Maureen Lipman: ‘Lack of moral courage’ is allowing harassment to go unchecked in entertainment industry

Maureen Lipman. Photo: Adam Ben
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Maureen Lipman has claimed that “a lack of moral courage” has enabled a culture of harassment in the entertainment industry, adding drama schools should teach students how to respond to inappropriate behaviour.

Lipman, currently preparing to open in The Best Man in the West End, was responding to recent allegations of sexual harassment and bullying in the sector.

She said that women needed to take responsibility for their appearance, claiming this could often send out a “message”, but also claimed that drama schools needed to teach students how to stand up to inappropriate behaviour.

“The fact of the matter is, in this business, if you are going to wear a bondage dress on the red carpet, then you are sending out a message,” she said.

Lipman added: “Men should be able to control themselves and even a mother could not love Harvey Weinstein, but at the same time what we have to concentrate on is not who did what to whom, but teaching your sons and daughters to say no, politely, without anger and without emotion. And that’s it, because that is what you have to do. Nobody talks about that much at any drama school.”

Commenting on Weinstein, she said a “sensible agent” should never “send a beautiful 18-year-old in to see Harvey Weinstein on her own” and claimed: “There is a fantastic lack of moral courage throughout everything, I think.”

She said people had to “learn how to say no”, even if it meant compromising on future work opportunities.

“It’s not easy… that’s the choice you make,” she added. “That is what you [have to] talk to people at drama schools about – about moral integrity and how to do it without being offensive or pathetic. And that’s the difficulty, particularly for women, as we are taught to manipulate and not to say what we want. Therefore often, no sounds like yes.”