Harvey Weinstein not ‘just one bad apple’, it’s a bigger problem, says Stellan Skarsgård

Swedish Hollywood actor Stellan Skarsgård has become the latest in the industry to comment on the sexual scandal surrounding disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.

Harvey Weinstein not 'just one bad apple', it's a bigger problem, says Stellan Skarsgård
Stellan Skarsgård, left, and Harvey Weinstein. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

A number of stars have accused American film producer Weinstein of sexual harrassment, including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow. The list is growing longer every day, with three women saying they were raped, allegations which he denies.

But according to one of Sweden's most famous actors, Stellan Skarsgård – who had an international breakthrough in Good Will Hunting (1997), produced by Weinstein among others – the problem goes further and deeper.

“The man has been crushed and it is pointless to keep kicking. It only makes people think that it's about one single bad apple when this is a problem that exists wherever there is power and powerlessness and lots of women and men are exposed to daily abuse. And only some of it has to do with sex,” Skarsgård said in a text message sent to public broadcaster SVT's culture news show Kulturnyheterna on Friday.

Swedish director Lisa Langseth, whose latest movie Euphoria was shown at the Toronto Film Festival, told Kulturnyheterna that Weinstein's behaviour was openly known as Hollywood's worst kept secret.

“It's is so good that this is out, everyone has known about this for ages. It is just strange it's taken this long,” said Langseth. “Everyone knew about it. I don't know him, but still knew about it.”

She told Kulturnyheterna she had experienced a similar culture of power and silence in the Swedish theatre world around 15 years ago, but not these days and never in the Swedish movie world, she said.

“It doesn't exist in the same way any more and I am convinced that such structures are unsustainable. Those people don't have that kind of power in Sweden. There aren't production companies like that, we're too small a country.”

On Thursday two French actors – Bond girl Léa Seydoux and Florence Darel – became the latest to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault, with Seydoux saying she had been forced to defend herself against him.

“We were talking on the sofa when he suddenly jumped on me and tried to kiss me. I had to defend myself,” Seydoux wrote in an article in The Guardian, while Darel told French media that Weinstein had promised to make her big in the US if she became his mistress. These are only some of the many allegations.

Weinstein has since been fired from his production company, his wife has said she is leaving him, and both NYPD and the Metropolitan police in London are investigating sexual abuse allegations made against him.

He denies many of the claims, saying via a spokesperson to The New Yorker that “with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, (he) believes that all of these relationships were consensual”.


Alexander Skarsgård thanks his mum in Emmy speech (and kisses Nicole Kidman)

Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård kissed Nicole Kidman and thanked his mother after winning his first Emmy for his role in HBO's drama series 'Big Little Lies'.

Alexander Skarsgård thanks his mum in Emmy speech (and kisses Nicole Kidman)
Alexander Skarsgård and Nicole Kidman at the Emmy Awards. Photo: Alex Berliner/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images

Skarsgård took home the category Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series for his emotional portrayal of spouse abuser Perry Wright, starring opposite Nicole Kidman, whose performance on the mini series was also awarded with an Emmy as outstanding female lead.

Created by David E Kelley based on a novel by Liane Moriarty, the dark comedy-drama has an impressive cast including well-known names such as Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern.

Without spoiling too much, Skarsgård's character does get his comeuppance and when he won his Emmy he slapped a kiss on Kidman's lips and got on stage to thank his co-stars, as well as the creators of the show.

“The ladies of the show… thank you for making this boy feel like one of the girls,” he said.

“Speaking of incredible women, I want to thank my mother who flew out all the way from Stockholm, Sweden, to be here tonight. That means a lot to me,” he continued.

“Oh, and thanks for giving birth to me, that was pretty cool.”

Alexander Skarsgård with Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and his Emmy. Photo: Christy Radecic/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images

Skarsgård, 41, has risen to Hollywood fame in the past few years, with roles including as vampire Eric Northman on HBO series True Blood and as Tarzan himself in the most recent Tarzan movie.

He is the eldest son of Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård and My Skarsgård, a doctor and therapist specializing in alcohol addiction. The couple had six children together before they divorced in 2007.

Alexander and his dad are not the only Skarsgårds who have hit the big screen. His younger brother Bill, 27, can currently be seen as Pennywise the clown in 'It', his brother Gustaf, 36, is best known outside Sweden for his role as Floki in the series Vikings, and 21-year-old Valter has starred in a string of Swedish films.

According to their father, however, the decision of four of his eight children in total to go into acting was never an idea that came from him, but a choice they made themselves.

“From the age of 16, it's not your business what they decide to do in life, you have to let them make those decisions themselves,” the 66-year-old actor told the Aftonbladet tabloid earlier this month.

“I'm really proud over the fact that they're all really nice, smart and good people. And of course I'm very happy that they've also become really great actors, because it would have been horrible for them otherwise. But I'm mostly proud over how all eight of them are when they're together and how they act toward each other.”