Blythe Danner defends Gwyneth Paltrow against NYT columnist

Actress Blythe Danner, the mother of Gwyneth Paltrow, hit back at New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd for criticizing her daughter in a recent column. 

Dowd pointed out that Paltrow continued to collaborate with Harvey Weinstein after he allegedly harassed her and "put aside qualms to become 'the first lady of Miramax.'"

Danner wrote in to the Times and said, "I cannot remain silent while Maureen Dowd disparages my daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow, for the manner in which she chose to handle Harvey Weinstein's attempt at a sexual encounter when she was 22."

She continued, "Gwyneth did not 'put aside her qualms to become 'the first lady of Miramax' back then,' as Ms. Dowd would have it. She continued to hold her own and insist that Mr. Weinstein treat her with respect."

Danner pointed out that after the alleged incident, Paltrow reported it to her agent and boyfriend at the time, Brad Pitt, who confronted Weinstein.

In a New York Times report last week, Paltrow went public with her story and described Weinstein's attempt to lure her into giving him a massage in a hotel room when she was a 22-year-old aspiring actress. She says she refused his advances, and that after she told Pitt about the incident, Weinstein "screamed at me for a long time" for discussing it. "It was brutal," she said.

In a statement responding to those and other women's claims, a spokesperson for Weinstein said, "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances."

Danner also said in her letter that she hopes the Weinstein scandal will prompt changes in Hollywood and beyond.

"As a longstanding member of the industry, I am much aware of the many years of its prejudiced and unacceptable behavior toward women," she wrote. "No one would argue that Harvey Weinstein isn't finally getting what he deserves. But I hope that this is the point of no return where change will occur, not only in our industry but also others."

Danner closed off her letter by saying she hopes in the future, pundits will focus on "constructive ways to prevent this behavior in the future" instead of maligning the alleged victims. 

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    Andrea is an entertainment producer at CBSNews.com