George Clooney has branded the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein "indefensible".
The 56-year-old actor-and-director has spoken out after the Hollywood producer - who gave George his first big acting break in 'From Dusk Till Dawn' and first big directing gig with 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' - was fired from his own Weinstein Company in the wake of a New York Times expose, which claimed he had sexually harassed a number of women over a 30-year period.
George insisted he never saw any of Weinstein's alleged behavior first hand, and always assumed rumors he heard were simply started to "smear" talented actresses.
He told The Daily Beast: "It's indefensible. That's the only word you can start with. Harvey's admitted to it, and it's indefensible.
"I've known Harvey for 20 years... We've had dinners, we've been on location together, we've had arguments. But I can tell you that I've never seen any of this behavior - ever...
"I've heard rumors, and the rumors in general started back in the '90s, and they were that certain actresses had slept with Harvey to get a role. It seemed like a way to smear the actresses and demean them by saying that they didn't get the jobs based on their talent, so I took those rumors with a grain of salt.
"But the other part of this, the part we're hearing now about eight women being paid off, I didn't hear anything about that and I don't know anyone that did. That's a whole other level and there's no way you can reconcile that. There's nothing to say except that it's indefensible."
The 'Suburbicon' filmmaker - who also described Weinstein's behaviour as "disturbing" - hopes there will be some good to come from the situation and wants it to lead to a shift where people in power cannot abuse their position without being held accountable.
He said: "There are a couple of good things that have to come out of this, because something good has to come out of this.
"One of those things is that victims have to feel safer to come out and tell their stories without the fear of losing their jobs, and they also need to be believed, which is a very important element of this.
"Also, this should be a shot across the bow that people in places of power cannot abuse that power, and if you do, you'll be outed publicly, shamed, and even prosecuted.
"When it comes to most of the people that I know, where we're shocked is by how bad it was.
"This is about show business but it isn't just about show business--it's about everything. We need to get to a place where we can call these people out much quicker before it becomes such a deeper, long-running problem. This apparently went on for almost 30 years."
The 66-year-old movie mogul has admitted to behaving inappropriately with some of his female colleagues in the past and said sorry for his actions.
However, he has denied claims published by the New York Times.