Hollywood’s Hurricane Harvey
We as women have all been there. That moment when a man in a powerful position looks at you, assessing you like you were something other than a human. Something to conquer, rather than cherish. We feel it the minute they lay their predatory eyes on us. Because they are not looking, they’re assessing. Harvey Weinstein was one of those men. Why didn’t Hollywood stop him?
I knew the minute the story broke that this hurricane would shake Hollywood royalty to its collective core. Soon the statements began coming out, as quickly as yet another sordid tale would emerge. I knew because even I had heard the rumors. So if I knew, why are all these celebs saying they did not know?
It’s a good question but also one that is easily answered: because they were afraid. Afraid of what you might think of them, afraid you would judge them for hiding such a heinous monster in their midst. Afraid of what the press would do if they didn’t denounce him. They didn’t fear for the women’s safety, or their psyche. They still don’t. Celebs were afraid for themselves, both in business and in politics.
We know who they are, and it saddens me. George Clooney knew, Meryl Streep knew, Hilary Clinton knew. Even Anthony Bourdain knew — his girlfriend Asia Argento is one of his accusers. Boudain took to twitter calling out former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after her CNN interview. Bourdain wrote Clinton’s interview was ,“shameful in its deflection and its disingenuousness.” Adding, “know what Hillary Clinton is NOT? She’s not stupid. Or unsophisticated about the world. The Weinstein stories had been out there for years.”
This is so disappointing and not what this country needs. Not now, not ever. In the era of fake news, theses false narratives that our political leaders and Hollywood celebrities have created are a damaging precedent that needs to end. But I must add this: there were those in Hollywood who actually told the truth. Glenn Close told the New York Times, even though Harvey was decent to her, she was deeply upset, “acknowledging to myself that, yes, for many years, I have been aware of the vague rumors that Harvey Weinstein had a pattern of behaving inappropriately around women.” Kate Winslet also admitted she too heard the rumors. But the most honest was Lena Dunham, who wrote an op-ed admitting that she spoke at a Weinstein organized fundraiser for Hilary Clinton, and did so knowing full well about all the rumors surrounding Weinstein. She said she betrayed her values in her “calculation” to support Hilary. She apologized, and took it a step further calling out the men in Hollywood who knew. And that sounds like pretty much everyone. Actress Angie Everheart told TMZ, “there isn’t a single person in this business who had contact with Harvey that didn’t know.” Rose Mcgowen, one of Weinstein’s first accusers, is being a total bad-ass and calling out every one who knew, like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
As I write this more women are coming forward with horrific tales of rape. The Academy of Motion picture Arts and Sciences expelled Weinstein. French President Emmanual Macron tweeted about stripping Weinstein of his Legion d’Honneur distinction. This is all coming on the heels of other recent scandals at places like Fox and Silicon Valley, shining a light on a pervasive perversion problem, in every industry.
I too have been a victim. Early in my career I was working at a radio station in Philadelphia when I met a top music industry manager of stars at the time like Cyndi Lauper. He was British, semi-handsome and way older. He asked if I wanted to take a ride in his Porsche. I did. Next thing I know I’m in his office and he is making the moves with an air of assumption like I wanted it. I said no, several times. He told me to walk home. It ended there, for me, but I wonder how many others there were. How many more stories from women do we need to hear? When will the devastating storm of silent complacency stop? Speak now because if you forever hold your peace it could destroy the very thin fabric of humanity that is left.