In September 2023, a user on X posted a video that appeared to show former first lady Michelle Obama giving a speech in the White House, and, at one point during the remarks, thanking disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. "He is a wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse," Obama supposedly said.
Old footage of Michelle Obama singing Harvey Weinstein's praises. She said that he's a great human being. pic.twitter.com/gH6n4zUQXp
— illuminatibot (@iluminatibot) September 24, 2023
With so many deepfake videos making the rounds these days, some users may have wondered if she had actually said these words.
However, this was no deepfake, nor is the claim brand new. In fact, we addressed it before in a 2020 fact check. It's true that Mrs. Obama delivered these remarks about Weinstein. Her speech took place in front of a group of students during the Careers in Film Symposium on Nov. 8, 2013. Weinstein helped to organize the event. At the time, U.S. President Barack Obama was in the first year of his second term in the White House.
MRS. OBAMA: I want to start by thanking Harvey Weinstein for organizing this amazing day. (Applause.) Harvey. This is possible because of Harvey. He is a wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse. And the fact that he and his team took the time to make this happen for all of you should say something not about me or about this place, but about you. Everybody -- we are here because of you.
Whoopi Goldberg, Naomie Harris, Ryan Coogler, David Frankel, Blake Lively -- all of us are here because of you. And of course, my dear friend Gayle King is here. We are here because of you. So let's welcome everybody here. (Applause.)
Several years later, following explosive reporting from The New York Times and The New Yorker, Weinstein was twice convicted of rape and sexual assault in courts of law. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison in New York in 2020 and an additional 16 years by a Los Angeles court in 2023.
According to The Hill, on the day of the White House event, Weinstein said words to the students that perhaps have a much more striking meaning following his convictions for sex crimes: "I never let anybody tell me no, even the White House."