Harvey Weinstein’s Enablers? Feminists
Powerful men don’t deserve a pass for preying on vulnerable women simply because they are pro-choice.
Some things never change.
My own story of why I’m a rogue feminist instead of just a feminist involves powerful, popular ‘80s and ‘90s feminist dismissal of obvious sexism. The short version: I would not stomach the proposition that Bill Clinton used women, but it was okay because he was pro-choice.
Last week the whole thing played out again with Hollywood power broker Harvey Weinstein. This bit from the New York Times exposé, “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades” caught my attention:
In public, he presents himself as a liberal lion, a champion of women and a winner of not just artistic but humanitarian awards.
In 2015, the year Ms. O’Connor wrote her memo, his company distributed “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary about campus sexual assault. A longtime Democratic donor, he hosted a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton in his Manhattan home last year. He employed Malia Obama, the oldest daughter of former President Barack Obama, as an intern this year, and recently helped endow a faculty chair at Rutgers University in Gloria Steinem’s name. During the Sundance Film Festival in January, when Park City, Utah, held its version of nationwide women’s marches, Mr. Weinstein joined the parade.
Since he presented himself as a liberal lion and champion of women in public, his actual treatment of women did not matter. He was a perpetrator of the Hollywood hunting ground, one far more real than the university myth he and others like Rolling Stone told. But it’s Hollywood, where image is everything.
The Weinstein Company did not announce Harvey Weinstein’s firing on Sunday because they found out about his habits. They’d been paying the bill for those for some time. They fired him because the public found out, something they and their enablers had gone to great efforts to prevent (see the settlement bills). It even turns out that the NYT, the supposed media champion in this sordid affair, has been sitting on this story for 13 years. NYT editors spiked this story in 2004 even though one of their Hollywood correspondents had done the research and verified the facts. From Sharon Waxman, former NYT reporter now Editor-in-Chief at The Wrap:
In 2004, I was still a fairly new reporter at The New York Times when I got the green light to look into oft-repeated allegations of sexual misconduct by Weinstein. It was believed that many occurred in Europe during festivals and other business trips there…
I traveled to Rome and tracked down the man who held the plum position of running Miramax Italy. According to multiple accounts, he had no film experience and his real job was to take care of Weinstein’s women needs, among other things….
The story I reported never ran.
After intense pressure from Weinstein, which included having Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call me directly to vouch for Lombardo and unknown discussions well above my head at the Times, the story was gutted.
Her full account is here.
Bill Clinton and Harvey Weinstein are not two solitary points at the end of a long line. Similar news broke about Joss Whedon a few months ago. He receives feminist accolades even though he doesn’t seem to deserve them. And let us not forget the fawning over Hugh Hefner’s passing last week. Nor let us pretend this is limited to the left. Last year the Fox scandals broke. Bill O’Rilley and Roger Ailes left Fox News in quick succession after many years and millions of dollars in settlements to many women. While the public doesn’t know, the men and their boards of directors and other assorted enablers make their excuses and pay their hush money.
But on the left there is a peculiar irony. These men tend to have elite feminist support because they publicly champion one critical cause: abortion. That was a common feature of the Hefner tributes, and here’s just one comment on Joss Whedon from Huffington Post, regarding his not-feminist-approved leaked Wonder Woman script. “It’s difficult to point out Whedon’s major flaws with this screenplay, because he’s done so much to support women. He’s donated huge sums of money to Planned Parenthood and made a short film to support the health care organization.”
It was the common theme back in Bill Clinton’s scandal days. Writer Nina Burleigh gained infamy for remarking,
I would be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential knee pads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.
The sexual predators of the patriarchy have elite feminists as their greatest allies. Support for Planned Parenthood earns a pass for everything else. But, of course the men who would use women as mere vessels of bodily fluid and confirmation of their dominance would support abortion! Think about it: if they didn’t, their sexual power plays would far more frequently end with inconvenient children, making the dalliance both harder to leave behind, and to hide. Just ask Jason Miller.
It’s enough of a pain for Harvey Weinstein and his company to have to pay off the secretary he pressured into a massage or hush up Ashley Judd when she decides she no longer cares about alienating Harvey Weinstein. From the published NYT report it sounds like there is plenty of evidence in emails and contemporary witness accounts to give a legal department an ulcer. If a child comes along, then both the evidentiary and emotional concerns explode. And that’s before anyone touches ethics or morals.
So of course men without honor support abortion rights. Without them, women wouldn’t be so easy to use.
That their support of abortion rights is the thing that gets their egregious private behavior a pass — the very behavior that is the root of the infamous patriarchy that feminists of all definitions are supposed to be set against — is an irony for the ages.