When news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct broke, Jennifer Lawrence was having lunch with Oprah Winfrey — and they talked about everything but the producer. A few weeks later, The Hollywood Reporter brought the two together again so Winfrey could interview Lawrence, and they finally had the Weinstein conversation.
“We do have a responsibility to say something; we’ve all worked with him, but everybody needed a moment,” Lawrence said. “Just speaking for myself, I had known him since I was 20, and he had only ever been nice to me — except for the moments that he wasn’t, and then I called him an asshole, and we moved on. He was paternal to me. So I needed a moment to process everything because I thought I knew this guy, and then he’s being accused of rape.”
“We all knew he was a dog, we knew that he was … a brute, a tough guy to negotiate with,” Lawrence elaborated. “I didn’t know that he was a rapist. And it’s so widespread, the abuse, from so many different people — it’s directors, it’s producers — that I think everybody needed to [process it]. Everybody needs to deal with this in their own way; everybody needs to heal.”
Lawrence said the stories coming out about women’s experiences with abuse in Hollywood are “horrible,” and that she was particularly scarred by the audio recording of Weinstein trying to coerce Ambra Battilana Gutierrez.
“I don’t know a woman who hasn’t been touched by some sort of abuse,” Lawrence told Oprah. “I’m sad by the women’s stories, but I’m excited by the change that’s going to come from it. The rule book is being rewritten right now. People are terrified. I mean, specifically, men using their power to abuse women.”
Lawrence briefly discussed some of the abuse she experienced firsthand, such as being called “fuckable” and having to stand in a nude lineup with other women for physical comparison. She first opened up about it in October, right after the Weinstein news broke.
“People at the beginning of their careers don’t want to rock the boat because if you rock the boat, you’ll be called difficult,” Lawrence said. “How can there be rules in place where there are certain ways that you just cannot treat people? Or a commission, somebody that they can call? If every A-list actor decides to join this commission, we know everybody in the industry. I know every studio head in town. If I’m on this commission, and [if] I get an email about somebody being treated badly on a set, I can send an email. We have to all put our heads together and figure out how to not let this moment go, not just be like, ‘Oh, well, that was crazy.’ Something has to really get done.”
The key to getting it done, according to Lawrence (and others), is social change.
“Men need more social awareness. But this comes down to equality, and until all women in every job are paid equally for the same amount of work, how are we ever going to be thought of as equals?” she said. “As long as there is one group of humans that is overruling another one, there’s going to be abuse, [and] why would we be thought of as equals?”
Speaking of socially aware men: Lawrence hasn’t met Donald Trump, but she says she’d like to.
“I’ve got a pretty good speech. And it ends with a martini to the face,” she told Oprah. “I have something to say for all of them. I watch different characters on the news, and I’m like, ‘You just wait.'”