MOSCOW: Russia's President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the actresses who have claimed sexual abuse by disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein "prostitutes" and poured scorn on journalists who have accused a Russian lawmaker of sexual harassment.
Peskov, speaking to students in Moscow, said that the actresses who spoke out against Weinstein had become stars and "did a lot that is not compatible with the concept of honour and dignity."
"They earned hundreds of millions of dollars and 10 years later, they say that Weinstein is to blame," Peskov said in unusually outspoken comments reported by the Echo of Moscow popular radio station.
"Maybe he is a bastard but none of them went to the police! No, they wanted to earn 10 million dollars."
"What do you call a woman who slept with a man for 10 million dollars? She's called a prostitute," Peskov said.
He was responding to a question about accusations of sexual harassment made by journalists against a senior member of the Russian parliament.
Several reporters with Western or independent media have accused Leonid Slutsky, head of the foreign affairs committee in parliament's lower house, the State Duma, of making lewd sexual comments and groping.
The parliamentary ethics commission ruled that Slutsky had not committed any violations, prompting top media to boycott Slutsky and pull their journalists from covering the lower house.
Peskov has so far refused to comment on this in his official capacity, but he told students the women should have reported the offences immediately.
"If Slutsky attacked a poor journalist, where was she, why did she put up with it?" he asked.
"They got felt up in his office. Girls probably see better, but he can probably be seen as a not very pleasant man. If he felt you up, if he harassed you, why were you silent?"
"Why did so much time pass and then you go to the ethics commission? This just amazed me."
In Russia's macho culture claims of harassment are rare and the topic is largely taboo. There is also no law defining sexual harassment.