According to Channel24, Harvey Weinstein, the movie producer who has been involved with projects such as Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting and Sex Lies and Videotape, was fired from The Weinstein Company following an exposé which revealed claims of sexual harassment made by various actresses and employees over a number of decades.
The New York Times article tells of at least eight sexual harassment settlements with various complainants. Allegations against Weinstein go back as far as nearly three decades and are documented through interviews with both current and former employees, legal records, emails and internal documents from both Miramax and the Weinstein Company.
Actress Ashley Judd recalled an incident where she thought she was meeting Weinstein for breakfast only to be sent up to his room, where he was in just a bathrobe, and then asked if he could give her a massage or if she could watch him shower.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Rosanna Arquette have all also said that Weinstein made sexual advances towards them when they were young actresses still new to the industry.
The allegations against him are messy, sordid and will make anyone feel uncomfortable especially if they know what it’s like to be sexually harassed.
But it’s not just the fact that this has been happening that’s disturbing – what makes it worse is that it’s been hidden by some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
In an article on The Wrap, Sharon Waxman, its founder, says that the New York Times actually sat on an article detailing Harvey Weinstein’s misconduct in 2004 after pressure from Hollywood elites like Matt Damon and Russell Crowe. She alleges that she was called directly by the two actors to kill rumours about Miramax’s Italian head Fabrizio Lombardo supposedly being hired to sort out Weinstein’s “women needs” and that he actually knew nothing about the film industry.
Waxman says the story she originally wrote was then gutted and buried in the Culture section of the paper because of pressure from Damon and Crowe as well as the fact that Weinstein was a big advertiser for the paper.
Now while this is already disheartening since this story could have potentially gone out over a decade ago and possibly stopped other women from being harassed by Weinstein, one of the things that stands out for me is that Matt Damon and Russell Crowe saw fit to try and stop the story from happening.
It points to one thing that I’ve come across in many sexual assault cases: men protect other men and hardly ever speak out against them.
The Guardian contacted more than 20 male actors and directors who have worked with Weinstein, some of whom have ongoing projects with the company, but they all declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries about the accusations.
Barack and Michelle Obama, according to AOL, have also released a statement saying they are "disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein" who was a big supporter of the Democrat party and held many fundraisers for them.
Though actors like Seth Rogen, Mark Ruffalo and George Clooney have spoken out about the movie mogul’s alleged disreputable affairs, a long list of men have kept quiet and decided not to speak out about it. This list includes the likes of Matt Damon, Colin Firth, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Russell Crowe, and Martin Scorsese, according to The Guardian.
And it’s not just this instance. So many times before male celebrities have either kept quiet about sexual abuse allegations surrounding their peers or have actually defended them.
Kenneth Lonergan, director of Manchester By The Sea, defended Casey Affleck after accusations of sexual abuse from two female colleagues back in 2010 surfaced. Johnny Depp (who is also questionable, tbh) defended Roman Polanksi and comedian Eddie Griffin defended Bill Cosby.
When male celebrities do wrong, even serious stuff like being accused of rape or domestic violence, their careers remain unaffected. But the women in these cases are not as lucky. They are seen as pariahs, sluts and attention-seeking whores who want a pay day.
But still many male celebrities will protect their famous friends or not say anything at all. And even though they might think that ‘no comment’ is better than getting involved in the mess of allegations such as rape or abuse, silence speaks far louder than any statement.
Hollywood seems to have created a haven for men who commit crimes like sexual violence and abuse. Their careers are not hindered by these accusations. Except Weinstein's exit might be a small light at the end of the tunnel.
Meanwhile women who do not commit crimes but do things like have wardrobe malfunctions like Janet Jackson or a mental breakdown like Britney Spears have their careers forever blighted.
When are we going to make men accountable for their actions? When are we going to make other male celebrities see that talking about rape culture will help minimise it? And when are we going to stop crucifying women for things that men do to us and for things that are in no way unforgivable?
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