By ANGELA CHEN
HONG KONG (AP) — Actress Michelle Yeoh said on Oct. 17 that she was aware of Harvey Weinstein’s reputation and would have unleashed “years of martial arts training” on the fallen Hollywood mogul had he ever tried to sexually harass her.
In a statement to The Associated Press, the Malaysian star added to the chorus of female voices speaking out about the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Weinstein, who produced or distributed many of Yeoh’s films and TV shows.
“Any man who treats women with such disrespect and contempt should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Yeoh, who stars in the new TV series “Star Trek: Discovery.”
“I knew he was a bully and not always honorable. I wasn’t exposed to this side of him, otherwise he would have experienced the full effect of years of martial arts training,” she said, without elaborating.
Their paths often crossed because Weinstein was passionate about Asian action movies, particularly kung fu flicks.
The Weinstein Co. was one of the producers of last year’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny,” a sequel in which Yeoh reprised her role from the original blockbuster martial arts film. The company also produced the Netflix series “Marco Polo,” a period epic in which Yeoh had a role.
Weinstein’s previous company, Miramax, distributed Yeoh’s earlier films. He was also a big donor to amfAR, an AIDS charity for which Yeoh, 55, is an ambassador.
Since allegations of Weinstein sexually harassing women over decades emerged in reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker, more than three dozen women have publicly accused him of abuse. Weinstein has also been fired by his movie company and been expelled from prestigious Hollywood groups, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — the home of the Oscars.
Zhang Ziyi, who also starred in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” said Weinstein often tried to work with her, but she refused. Weinstein tried to recruit her for the “Crouching Tiger” sequel by promising her an Oscar, she said.
The fallen mogul never sexually harassed her, her representative confirmed to AP.
“I feel lucky to have escaped working with Harvey Weinstein, even though it wasn’t from lack of trying on his part,” Zhang said in a statement. “The deals he offered were always balanced in his favor and I couldn’t accept them.
“Even though an Oscar is what every actor dream of but, I didn’t feel right that it should become something to be used in a trade,” the actress said.