Downing Street has expressed renewed concern over the allegations of sexual harassment by the movie mogul HarveyWeinstein.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said women who came forward with complaints such as those made against the Jewish film maker should be praised for their courage.
The spokesman again emphasised that any decision to strip Weinstein of his honorary CBE was a matter for the independent Honours Forfeiture Committee.
“The reports over the recent days are deeply concerning. Any unwanted sexual activity is completely unacceptable and any allegations should be investigated,” the spokesman said.
“Anyone who comes forward to report these kind of allegations should be praised for their courage.
“The independent Honours Forfeiture Committee considers cases where the honours system has been brought into disrepute.
“Their discussions are confidential. It is right that we let them get on with their work.”
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) has already announced it had suspended his membership, effective immediately.
Meanwhile, a number of senior Labour politicians have signed a letter to Theresa May calling for Harvey Weinstein to be stripped of his CBE.
The open letter to the Prime Minister has been signed by shadow industrial strategy minister Chi Onwurah, shadow minister for labour Jack Dromey, shadow secretary of state for women and equalities Dawn Butler, shadow arts and heritage minister Kevin Brennan and the head of the Women’s Parliamentary Labour Party, Jess Phillips.
The letter describes the accusations against Weinstein as “unacceptable and intolerable” and says keeping his honorary CBE in place risks “bringing the honours system into disrepute”.
It reads: “You must be aware of the recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein CBE.
“Last week the reported eight allegations of sexual harassment brought to trial against Mr Weinstein which were settled out of court.”
The allegations mentioned in the letter include “a $100,000 settlement from Weinstein to Rose McGowan” and “a case with an unnamed assistant, whom he reportedly tried to convince to give him a massage while he stood naked in front of her at a hotel”.
The Labour letter refers to Weinstein‘s apology released last week in which he said: “I came of age in the 60s and 70s, when all the rules about behaviour and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”
The MPs say: “These actions are unacceptable and intolerable. They were unacceptable in the 1960s, they are unacceptable now and they may well be criminal under US and UK law.
“These revelations prove that Mr Weinstein has fallen far short of the standards we expect from recipients of a CBE. His continued membership runs the risk of bringing the honours system into disrepute and, moreover, sending the deeply troubling signal that our Government does not take women’s voices or allegations of sexual harassment seriously.
“We are therefore calling upon your Government to act urgently and strip Mr Weinsteinof his honorary CBE.”
Ms Onwurah said in a statement: “Everyone has the absolute right to work in whatever role their talents take them without being subject to sexual harassment – that is as true for the entertainment industry as any sector in the British economy.
“These allegations of sexual harassment and assault need to be taken seriously and it is unacceptable that someone accused of these appalling and potentially criminal acts should retain the honour of a CBE.
“The Government should act swiftly to start the process of stripping Weinstein‘s CBE from him, or it will send a profoundly worrying message about the value it places on women’s voices, our safety, our working environment and as a consequence the UK economy. Britain’s economic prosperity depends on everyone being able to contribute fully.”
On Monday, Labour MP Stella Creasy called for the removal of Weinstein‘s CBE.
She told the Press Association: “A CBE is an honour you get because you’ve done something that makes you someone our kids should look up to – not someone a woman should fear.
“It takes real courage to speak out against someone in a position of such influence – removing the CBE from Harvey Weinstein would send a strong message to victims of sexual harassment around the world that we believe them, and that being in a position of power doesn’t mean you can act without respect towards others.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.