In Brief

Germaine Greer criticises ‘whingeing’ #MeToo campaigners

Feminist says actresses ‘spreading legs’ for roles is ‘tantamount to consent’

Germaine Greer has criticised the Hollywood #MeToo movement, saying actresses should stop “whingeing” about sexual harassment if they allowed contact in exchange for a film role.

The outspoken Australian feminist also says she wants to see women react to sexual harassment by taking direct and immediate action, because in the “old days” women were not afraid to “slap down” men who leered at them.

Greer, 78, allegedly made her controversial comments in an interview ahead of a ceremony in London on Saturday, at which she was named Australian of the Year. Speaking about the recent Hollywood sex abuse scandal, she reportedly told Fairfax Media: “What makes it different is when the man has economic power, as Harvey Weinstein has. But if you spread your legs because he said ‘be nice to me and I’ll give you a job in a movie’ then I’m afraid that’s tantamount to consent, and it’s too late now to start whingeing about that.”

The outburst has met with criticism.

The Sydney Morning Herald columnist Natalie Reilly claims Greer is out of touch, saying: “It’s not that her views are outrageous (this is hardly news). But that her motivation, once high-minded, is now, in 2018, obsolete.”

“Perhaps Germaine Greer should pause to check her privilege,” says the Herald Sun’s Wendy Tuohy. 

“Greer was presumably assigned the privilege of becoming Australian of the Year off the back of her decades-old brand as a women’s rights warrior. It’s sad to think that maybe that, too, is historical,” Tuohy adds.

The Independent notes that this isn’t the first time Greer’s comments have landed her in hot water: her beliefs about transgender women have also been questioned.

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