Kate Winslet made a statement with silence during her acceptance speech at the 2009 Oscars, refusing to thank producer Harvey Weinstein after winning the lead actress Oscar for The Reader.
"That was deliberate. That was absolutely deliberate," Winslet told the Los Angeles Times in an interview Saturday. "I remember being told, 'Make sure you thank Harvey if you win.' And I remember turning around and saying, 'No, I won't. No, I won't.' And it was nothing to do with not being grateful. If people aren't well-behaved, why would I thank him?"
Winslet, who beat out such nominees like Meryl Streep and Angelina Jolie that night to win the coveted statue, thanked 19 people by name (including her parents, who were in the audience) during her heartfelt speech, but purposely omitted Weinstein to make a point.
"He was bullying and nasty," she told the Times of her working relationship with him. "Going on a business level, he was always very, very hard to deal with – he was rude. He used to call my female agent a [vulgar name for a woman] every time he spoke to her on the telephone. ... And again, this is just on the business side of things, but he was always, always very, very, very unpleasant to deal with. Very."
At the time, the actress added that she was particularly appalled by Weinstein's "disgraceful behavior" in relation to the production schedule for The Reader – but "thankfully" didn't have any sexually inappropriate encounters with the now-disgraced producer. "My god. I somehow dodged that bullet," she said.
When allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Weinstein broke last week, Winslet was one of the industry's first big names to publicly condemn his actions.
"In my 20s, I was very forceful and I had a big voice and I would absolutely say things," Winslet said. "In my 30s, I didn't feel it was as necessary to go back over ground that I had visited before. I always stood by everything I said."
"Now I feel like, you know what, this is disgraceful, despicable behavior," she continued. "This kind of treatment of any workplace is utterly unacceptable. And hopefully what will happen is that more women will feel compelled to come forward – these women are victims of crime by a man who was always impossible to deal with. I hope that Harvey Weinstein absolutely is punished within the fullest extent of the law should that be the case."
Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow are among those who have stepped forward to recount their own experiences with Weinstein over the years. As a result of the allegations, the producer has been ousted from the Motion Picture Academy, fired from his eponymous film company and been denounced by public figures ranging from Barack Obama to Mia Farrow.