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Sarah Polley Says Harvey Weinstein Is ‘One Festering Pustule in a Diseased Industry’

The actor-turned-filmmaker shares her experiences in a New York Times essay.

Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley at the National Board of Review Awards in 2014


Sarah Polley has her own Harvey Weinstein story, and though the “Away From Her” and “Stories We Tell” director calls it “comparatively tame” it’s troubling all the same — especially because, as the actor-turned-filmmaker writes in the New York Times, the disgraced executive “was just one festering pustule in a diseased industry.” The incident itself is said to have taken place after a photo shoot for “Guinevere,” a film in which Polley starred that Miramax (then run by Weinstein) released in 1999.

Polley alleges that, during a meeting that two others were present for, Weinstein told her that the two of them having a “close relationship” would be beneficial for her career. “‘That’s how it works,’ I remember him telling me. The implication wasn’t subtle.” She says she rejected his unsubtle proposition in part because she “wasn’t very ambitious or interested in acting.”

Not long after, Polley started directing short films of her own. It was then that she thought even more about the “assistant directors trying to cajole me into sitting on their laps” and “groups of men standing around to assess how I looked in a particular piece of clothing.”

“Most directors are insensitive men,” she goes on. “And while I’ve met quite a few humane, kind, sensitive male directors and producers in my life, sadly they are the exception and not the rule. This industry doesn’t tend to attract the most gentle and principled among us.”

Polley argues that, in order for anything to change, people need to look within themselves and ask difficult questions. “What have we been willing to accept, out of fear, helplessness, a sense that things can’t be changed? What else are we turning a blind eye to, in all aspects of our lives? What else have we accepted that, somewhere within us, we know is deeply unacceptable? And what now will we do about it?” Read her full article here.

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