Blake Lively, in a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter, was asked to discuss the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment and assault accusations that the New York Times and the New Yorker reported earlier this week. Lively has known Weinstein for some time, THR notes, having been on a film business panel with him and then-First Lady Michelle Obama for high school students in 2013.
The reports were devastating to hear, Lively told THR. "That was never my experience with Harvey in any way whatsoever, and I think that if people heard these stories…I do believe in humanity enough to think that this wouldn’t have just continued. I never heard any stories like this—I never heard anything specific—but it’s devastating to hear."
Lively stressed to THR the importance of remembering these incidents happen everywhere, "in every single industry. It happens to women all over the place, all the time, to the point where women don’t even think that this is a real assault."
"I’ve had plenty of things happen to me whether it be trying on a dress for prom at some clothing store, to a director being inappropriate, to a guy walking down the street where you don’t think, ‘Oh well, that wasn’t actually sexual assault—this guy just, like, grabbed my butt.’"
"It's important that women are furious right now," Lively said. "It's important that there is an uprising. It's important that we don't stand for this and that we don’t focus on one or two or three or four stories, it's important that we focus on humanity in general and say, 'This is unacceptable.’"
Lively is one of many Hollywood actors and actresses who have spoken out in the last few days. Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Cara Delevingne shared stories of their own experiences with Weinstein. A spokesperson for Weinstein issued a statement earlier this week where he "unequivocally denied" any allegations of nonconsensual sex, and added that "there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances." View his full statement here.