“I have a few words to say,” said actress Asia Argento, with Cannes jury member Ava DuVernay stood beside her. “In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes. I was 21 years old. The festival was his hunting ground.”

The actress was among the first women to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct before the #MeToo movement kicked off last year. She continued to be one of its most vocal members, as she delivered an impassioned speech on the closing day of the Cannes Film Festival in France.

 

“I want to make a prediction,” Argento said during her remarks, “Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again. He will live in disgrace, shunned by a film community that once embraced him and covered up for his crimes. Even tonight sitting among you, there are those that need to be held accountable for their conduct against women. You know who you are.

“But, most importantly,” she continued, “we know who you are, and we will not allow you to get away with it any longer.”

 

Argento entered the stage to loud applause before she started her speech, which eventually silenced the crowd. But as soon as she began, the room was visibly stunned, with ‘viewers unsure of how to react and looking around nervously,’ according to Hollywood Reporter.

Many were shocked, given that Argento was so directly accusing the festival crowd of its role in abetting Weinstein’s alleged abuses against women. After Argento’s speech, jury president Cate Blanchett then stood and said, “It is complicated as a woman to stand,” as the room remained palpably tense.

After the rise in support for the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns, the Cannes Film Festival has come increasingly under fire for its ‘entrenched culture,’ as Rebecca Keegan reported for Vanity Fair.

Rules requiring women to wear heels on the red carpet, and yacht parties brimming with sex workers ‘have made for a rougher adjustment’ said the report

“The entire world has changed,” festival creative director Thierry Frémaux said during a press conference at Cannes.  “We were deeply shocked [by the Weinstein allegations]. We indeed condemned his behavior. . . . We questioned ourselves and our own practices.”