Like many of her female celebrity peers who’ve worked in the film industry, Madonna has had an unfortunate run-in with Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced film executive who has been deemed a serial sexual abuser by more than 80 women. The pop star recently opened up about her experience working alongside Weinstein, during her Truth or Dare era—a documentary which he distributed —and it sounds sadly familiar.
“Harvey crossed lines and boundaries and was incredibly sexually flirtatious and forward with me when we were working together,” she told The New York Times Magazine. “He was married at the time, and I certainly wasn’t interested.”
Even at that point, Madonna remembers, Weinstein had a reputation for sexual misconduct. “I was aware that he did the same with a lot of other women that I knew in the business,” she said. “And we were all, ‘Harvey gets to do that because he’s got so much power and he’s so successful and his movies do so well and everybody wants to work with him, so you have to put up with it.’ So that was it.”
When Weinstein was finally held accountable for his actions, and fell from his position of power in the process, Madonna said she felt satisfied. “When it happened, I was really like, ‘Finally,’” she said. “I wasn’t cheering from the rafters because I’m never going to cheer for someone’s demise. I don’t think that’s good karma anyway. But it was good that somebody who had been abusing his power for so many years was called out and held accountable.”
While being questioned, Madonna was also asked whether women can misuse their power, to which she replied, “It’s good to be strong, but again, it’s always about, where’s that strength coming from? What are your intentions? What is the context that you’re using your strength in? Are you abusing your power? Women can also abuse their power. And if that’s also backed up by a lack of intelligence, emotional or intellectual, a lack of life experience, a lack of compassion, then it’s really a bad mixture.”
As for Weinstein, though, Madonna has a theory about him and Donald Trump: “They’re overcompensating for how insecure they feel,” she said, adding, “A man who is secure with himself, a human who is secure with themselves, doesn’t have to go around bullying people all the time.”