Annette Bening hopes the sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein will serve as a ''tipping point'' to stop this type of behaviour happening in Hollywood.

The 59-year-old Hollywood icon has spoken out on the ''shocking and horrendous'' allegations surrounding the disgraced producer, who has been accused of sexually harassing a number of female employees, including famous actresses, over a 30-year period.

Annette claims the alleged behaviour ''happens in Hollywood a lot'', but hopes that now people are speaking about it, the ''conversation can change'' to put an end to such actions.

Speaking on UK television programme 'This Morning', Bening said: ''It happens in Hollywood a lot. And so now that the specifics have come to light that are so shocking and horrendous, maybe it's a tipping point. Maybe it's a tipping point in the culture where people can really begin to get this out in the open, and the fact that women are coming forward takes such guts to really come up and say what happened to you, that's really tough. And they're being supported and applauded, and that's very important, so I think it's all for the good, and maybe now things will change, because there's more awareness and the conversation can change and we can be more open about it.''

Bening - who was on the programme to promote her new movie 'Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool' - also claimed the alleged behaviour happens in other professions too, and condemned the way such actions get ''covered up''.

She added: ''I think it's a business world that most of us know. And I think, I hope, what's happened with Harvey - and there have been other scandals in America, and I know you've had them here as well where sexual harassment, systematic sexual harassment within a company has become pervasive, and been covered up, and then suddenly it comes out. We had a big network in America that it was revealed that many serious newscasters were being harassed by the man that ran the network.''

In the wake of the scandal, 65-year-old Harvey - who has denied many of the allegations against him - is believed to have gone to Arizona to check into rehab, and his wife Georgina Chapman has left him.