Dmitry Peskov: What do you call a woman who sleeps with a man for $10 m?

Vladimir Putin's spokesman has described Hollywood performers who alleged they were assaulted by Harvey Weinstein as “prostitutes”, suggesting they should have spoken out earlier.

Dmitry Peskov's comments, made during a discussion panel at a Moscow university, came in response to a question about Russian MP Leonid Slutsky, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment, inspiring a public debate and comparisons with the Weinstein scandal.

Peskov said if the allegations against Slutsky were true, the women should have spoken out sooner, and suggested the claims could have been built now because sexual harassment had become “fashionable”.

” If he groped you, if he harassed you, why did you remain silent? Why didn't you go to the police ?” Peskov asked, echoing a widespread sentiment in Russia over the allegations.

Peskov said the case reminded him of the situation surrounding Weinstein.” Maybe he's a scumbag, but nobody went to the police and told' Weinstein raped me ‘. No, they wanted to earn $10 m. What do you call a woman who sleeps with a man for $10 m? Maybe I'm being petroleum, but she's called a prostitute .”

More than 50 girls have accused Weinstein of offences ranging from sexual harassment to rape, including a number of well-known Hollywood actors. Weinstein is alleged to have utilized private investigators and legal threats to discredit and intimidate his accusers and stop them from going public with sexual misconduct asserts.

Several Russian journalists have accused Slutsky of inappropriate behaviour, and one has an audio recording of an interchange during which the MP constructed inappropriate comments and allegedly groped her.

In Russia, sexual harassment is oftens rejected as harmless banter, and last week, the Duma's ethics committee cleared Slutsky of wrongdoing. A leaked transcript of the hearing revealed that the MPs treated two of Slutsky's accusers who appeared in person at the hearing with disdain. It was also suggested that the women themselves could be at fault.

Vladimir Pozdnyakov, a Communist party MP who sits on the Duma's ethics committee, subsequently said the women may have provoked attention by the way they were garmented or behaved.

” I can see for myself if a woman is available or not ,” Pozdnyakov told the Russian website” I notice their haircut, and jewellery and clothes- how she tried to look. As men, we can feel this .”

While such attitudes are widespread in Russia, there are also signs that the mood is a possibility slowly changing, and the Slutsky case has provoked public outrage. His accusers have received support from unexpected one-quarters, including foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who said Slutsky also behaved inappropriately with her.

Since the ethics committee cleared Slutsky, more than 20 Russian media outlets have announced they will boycott coverage of the Duma until Slutsky's mandate is revoked.

” The younger generation don't believe this nonsense that harassment is a normal part of relations ,” told women's rights campaigner Alena Popova.” The norms are changing across the world and they are starting to change in Russia, too .”

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