This past week allegations of sexual abuse and unwanted advances told by numerous women have been made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. All of which have been both disgusting and unsurprising.
In order to fully comprehend the magnitude of the accusations as they unfold, it’s important to first understand the man to which they all point to; a Hollywood producer who made his wealth through producing critically acclaimed Hollywood movies such as Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting and The Crying Game. A winner of an Academy Award for the production of Shakespeare in Love and seven Tony Awards for producing a variety of winning plays and musicals. A co-founder of a small independent film distribution studio called Miramax- a company he and his brother later left after acquisition by Disney.
The two brothers then moved on to form their own production company, The Weinstein Company. It is this same company from which he has since been sacked following The New York Times breaking news story. The paper details Harvey Weinstein’s past pay-offs to several female sexual harassment accusers. Three women accused Weinstein of rape in an article by the New Yorker. Following this various actresses including Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Cara Delevingne came forward to detail their uncomfortable experiences with Weinstein. As did former employees of the film distribution company, Miramax.
The public response to these allegations against Weinstein have been overwhelmingly in favour of the victims. Actress Charlize Theron detailed her support for Weinstein’s victims in an Instagram post. Whilst stating that men in positions of power have gotten away with abusing vulnerable young women for much too long.
Hollywood acting legends such as Meryl Streep and Judi Dench have condemned the actions of Weinstein. Actor Terry Crews also vocalised an experience of sexual harassment that he encountered by an unnamed Hollywood executive. His account is no less hard to believe than the armada of accusations being directed towards Weinstein.
Although the Hollywood producer’s legacy of sexual harassment has been a well hidden secret, reporters such as Sharon Waxman have had evidence of his abusive nature since 2004. Bullied into silence, it’s even alleged that actors Matt Damon and Russell Crowe called her directly to get her to drop the story about Weinstein. Such allegations suggest a culture of cover ups.
Ultimately, it is quite fair to say that Weinstein is not the first man in a position of power to have taken advantage of women. He is also unlikely to be the last. Incidents of sexual predation have been exposed in recent history with men such as Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reily, Donald Trump and Jimmy Saville- all of which have abused their positions of power and authority. For decades, Weinstein got away with this behaviour because his victims were simply too scared to come forward. What’s more, even if they did, statistically speaking their claims would not have been believed because of the clout that Weinstein’s position afforded him.
It would appear a toxic formula of blind eyes and cover ups orchestrated by those in the know have allowed Weinstein and other powerful men to keep getting away with harming vulnerable women. As the saying goes ‘there are two kinds of evil people, those who do evil things and those who see evil things being done and stay silent.’ One essentially feeds the other. And both desperately need to be starved; everywhere.