies to the women in our industry” so that violations like these don’t continue to happen.
Read his full statement below.
I am disturbed and saddened at the news that several women have been victimized by a person I had come to know through the purchase of my first feature film. While I had no further business dealings with Harvey Weinstein, and no knowledge of this predatory behavior, my career did benefit from this brief involvement. Because of that, I feel a responsibility to speak up on this issue.
I love working as a storyteller. But I work in an industry that too many times has proven to not be a safe space for women. I make it a priority to ensure that there is gender equity and an inclusive work environment on every project I am involved with. However, just minding our business sometimes isn’t enough. It goes without saying, but I will state it now: sexual harassment is a human rights violation, sexual assault is a human rights violation, rape is a human rights violation.
The entertainment industry, like many others, has a historic imbalance of power among gender that allows these violations to run rampant. As men we sit in positions of privilege. It is our responsibility to leverage our position, and be allies to the women in our industry. We need to do everything we can to make sure violations like these don’t continue to happen. The first step is to listen. Salute to the brave women who came forward. I could never imagine how difficult that must be.