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Men: Your Money Isn’t Enough

Pay women, yes. Pay women first. But next? Believe women.

Kevin Smith is giving his money to women!

In the latest episode of his podcast, Hollywood Babble-On, Smith announced before a live audience that he will be donating all future profits of his films which were produced with Weinstein-associated properties, plus $2000 a month for life, to Women in Films, an organization dedicated to gender equality in the industry.

Kevin Smith, at Comic-Con International, San Diego

It’s great, truly. I’m glad Smith made this decision. I think he legitimately feels guilty about his relationship with Weinstein and has decided to do this because he doesn’t want to feel guilty anymore.

I get it, and I approve. It’s just not good enough.

An article for Entertainment Weekly described the show, saying that Smith got “emotional” responding to an audience member who shouted to reassure Smith him that his complicity with Weinstein was “not his fault”:

I’m not looking for sympathy. I know it’s not my fault, but I didn’t fucking help. Because I sat out there talking about this man like he was a hero, like he was my friend, like he was my father and shit like that, and he changed my fucking life. And I showed other people, like, ‘You can dream, and you can make stuff, and this man will put it out.’ I was singing praises of somebody that I didn’t fucking know. I didn’t know the man that they keep talking about in the press. Clearly he exists, but that man never showed himself to me. It all hurts, and it didn’t happen to me, but it all hurts.

Smith says he felt okay working with Weinstein because there was no quid pro quo for him. But does he expect us to believe that he had never heard these accusations before, never been part of the “whisper network” in which “everyone fucking knew” about Weinstein? That he never heard Courtney Love’s 2005 account?

Smith has been willing to trust, for all these years, the man accused by more than three dozen women of crimes ranging from sexual harassment to rape, was not that man at all. That instead, he was the man Smith dreamed him to be based solely on his own interactions.

Because Smith believed his personal experience to be objective fact, and everyone else’s experience of Weinstein— i.e. all the women who started the whispers Smith undoubtedly heard— as subjective, something to consider and discard if it didn’t fit inside his comfort zone.

Smith said of his decision, “That feels like a start,” and offered up his mentorship to women as well.

Men keep asking me what they can do. Money is definitely a start. Pay women. Pay Black women. Pay trans women. Pay disabled women. Pay women of color.

Pay survivors. Pay nonbinary femmes. Pay enbies and trans men read as women. Because men who hate women hate us too.

So yes, pay women. Then what?

After you are done paying women, believe women.

We need men to admit: I heard the whispers and I didn’t believe them. I didn’t believe them because they were women. I didn’t believe them because it was convenient for me not to. I didn’t believe them because it was easier to ignore their pain than deal with my own.

Or I did believe them, and I just didn’t care.

We need men to commit: Next time, I will. I will believe. I will care. When a woman is talking, I won’t immediately look for logical flaws or places to attack her description of her own experiences. I will listen and try to understand.

When people whisper about the things the powerful do to exploit the vulnerable, I will hear what they have to say. I will think about what it is that makes people tell these stories in whispers.

I will be brave, and have the courage to take action before the whispers become shouts. I will be the one shouting.

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