The case of Harvey Weinstein raises a number of issues that need to be discussed in public, but in a way that challenges the current media display of piling on while the subject is being beaten. Deservedly, the co-founder of Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company, is getting his just desserts, so to speak. His methods of cuing female actors, dangling success in front of them through sexual favors, even alleged rape, are repugnant for any time in human history, and they should have been called out long ago. However, this piling on, adding more victims every day – now – seems so directed and predictable.
Was Harvey Weinstein’s misogynistic behavior just discovered now? Hardly!
Mega star and well respected humanitarian Angelina Jolie came out last week saying, “I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did… This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.” Gwyneth Paltrow also revealed that in 1994 she was also sexually harassed by Weinstein.
There are countless more who can attest to this behavior going back two or more decades. The issue here is the piling effect. Why now, is it suddenly a surprise, and why have all these strong female figures only now come out against the former media mogul? Harvey went from no one caring or daring, to the flood gates opening. It is real, but some is media led, and some of it unfortunately, is politics.
I have followed abuse cases and have seen absurd comments to the effect of, “the limits of my sympathy are tested when victims do not come forward and prosecute in real time – when the events occur – and instead wait for 20, 30, or even 40 years to come forward and do nothing more than besmirch the reputations of their alleged abusers” (that was really a written opinion about child abuse). And while I will never say that a victim should ever be silent, no matter how much time passes, I will say that there are indeed hypocrites in politics who willingly ignore the obvious for the sake of money.
This is not a piece on victimology and how and why people cannot or do not come forward in real time. Psychologists, behavioral analysts and such can explain this predicament, but this is a piece on hypocrisy and politics at its worst.
Aside from being a sexual predator and media mogul, Harvey Weinstein is also a very big contributor to Democratic politics. He has donated and helped bundle over $2.3 million to Democrats since 2000, from President Barak Obama to Secretary Hillary Clinton, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Senator Al Franken, to Chuck Schumer, Bob Torricelli, and a host of many more democrats and liberals. That is his real clear politics.
When they all needed money, we heard crickets about Weinstein and sex. Now, Clinton says she is “shocked and appalled” (aside from the obvious hilarity of Clinton’s outrage) and Obama said, “Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports of Harvey Weinstein.” Easy enough, but was he sickened about it when actor Courtney Love said in 2005, “If Harvey Weinstein invites you to a private party in the Four Seasons don’t go.”?
Nah! He needed money to run for President.
Besides, it has been an understated secret in Hollywood that women have had to do some things that most men are never asked to do in order to succeed. Most know about Woody Allen and his proclivities, yet many actors, and in fact very powerful female actors rush to be in is films and not blink an eye. He has since been awarded an Oscar and nominated a dozen times. Then there is Roman Polanski, in 1977 he had sex with a 13-year-old girl in Jack Nicholson’s Hollywood home, fled the United States and went on to be feted by the Academy with an Oscar in 2003. So, the industry looks the other way when someone is talented.
In the mid-nineties, journalist Kim Masters met Weinstein for the first time. When he asked her what she knows about him, she told him, “I’ve heard you rape women.” Masters is a journalist; a big name in the media industry who said that.
The reasons for this overlooking prior to this could very well be that he supported very big politicians, and almost all Democrats and issues often associated with liberal causes. When President Bill Clinton needed help for his legal fight over his own sex scandal, Weinstein sent a $10,000 check.
Tina Brown, an award-winning journalist, editor, author said that people turned the other cheek because, “All these favors and goodies were cherished by these reporters. It wasn’t worth it to them to disrupt that system.” That was from a long-term highly respected female voice in America.
The reason for the media pile on now could be based on what Larry Hackett, the former editor of People magazine, said, “Michael Eisner didn’t call you, Alan Horn didn’t call you, but Harvey did. Harvey was the Trump of the movie industry.”
It is worth repeating, Harvey was the Trump of the movie industry!
Tina Brown wrote in the New York Times, “What Harvey and Trump have in common,” and called the election “a tipping point for a great many women.” Since Trump was elected president, and many people vehemently hate him, but cannot get him out of office, Weinstein is the public’s surrogate devil.
We cannot look back now, and Weinstein is getting what he deserves, and there will be more people facing what Weinstein is now. The flood gates have opened for these. By going after people who remind them of Trump, some take solace that one day they can also get to the Donald himself – for something, for anything.
Meanwhile, think about this; had Hillary won, Weinstein would likely not have been ‘exposed’, and these women would not see justice. If nothing else, Trump’s presidency has given courage to enough enraged people who are now uncovering the big lies and hypocrisy of Hollywood, which is also a prelude to what we also believe about corporate America. Even big donors to Liberals and Democrats are not safe – as they once were. Finally!
Juda Engelmayer writes for The Cutting Edge News. He leads the Corporate Communications, Public Affairs, and Crisis Communications division of 52WPR.