If, like me, you are a pop culture fan, then you have most likely been closely following the recent Harvey Weinstein scandal that has erupted in the aftermath of a New York Times profile that detailed the three decades worth of sexual harassment claims against the movie mogul. Weinstein, often referred to as the most powerful man in Hollywood, has won a plethora of Academy Awards for films like Good Will Hunting and Shakespeare In Love. And, he has been accused of harassing, harming, and hurting women for the vast majority of his career. I can’t say I’m surprised.
The Hollywood reaction has been swift since the article broke, resulting in Weinstein being fired by his own company, The Weinstein Company. While I do find it satisfying to see a powerful man facing the consequences of his horrid actions, I am still furious. It is 2017. The first of the multitude of accusations was made three decades ago. People knew Weinstein was a predator. And they did nothing.
Hollywood is a liberal place. Or, it likes to see itself as one at least. The Hollywood elite has been quick to criticize right-wing male abusers like Donald Trump and Roger Ailes. Yet, it has been far less quick to address problems within the filmmaking community itself. Roman Polanski is revered as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Woody Allen won the Cecil B. Demille lifetime achievement award at the 2014 Golden Globes. Mel Gibson was nominated for best director at this year’s Oscars. Casey Affleck won best actor at this year’s Oscars. All of these men have been accused by multiple women of abuse. And all of these men have received virtually no consequences.
As I think about Weinstein and his fellow Hollywood abusers I am reminded of a quote from our president: “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
While Trump may have been referring to women with his vague use of the word “they”, in the larger context of misogyny within American culture, “they” becomes a more incriminating term. “They” are the countless people who have seen abuse and injustice and have stood by silently. “They” are the men, like Russell Crowe and Matt Damon, who have worked actively to hide the Weinstein abuse accusations. “They” are men like Ben Affleck who was swift to call out Weinstein just earlier today but remained silent on the accusations against his own brother. If I agree with Donald Trump on anything, it is that “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
Harvey Weinstein hosted fundraisers for Hillary Clinton. He marched in Park City Utah’s Women’s March. He was supposed to be a champion for women within the film industry.
Liberals often act like sexism is a political issue. “How can I be a misogynist,” they’ll say, “I voted for Hillary.” (This also works for racism and Obama but that is a conversation for another time)
Yet, misogyny has no political allegiance. Leftists/Liberals/Democrats need to be honest that rampant sexism is just as much a problem on our side of the aisle as the other. Misogyny is not a political issue. It is an American one.
I am tired of stories like Weinstein’s. I am tired of reading stories of women hurt and abused. I am tired of these accusations having to take decades to come out. I want to live in a world where men who identify as feminists are feminists. Words are one thing. Actions are another.
Kate Dario, Editor-In-Chief