‘Spread their legs’

Feminist icon Germaine Greer sparks uproar with comments on Weinstein victims, #MeToo movement

Germaine Greer (Photo by Kane Hibberd/Getty Images)

Famed second-wave feminist Germaine Greer is under fire once more after claiming that Harvey Weinstein’s victims “spread [their] legs” in return for movie roles and then started “whingeing” about it. Greer, 78, made the controversial remarks in an interview with The Canberra Times shortly before she was named Australian of the Year during a gala event in London. She added that she was disappointed in French actress Catherine Deneuve — not because of Deneuve’s claim that the #MeToo movement was a puritanical “witch hunt” and that men should be “free to hit on” women in the workplace, but rather because the famous French actress had apologized for appearing to endorse harassment in her remarks.

“What makes it different is when the man has economic power, as Harvey Weinstein has,” Greer said in the interview. “But if you spread your legs because he said ‘be nice to me and I’ll give you a job in a movie,’ then I’m afraid that’s tantamount to consent, and it’s too late now to start whingeing about that.”

Greer also questioned the point of the #MeToo movement, dismissed Dylan Farrow’s claims that Woody Allen molested her when she was seven, and put forth a complicated argument in which she suggested that rape be dropped as a crime and be replaced with “a coherent law of sexual assault.” She also claimed that in her day women “weren’t afraid of [men] and we weren’t afraid to slap [men] down.”

In the wake of the explosive interview, feminists on social media expressed disappointment and anger with Greer, and questioned both her apparent victim shaming as well as her assertion that women used to simply “slap down” men who were assaulting or harassing them.

Read the full story at NME.com and The Canberra Times.

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