Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia has lifted the lid on the Harvey Weinstein scandal in an interview on Nine this morning, revealing that he'd heard whispers about Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment for "25 years".

Speaking to Karl Stefanovic and Deborah Knight on the Today show, film and TV veteran LaPaglia insisted that many people in Hollywood had known about Weinstein's reputation.

Harvey Weinstein attends the 'Lion' premiere last year. Photo / Getty
Harvey Weinstein attends the 'Lion' premiere last year. Photo / Getty

"What I can tell you is that it is impossible to have worked in this business more than, you know, five years and not to have known that story," he said, referring to the dozens of unwanted incidents of sexual harassment women have alleged Weinstein subjected them to over the years.

"Everybody who says it is an elite Hollywood cover-up is being disingenuous. I knew the stories for 25 years, and everybody around me knew the same stories. So I'm saying it is much more widespread than, 'This is some great hidden secret'," he revealed.

Advertisement

"What I think people don't quite grasp is the power that the Weinstein company and Harvey had in Hollywood. I mean, it was SPECTACULAR.

Anthony LaPaglia spoke out about the Weinstein allegations this morning.
Anthony LaPaglia spoke out about the Weinstein allegations this morning.

People were afraid of speaking up because if you spoke up, you were never working for the Weinstein company ever. You were likely to find trouble elsewhere. They had so much power because, it's going to sound terrible ..."

Stefanovic interjected with another question at this point, leaving his guest's sentence unfinished.

LaPaglia, who has been working as an actor in the US for 30 years, said the alleged encounters were a "disgusting ... abuse of power," largely preying on young women who were "genuinely chasing a dream".

"They're not expecting to be sexually harassed or sexually messed with. Suddenly they've got this man who has enormous power to make or break a movie, to make or break an actor, actress, anyone. He was old school Hollywood mogul power."

Actor Anthony LaPaglia watches on during the round 20 A-League match between the Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC at Etihad Stadium on December 19, 2009. Photo / Getty
Actor Anthony LaPaglia watches on during the round 20 A-League match between the Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC at Etihad Stadium on December 19, 2009. Photo / Getty

LaPaglia pointed to the sly references peppered through pop culture in recent years as evidence that many in the entertainment industry knew about Weinstein.

"Listen, there are other people like that, but it does not represent the business as a whole. There is not an elite Hollywood cover-up of it. I mean, it is just - I am not apologising for everybody not speaking up. But people tried and they were shut down," he said.