At the press junket for Taraji P. Henson’s new film What Men Want, Henson addressed the criticism she received for posting on her Instagram Stories the comparison between the number of people tweeting about the international #MuteRKelly movement to end the alleged child predator’s music career and, for some reason, the hashtag #MuteHarveyWeinstein.
“I made an observation, and people just went crazy,” Henson said. The observation seemed to be that hundreds of thousands of people all over the world were participating in the #MuteRKelly movement on Twitter, compared to the single post using #MuteHarveyWeinstein, suggesting that the same energy people–Black women, in particular–have for getting a predator of Black women and girls out the paint was not being used to remove Harvey Weinstein from positions of power.
However, Weinstein is currently on criminal trial, facing allegations of rape. He has been removed from his powerful perch at The Weinstein Co and the company has been dissolved. In fact, it was a Black woman’s movement, Tarana Burke’s #MeToo movement, that made Weinstein the first major Hollywood figure to face consequences for predatory behavior when the movement went mainstream in 2017. Henson’s video post to Instagram Stories came on the heels of the Surviving R. Kelly documentary which led to Sony dropping the artist. There are also several documentaries on Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior, including one that just premiered at Sundance Film Festival.
“I never made a statement,” Henson said in response to the backlash. “You never heard my voice. I had a question. Somebody can answer the question,” she laughed. “But instead you attack me. And you know which side I’m on. Why would I join the side of the predator when I have launched a foundation for mental illness in the Black community which help people who have suffered traumatic situations?”
Watch the video interview here: