Jane Fonda Feels 'Ashamed' For Not Speaking Out on Harvey Weinstein, Emma Thompson Calls Him a 'Predator'

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Jane Fonda and Emma Thompson
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris, Rich Polk/Getty Images

Jane Fonda says she'd heard about Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct long before the scandal broke last week, and she's "ashamed" she never spoke out about it.

Sitting down with CNNMoney's Christiane Amanpour on Thursday, the Grace and Frankie star said she's "glad" the sexual harassment accusations are coming out and she's "so proud of those fellow actors that are speaking up."

"I know that it’s taken a long time. It’s a very, very, very, hard thing to do. You don’t get anything out of it as the person who has been victimized. But it’s important that it come out," Fonda said.

Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct and sexual assault by dozens of women who have come forth over the last week, with allegations stretching back over three decades.

However, the 79-year-old actress said she "found out about Harvey about a year ago, and I'm ashamed that I didn't say anything right then."

When asked why she didn't speak out, Fonda said, "Because I guess it hadn’t happened to me and so I didn’t feel it was my place."

"One of the women who has spoken out, Rosanna Arquette, told me, and it came as a shock and a great disappointment," Fonda said.

Arquette recently opened up in a lengthy expose in The New Yorker, where the Pulp Fiction actress claimed she rejected Weinstein's advances in a hotel room in the early '90s. She said agreed to meet Weinstein for dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel to look at a new script, but was told to meet him upstairs in his hotel room.

She then claimed Weinstein opened the door wearing a bathrobe, and after telling her he needed a massage, grabbed her hand. She alleges that the incident escalated when, after yanking her hand away, the producer allegedly grabbed it again and pulled it towards his visibly erect penis.

"My heart was really racing. I was in a fight-or-flight moment,” Arquette said. The actress claimed that, after rejecting Weinstein's advances, "He made things very difficult for me for years."

Speaking with CNNMoney, Fonda also addressed claims that Weinstein's alleged behavior was "an open secret" in Hollywood. Fonda said she "didn't realize that" before a year ago, but feels that many people likely knew.

After decrying the prevalence of horrifying sexual harassment in both Hollywood and the world in general, she admitted that she too has been the target of unwanted advances in the past, but not by Weinstein.

Fonda said that when she was 20, a French director tried to get her to sleep with him after flying out to Los Angeles to meet with her about a role in one of his films. Fonda said she turned him down, but still ended up getting the role.

The actress added that she would encourage any woman who finds herself in a situation like that to turn it down, no matter what they are afraid of losing.

“You have to understand that you have control over your body and that you have to say no and you have to talk and tell when something like that happens," Fonda said. "If we all talked and told, then they would be too afraid to do it, I think. I hope."

On Thursday, Emma Thompson joined the chorus of celebrities who have condemned Weinstein during an interview with BBC Newsnight.

"What I find sort of extraordinary is that this man is at the top of a very particular iceberg, you know he’s — I don’t think you can describe him as a 'sex addict,' he's a predator,"  Thompson said.

A source recently told ET that Weinstein had been planning on checking into a facility to seek treatment for sex addition.

"[He's] at the top of the ladder of a system of harassment, and belittling, and bullying, and interference, and what my mother would have referred to in the old days as 'pestering,'" Thompson said. 

"This has been part of our world, women’s world, since time immemorial. So what we need to start talking about is the crisis in masculinity, the crisis of extreme masculinity, which is this sort of behavior, and the fact that it is not OK," she added.

Thompson also alleges that sexual harassment in Hollywood is widespread and that this could be a tipping point that might lead to change.

"Let's just say it's endemic… I’ve spent my twenties trying to get old men’s tongues out of my mouth because they just thought 'Well, she's up for it.' So I would imagine that that happens really very regularly, and so perhaps this is a moment when we can say to men and women: 'Open your eyes and open your mouths and say something.'"

Since the sexual misconduct scandal broke last week, Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company, the independent film studio he co-founded with his brother, Bob Weinstein, in 2005. He was also left by his wife of 10 years, Georgina Chapman.

Additionally, the list of accusuers has grown, and includes actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan, Cara Delevingne, Asia Argento, Mira Sorvino and dozens of others.

A spokesperson for Weinstein, Sallie Hofmeister, issued a statement to The New Yorker in response to the allegations, and said Weinstein denies any allegations of non-consensual sex.

For more on the ongoing scandal and the many accusations leveled against Weinstein, watch the video below.