A story we’ve heard before
Harvey Weinstein’s narrative is not the first nor last
Harvey Weinstein is an American film producer and former film director who has been coined as Hollywood’s “few first of the film industry’s most prominent supporters of progressive causes” by The Spectator, a newspaper from the United Kingdom.
Harvey and his brother, Bob Weinstein, cofounded Miramax, an American film company most famous for distributing classic independent films such as Pulp Fiction, starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman.
The Weinstein’s had worked with hundreds of aspiring, seasonal actors and actresses over the years and Harvey at one point seemed to be one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, until Oct. 5, 2017.
Two journalists of the New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, broke news that gave detailed evidence of Harvey covering up over 20 years of sexual assaults. According to company officials, at least eight cases have resulted in settlements, the exchange of money for silence, with women who accused him of sexual assault.
On Oct. 8, 2017, Harvey Weinstein was terminated from his family-owned Weinstein Company, his own brother being on the board who decided Harvey’s fate.
“I find myself in a waking nightmare,” Bob Weinstein states.
Over 30 women have come forward to speak on their experiences with Weinstein, even well known actresses such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have spoken out against him.
“This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable,” Jolie stated in an email sent to the New York Times.
In a story done by the New Yorker, it claims Weinstein was trailed by rumors of sexual assault, rape and sexual harassment for more than 20 years. It’s also stated his malicious behavior was “well known and open” to those behind the scenes with Harvey himself but previous publications have struggled ethically to publish the findings due to a lack of hard evidence.
Why did this story take so long to break if there was 20 years worth of testimony? Why did the officials who spoke about Harvey’s cover ups just now decide to speak?
In 2015, the New York Police Department held a sting operation on Harvey where he admits to groping a Filipina-Italian model, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. Even with the audio evidence, Gutierrez lost her modelling credibility after her sexual history was brought into light.
A police source involved tells the New Yorker, “We had the evidence. It’s a case that made me angrier than I thought possible.”
This is not an uncommon trend in American society. One of the main questions asked when a woman comes forward about an assault are:
“Were you drinking?”
“Were you flirting?”
“What were you wearing?”
In the 2015 Virginia Crime Report, it’s stated there were 5,097 victims of forcible sex offenses, of those, 4,787 victims were female.
The Weinstein case however, would not have been possible without Hollywood enabling his misogynistic and predatory behavior.
Woody Allen, who has his own accusations his own stated on BBC
“No one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness.”
Allen followed up, “And they wouldn’t, because you are not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie.”
With his statement, Allen is describing what it’s like to be a woman in today’s society, and a woman in Hollywood aspiring to become a film actress.
Nothing you say is of “real seriousness” and you shouldn’t expect the men around you to care what happens to you because they’re doing you a favor by making your movie. It’s clear your safety is not a priority in this industry.
Hollywood has done an excellent job in exploiting women as objects on and off screen by casting women as a sexy damsel in distress on screen, and a sexy object off screen and does not seem to have any plan on stopping just because of the Weinstein case.
That does not mean we will tolerate it.
A recent social media campaign encourages those who have been sexually assaulted and harassed to simply write “me too” on their profiles in order to bring attention to the problem that some like to preach is not even there.
Since the start of this, there have been over six million and counting Facebook posts and it has spread to Twitter as well.
“Anyone could post me too. I could post me too. I could have posted me too when I was nine and I could have posted it two weeks. Do I feel comfortable doing it? That’s a different story.” tells a student at Longwood University who requested to stay anonymous.
While this campaign is important when it comes to addressing a nationwide problem, one could ask why a survivor must go on a public platform and out themselves as a victim in order to bring attention to an issue that has plagued our society for generations.
Many heartbreaking stories are captured in that 140 character Twitter count, stories speaking about how our own President triggers them and how women had to quit their jobs. It’s truly devastating to know that millions of women have been taken advantage of and we are seemingly doing nothing but going further back.