Synopsis: Assuming all of the allegations against him are true, Harvey Weinstein may be one of the worst sexual predators in the history of Tinseltown. Well, he’s certainly the worst to be exposed since Bill Cosby went from being a lovable sitcom dad to a scary real-life rapist. Hopefully, there’ll be an end to such despicable actions by men in power now that more women seem willing to come forward. At the same time, I can’t help but marvel at the hypocrisy of the Hollywood elite which protected these criminals for far too long.
PREDATOR ZERO: HARVEY WEINSTEIN
Despite a successful career as a movie producer, Harvey Weinstein can no longer hide from his past as a sexual predator. Forgotten will be any accolades, such as his Oscar for Shakespeare in Love. Instead, we’ll remember him henceforth as Predator Zero. I fully understand that Weinstein wasn’t the first man to use his power to prey on women. Nor will he be the last. However, he’ll forever mark the time in history when victims finally said, “Enough is enough.”
With new-found confidence that their voices will be heard, millions of victims have taken to social media as part of the #MeToo Movement. Started by social activist Tarana Burke in 2006, the movement gained momentum when Alyssa Milana added the hashtag and tweeted the phrase in support of her friend, and alleged Weinstein victim, Rose McGowan. At this point, it seems unlikely that anyone can put the genie back in the bottle.
At last count, almost 100 women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of actions ranging from excessive proposition to rape. Over the last three decades, he used his power to take advantage of susceptible young actresses. The list of victims includes Hollywood A-Listers Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Beckinsale. However, most of them are lesser-known actresses.
How many of these victims are lesser known because they rejected his advances? Don’t worry, you and I both know the answer. Unfortunately, the lesson was clear. Stay silent or risk unemployment.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the specific accusations, the following excerpts from USA Today should tell you all you need to know.
USA TODAY EXCERPTS: HARVEY WEINSTEIN
UNWANTED SEXUAL ADVANCES
Angelina Jolie, a 42-year-old actress, filmmaker and humanitarian, told the Times that during the release of Playing By Heart, she rejected advances by Weinstein in a hotel room. She was 23 at the time. “I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did,” Jolie explained in an email to the newspaper.
Kate Beckinsale, 44, posted to Instagram on Oct. 12 accusing Weinstein of offering her alcohol during their first meeting when she was just 17. “I assumed it would be in a conference room which was very common,” she wrote. “When I arrived, reception told me to go to his room. He opened the door in his bathrobe.” Beckinsale is an English actress who has starred in Much Ado About Nothing and Pearl Harbor.
Mira Sorvino, 50, told The New Yorker that while promoting Mighty Aphrodite at the 1995 Toronto International Film Festival, Weinstein “started massaging my shoulders, which made me very uncomfortable, and then tried to get more physical, sort of chasing me around.” Weeks later, she says he evaded her doorman and showed up at the door of her New York apartment, but was able to scare him off on both occasions.
MUTUAL MASSAGE AS PRELUDE TO SEX
Gwyneth Paltrow, 45, told the Times that before shooting Emma when she was 22, Weinstein summoned her to his suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a work meeting which ended with Weinstein placing his hands on her and suggesting they head to the bedroom for massages. “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” she said.
Lupita Nyong’o, a 34-year-old Academy Award-winning actress, penned a lengthy column in the Times on Oct. 19 recounting her experience with Weinstein. “Harvey led me into a bedroom — his bedroom — and announced that he wanted to give me a massage. I thought he was joking at first. He was not,” Nyong’o wrote. She said Weinstein’s advances continued later during a dinner in New York. Weinstein issued a written response via Variety the following day. “Mr. Weinstein has a different recollection of the events, but believes Lupita is a brilliant actress and a major force for the industry,” the statement read.
FORCED WOMEN TO WATCH HIM MASTURBATE
Angie Everhart, an actress (Take Me Home Tonight) and former model came forward on the KLOS morning show alleging Weinstein masturbated in front of her while on a boat during the Venice Film Festival. The former model and actress claims Weinstein told her, “You’re a really nice girl, you shouldn’t tell anybody about this.”
Ashley Matthau, a dancer who worked on Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, which was produced by Weinstein’s company, told the Times that Weinstein began hitting on her on set. He asked her to get in his car and took her to a hotel room, where she says she refused his sexual advances but he pushed her onto the bed and fondled her breasts before stripping, straddling her and masturbating on top of her. She hired an attorney from Gloria Allred’s firm, but says Weinstein and his lawyer threatened to drag her through the mud if she went public, so she took a settlement.
QUID PRO QUO: SEX IN RETURN FOR MOVIE ROLES
Heather Graham, an actress known for her role in The Hangover films, wrote an essay for Variety on Oct. 10 describing a time in the early 2000s when Weinstein allegedly insinuated that she would need to have sex with him in order to get a role in one of his upcoming films. She was never hired for one of his films.
Louisette Geiss, a former actress and screenwriter, said at a press conference on Oct. 10 that at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, Weinstein invited her to his room to discuss her script, but after about 30 minutes, he returned from the bathroom in nothing but a robe with the front open. Weinstein proceeded to get in the bathtub and “just kept asking me to watch him masturbate,” she said. Geiss says she moved to leave his hotel room, and Weinstein trailed her to the door, promising to introduce her to his brother, Bob, greenlight her script and give her a three-picture deal. But she had to watch him masturbate first.
Annabella Sciorra, an actress known for her work in Reversal of Fortune and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, told The New Yorker on Oct. 27 that Weinstein violently raped her in the early 1990s and repeatedly sexually harassed her over the next several years.
Rose McGowan, 44-year-old Charmed actress, reached a previously undisclosed settlement with Weinstein in 2007 after an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival, the Times reported in early October. In 2016, she tweeted that she was raped by a studio head in 2007, but didn’t identify Weinstein at the time.
Natassia Malthe, 43, said Weinstein barged into her London hotel room and raped her in 2008 after she met him at the BAFTA Awards. After the rape, he masturbated in front of her, the Norwegian-born actress said in her statement at a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred on Oct. 25.
As the previous section reveals, Weinstein clearly had a specific M.O. while preying on wannabe Hollywood starlets. He often invited aspiring actresses to his hotel room under the guise of discussing potential movie roles. Once in his lair, the victims would have to fend off assorted unwanted advances. The message was clear: engage in sexual activity in return for a career on the big screen. While the women who have come forward rejected the quid pro quo, think about how many accepted the offer.
SILENT FOR WAY TOO LONG
Regardless of whatever someone might take from this post, I find Weinstein’s actions truly reprehensible. I don’t intend to minimize the trauma felt by any of the women violated by this grotesque man. Still, I wonder how he could get away with it for so long. Perhaps the following can help.
HIS THREATS WERE LEGITIMATE
As a powerful Hollywood executive, Weinstein could help or hurt the careers of young actresses. If he wanted to help, he could sway Academy members to vote for specific Oscar contenders. If he wanted to hurt, he could make it difficult to find employment.
Arguably, Mira Sorvino experienced both the positive and negative effects of Weinstein’s influence. Supporting that claim, ET Online reported the following.
I have great respect for Harvey as an artist, and owe him and his brother [Bob Weinstein] a debt of gratitude for the early success in my career, including the Oscar,” she says.
Still, she says she ultimately felt that rejecting Weinstein’s alleged advances hurt her career, especially after she says she told a female Miramax employee (the company he co-founded) about the alleged harassment.
“There may have been other factors, but I definitely felt iced out and that my rejection of Harvey had something to do with it,” Sorvino claims.
SORVINO POSING WITH FELLOW 1996 OSCAR WINNER KEVIN SPACEY
For those of you unfamiliar with the incestuous nature of Hollywood, the following recap might help.
- Sorvino won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Mighty Aphrodite.
- Woody Allen wrote, directed, and acted in the movie.
- In the movie, Allen’s character falls in love with his adopted son’s mother (Sorvino’s character).
- In real life, Allen had fallen in love with the adopted daughter of his girlfriend (Mia Farrow)
- Miramax, the Weinstein’s production company, distributed the movie
- Woody Allen wrote, directed, and acted in the movie.
- Allen dominated the headlines in the early 1990s when his affair with Farrow’s adopted daughter became public.
- During the contentious custody battle that ensued, Farrow alleged that Allen had molested their adopted 7-year-old daughter.
- Despite Allen’s “grossly inappropriate” actions with the child, the state attorney decided not to file formal charges against him.
- According to a Vanity Fair article, the state had “probable cause to press charges against Allen but declined, due to the fragility of the ‘child victim.'”
- Weinstein’s downfall can be directly attributed to Rowan Farrow’s article in the New Yorker.
- Confirming that truth is stranger than fiction, the author is the biological son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow
ALLEGED VICTIMS CONTINUED TO COZY UP TO HIM
Two years removed from being “petrified” by Weinstein in a hotel suite, Gwyneth Paltrow overcame her fear enough to pose with him for the following photo on the night of the 71st Academy Awards.
Of course, it’s easier to forget any past differences when an Oscar’s on the line. Then again, Paltrow ended up winning the Best Actress Award that night so who’s to say she wasn’t acting in the photos as well.
VICTIMS STAYED SILENT
Relative to all of Weinstein’s victims, Rose McGowan has been the most vocal. Unfortunately, I’m conflicted by her plight. I completely believe her claim that Weinstein forcibly raped her back in 2007. At the same time, I recognize that she didn’t file criminal charges and agreed to a $100,000 settlement instead.
Many have lauded her bravery for coming forward. I would have agreed with that assessment had she come forward 10 years ago when she had something to lose. Specifically, it’s not as if she’s in high demand anymore. Yes, I realize that Weinstein may have sabotaged her career over the last decade. At the same time, I wonder how many victims suffered because others (including McGowan) stayed silent.
Despite presumably signing a non-disclosure agreement as part of the settlement, McGowan started getting more brazen about going public over a year ago. Of note, she tweeted about being raped by an unnamed Hollywood executive. Furthermore, she seemed to be talking specifics to people in the industry.
Hey Rose, you can’t claim that you’re the proof after settling your claims. In fact, I’m sure you got the money after signing a piece of paper saying the Weinstein didn’t have to admit to any wrongdoing.
Given my limited following, I won’t have to worry about the wrath of Rose or her army. In contrast, others haven’t been so lucky. For instance, McGowan tweeted the following after late-night talk show host James Corden made a few jokes about Weinstein.
Cordon’s jokes weren’t funny, but he didn’t deserve her ire. By the way Rose, it’s not cool to fat shame
ROSE McGOWAN – FAT SHAMER
PEOPLE IN THE KNOW LOOKED THE OTHER WAY
While I didn’t agree with McGowan’s reaction to Corden’s attempt at comedy, I loved her reaction to Ben Affleck’s attempt to claim ignorance regarding Weinstein’s criminal activities. As shown by the following tweets, she basically called BS on the Caped Crusader.
Okay, she did more than call BS on him.
In addition to Affleck, Matt Damon originally tried to claim ignorance. Eventually, not-so-good Will Hunting admitted to having a flawed memory. Specifically, Damon acknowledged that he had heard what happened to Paltrow. Of note, Paltrow shared her story with Affleck while the two dated during the making of Shakespeare in Love.
AFFLECK AND PALTROW POSING WITH HARVEY WEINSTEIN
As reported by Vanity Fair, George Clooney revealed that he didn’t believe the rumors about Weinstein. Brad Pitt not only had a 12-year relationship with Jolie but also was engaged to Paltrow. Clooney and Pitt are best buds (just like Affleck and Damon), yet we’re supposed to believe they never talked about Weinstein’s lecherous ways. Apparently, actors must think we’re as stupid as they are.
HOLLYWOOD SEEMINGLY FORGIVES AND FORGETS SEXUAL PREDATORS
Since being accused of molesting his 7-year-old adopted daughter, Woody Allen has continued to receive accolades from his peers in the movie industry. Of note, he has been nominated for 9 Oscars and even won one in 2013. Furthermore, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association honored him with the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Golden Globes.
For as bad as the facts surrounding Allen might seem, he has never been convicted of any crimes. In contrast, Roman Polanski is a convicted child rapist who seems to be adored by the Hollywood elite. While awaiting trial for drugging and anally raping an incapacitated 13-year-old girl, Polanski fled the country.
I interpret his actions as an admission of guilt. However, Whoopi Goldberg offered a different interpretation. During a 2009 episode of The View, she eloquently stated:
I know it wasn’t rape-rape. It was something else but I don’t believe it was rape-rape. He went to jail and and when they let him out he was like “You know what this guy’s going to give me a hundred years in jail I’m not staying, so that’s why he left.
Wow. Not only is her reasoning stupid, it’s stupid-stupid.
As if Goldberg’s reaction wasn’t appalling enough, the overwhelmingly positive reaction to Roman Polanski’s Oscar win at the 2004 Academy Awards confirms Hollywood’s hypocrisy. In particular, Hollywood has no right to claim moral superiority over anyone.
OH YEAH, WE CAN’T FORGET ABOUT HIM (AND HER)
Who can forget Tinseltown’s fascination with Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election? Like their similar-minded compatriots on the East Coast, many in Hollywood thought Clinton would waltz into the Presidency after the infamous Bill Bush tape with Donald Trump. By the way, I just listened to it again for the first time in over a year. I’m glad I did because I forgot that Bush did more than just egg on the future President. Of note, the former Today Show contributor actively participated in the disgusting banter.
Unlike people on the coasts, the rest of us in “The Middle” saw through it. Mind you, we agreed that Trump’s “grab’em by the pussy” comments deserved condemnation. However, we understood that Bill Clinton’s past transgressions (including allegations of rape) were worse. Furthermore, Hillary’s role in admonishing the victims disqualified her from making any legitimate claims against her opponent.
THE MEDIA SAT ON THE WEINSTEIN STORY
While I won’t go so far as to claim that everything reported by the media is fake news, it’s impossible not to recognize the media’s bias. Both Trump and Clinton deserved 0 out of 10 points regarding their support of sexual assault victims. At the same time, the media’s score isn’t much higher.
As support, The New York Times supposedly squashed a story about Weinstein back in 2004. According to the reporter, The Times “gutted” the story under pressure from Weinstein, who was a major advertiser in the newspaper. In contrast, the paper’s top editors from the time claim that they “have no recollection of being pressured.”
For of you who trust everything you hear, I’ll help interpret the quote. Specifically, people say they have “no recollection” when they want to deny something but fear there’s proof to the contrary.
NBC News deserves a shout-out for trying to keep a lid on the story as well. Of note, they passed on Rowan Farrow’s story prompting him to take it to The New Yorker instead. As asked and answered by Vanity Fair,
Q: How badly did NBC News blow the Weinstein story?A: At best, they failed to follow up on a big, important story. At worst, they were cowards.
Since the #MeToo Movement started two months ago, we have seen the spectacular downfall of public figures like Kevin Spacey and Charlie Rose. At the same time, politicians like AL Senate candidate Bob Moore, MN Senator Al Franken, and MI Congressman John Conyers haven’t suffered the same fate. Fortunately, voters have the last say in the matter.
So, have we heard the last of Harvey Weinstein? I certainly hope so. However, my wish may not be granted.
Expressing the counterargument in an article posted on Vulture.com, a unnamed filmmaker may have said it best.
[Harvey Weinstein will] be back. He’s a carnival barker. Don’t look to Hollywood to be so morally righteous. I think for the same reason Mel Gibson is starring in Daddy’s Home 2 — after they have him on tape with his ex-wife saying, “I hope you get raped by a pack of n-words” and all the other anti-Semitic crap he’s on record as saying — they’re just going to keep doing what they’re doing. In Hollywood, there’s no morality. No one cares, no one remembers.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.