By Jess Ramirez
Hollywood may need a new hashtag to address all of the sexual assault and harassment allegations that have surfaced recently.
A New York Times investigation revealed decades of sexual harassment allegations against Oscar-winning studio executive and producer, Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein responded with a bizarre statement regarding the allegations in which he quoted Jay-Z, and talked about the NRA. The tone of his response makes it clear that this culture to which he refers is alive and well.
He’s asked celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom to “tutor” him on the issue, as if one needs to be instructed or coached in avoiding sexually harassing behavior. Once you realize it’s wrong — just don’t do it.
Bloom is most notable for defending victims of sexual harassment and assault. Now, she’s joined Team Rehab-Weinstein. Her book about the Trayvon Martin case, “Suspicious Nation,” is being optioned for a Jay-Z documentary series by the Weinstein Company.
But Weinstein is not the first notable Hollywood figure to be accused of sexually harassing or assaulting someone.
There’s Roman Polanski, who was honored at the French film awards ceremony:
And Bill Cosby:
And of course, there’s Woody Allen:
Victims of sexual assault need allies, but none of the major actors or actresses who’ve worked with Allen have criticized the director in light of the allegations.
What’s even more problematic is that actresses get asked these questions far more often than actors. Wallace Shawn may be the only actor who’s worked with Allen who’s responded to the allegations. Unsurprisingly, he defended the director, saying, “It would take overwhelming evidence to convince me that he had sexually abused a child.”
Very few actresses have opened up about sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood. And none more than Amber Tamblyn:
She wrote an op-ed this summer, saying she’s done with not being believed. Tamblyn explains how difficult it is for sexual assault victims to report these incidents because they often rely on testimonial accounts with little “hard evidence.”
65% of sexual assaults went unreported from 2006 to 2010, according to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.
As Tamblyn put it, “What’s the point, if you won’t be believed?”