At the time, the A Wrinkle in Time costars were filming together when the pair had a conversation about Weinstein with a group of women.
“This was like two days after the Harvey scandal had broken in The New York Times,” Winfrey told actress Salma Hayek during a special live taping of the podcast, SuperSoul Conversations, on Wednesday as reported by Entertainment Tonight.
“Everyone, including Reese – I’ve said this to her – was acting like, I was seeing some of the girls at my school behave, who were suffering from PTSD. Everybody was acting like they were afraid and they were having the conversation,” Winfrey remembered.
“And I remember Reese saying, ‘Oh god, this is just so upsetting. And someone mentions his name, I start tearing up. And every time I hear someone else speak, it just causes me to be upset and I haven’t slept in two days,’ ” Winfrey said. “So I said, ‘Jeez, you guys are suffering from PTSD. Did something happen to you?’ Nobody said anything at the time.”
Later that same month, during an emotional speech at the Elle Women in Hollywood event, Witherspoon revealed she was just 16 when she was sexually assaulted by a director.
Witherspoon’s comments came after dozens of women accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct — including Cara Delevingne, Ashley Judd, and Angelina Jolie. In addition, over 50 women came forward to The New York Times and The New Yorker to expose the decades of alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault against Weinstein.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Weinstein’s attorneys, Blair Berk and Benjamin Brafman, said: “Mr. Weinstein has never at any time committed an act of sexual assault, and it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behavior or consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of criminal conduct. There is a wide canyon between mere allegation and truth, and we are confident that any sober calculation of the facts will prove no legal wrongdoing occurred.”
To donate to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which will provide subsidized legal support to women and men in all industries who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace, visit its GoFundMe page. Learn more about Time’s Up, an organization of women in entertainment combating sexual harassment and inequality, on its website.
On Jan. 1, Witherspoon, along with Shonda Rhimes, Eva Longoria and more, took action against sexual harassment in Hollywood by launching the Time’s Up movement, and has since raised over $20 million for a legal defense fund.
And most recently, during a separate Super Soul Sunday talk, Witherspoon told Winfrey that making the decision to leave an abusive relationship was the most important one she made to fulfill her destiny, recalling how the abuse was “psychological, verbal.”
Winfrey’s special will air on OWN Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 10 p.m.
A Wrinkle in Time opens in theaters March 9.