James Van Der Beek claims to have been groped by ''older, powerful men''.

The 40-year-old actor has spoken up to lend his support to the women who have accused disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and admitted he understands the ''shame and powerlessness'' that may have stopped them from speaking out before now because of his own experiences.

He tweeted: ''What Weinstein is being accused of is criminal. What he's admitted to is unacceptable - in any industry. I applaud everybody speaking out.

''I've had my ass grabbed by older, powerful men, I've had them corner me in inappropriate sexual conversations when I was much younger...

''I understand the unwarranted shame, powerlessness & inability to blow the whistle. There's a power dynamic that feels impossible to overcome.(sic)''

The 'What Would Diplo Do?' actor - who has four children with wife Kimberly Brook - later urged fans not to speculate as to those who had made unwanted advances, insisting it wasn't ''fair or right'', and revealing two had been punished, while a third had passed away.

He wrote: ''FTR, the harassment I tweeted about was by people 99.9% of you don't know. 2 were charged (by others) & punished. The other has since died.

''So apologies to any mentors & champions and wonderful friends I've made in this industry who may have been pulled into wrongful speculation.

''I realize I left a door open by not initially naming, but please don't impugn innocent people w/out cause. That's not fair. Or right.(sic)

In the wake of the scandal, Weinstein is believed to have checked into rehab in Arizona, has split from his wife Georgina Chapman and been sacked from his own Weinstein Company, while he has also been slammed by big names in Hollywood, including Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, and Dame Judi Dench.