Going public about being sexually assaulted by disgraced ex-movie mogul Harvey Weinstein at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 has, unsurprisingly, been a difficult process for Italian writer/director/actress Asia Argento. Along with the personal tumult of reliving her trauma in the press, after coming forward last October Argento was forced to flee her native Italy amid an intense wave of victim-blaming backlash. Yesterday, she confronted another demon by returning to Cannes to talk about what happened to her at the place where it happened—and to let the predators yet to be exposed know that their time will come.
Argento gave a speech during the festival’s awards ceremony, where Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda and Spike Lee took the two top prizes of the night; just before the presentation of the award for Best Actress, Argento took the stage to hold the attendees of the glittering ceremony accountable for turning a blind eye to Weinstein’s serial sexual abuse. As The Hollywood Reporter puts it, Argento received a round of enthusiastic applause when she came out on stage, but her short, but blistering speech quickly rendered the audience silent.
The full text and video of Argento’s speech is below.
In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes. I was 21 years old. This festival was his hunting ground. I want to make a prediction: Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again. He will live in disgrace, shunned by a film community that once embraced him and covered up for his crimes. Even tonight sitting among you, there are those that need to be held accountable for their conduct against women. For behavior that does not belong in this industry, that does not belong in any industry or workplace. You know who you are. But most importantly, we know who you are, and we’re not going to allow you to get away with it any longer.