Not Underground — Harvey Weinstein And The Hollywood Crisis With Sexual Abuse
Ever since Harvey Weinstein’s extensive history of sexual harassment and sexual abuse finally came to light thanks to some very brave women, Hollywood has been in an uproar. The problem with this, besides the obvious violent and disturbing acts that have occurred, is this is not at all surprising. Do you remember when Bill Cosby was exposed and accused of drugging and raping over 50 women? What about when Roman Polanski drugged and raped an underage girl in the 1970’s, fled to Europe, but still got to make movies that won Academy Awards.
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What I’m getting at is there’s a long history of Hollywood bigwigs getting away with disgusting acts against women and men, then getting away with it. Why? Money and power. I wrote something similar about Lindsay Lohan and other celebrities committing numerous crimes, but getting off because of status.
Sure, money and a great lawyer can get you out of a pinch when it comes to drugs and murder, but what money gives you in an industry like Hollywood is something more. It gives you the power of intimidation. It comes with the power to threaten to ruin someone’s lifelong ambition because you refuse their advances. When a movie producer on the level of Weinstein has his people send you to his hotel suite, open the door in a bathrobe, start doing sexual acts while threatening to ruin you if you don’t comply, what do you do? It’s easy to claim you’ll say no, but that is a dramatic oversimplification.
Who will people believe when the victim of this comes out and says one of the most powerful men in Hollywood tried to or succeeded in sexually abusing you? Does a starving actress with hopes of getting a role in a film get the benefit of the doubt, or does a man with the power of making a $200 million dollar movie with the stroke of a pen win the day? Considering this stuff has been happening for decades with Weinstein, it was always the latter. However, most of the women never came forward out of fear. A lot of careers were made because they reluctantly gave into this monster. Those who did come forward were either dragged and ruined through the press, or paid to keep their mouth shut.
Here is a current list of the women coming forward against Weinstein:
- Ashley Judd
- Emily Nestor
- Laura Madden
- Zelda Perkins
- Rose McGowan (A huge champion)
- Ambra Battilana Gutierrez
- Zoe Brock
- Liza Campbell
- Louise Godbold
- Asia Argento
- Lucia Evans
- Mira Sorvino
- Rosanna Arquette
- Emma de Caunes
- Jessica Barth
- Gwyneth Paltrow
- Judith Godreche
- Angelina Jolie
- Katherine Kendall
- Tomi-Ann Roberts
- Dawn Dunning
- Heather Graham
- Romola Garai
- Louisette Geiss
- Sarah Polley
- Lauren Sivan
- Cara Delevingne
- Lea Seydoux
- Sarah Ann Masse
- Kate Beckinsale
- Eva Green
- Various unnamed victims
So far, most of these are allegations are simply that, which is what I have to say because of how the law works, but he admitted to it, admitted he had a problem, denied it, then quickly pulled a Polanski and headed to Europe. Yeah, then this tape came out showing off his extremely aggressive advances on a young model:
It’s comedically pathetic how bad he wants to get her alone, get drinks in her, threaten her, accuse her of making a scene, and more. I’ve never heard such begging in my life like that. She consistently refuses his advances, but he keeps coming on with every different type of begging you could think of. What’s even scarier is while this woman got away, many of the others weren’t so lucky.
Since these women stood up to accuse Weinstein of his vile acts, other women are coming out against other such acts like being groped like drunk losers at a strip club. Ben Affleck groped then MTV on-air talent Hilarie Burton while he was on Total Request Live (Look up Casey Affleck’s abuse history. That’s it’s own article). This came out literally a day after Affleck wrote a condemning post on Twitter against Weinstein:
As if Justice League wasn’t in trouble enough with how bad it looks, the bad press just keeps piling on. Jason Momoa, Aquaman and Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones, is now dealing with comments he made from the 2011 Comic-Con panel where he joked about getting to “rape beautiful women.” Now I know that clip is probably overblown, but the extended laughter in the crowd was quite unnerving. These were a bunch of nerds laughing at rape like it was an airplane joke.
Speaking of nerds. Andy Signore, the creator of the popular ScreenJunkies YouTube show Honest Trailers, was recently fired for, you guessed it, sexually harassing and trying to rape people in his office. The women went to HR, but they tried to cover it up. Signore even went as far as intimidating one of his victims into shutting up about it or he will fire her boyfriend who happened to work at the ScreenJunkies office. Once again, a man in a position of power using it to keep their mouths shut.
Why did none of the men who knew about this speak out? Why is something of this magnitude always called “an open secret” when it finally comes out? The press then goes to all the celebrities who act shocked and appalled by this news. Give me a break. They knew and looked away. That or they told Weinstein to knock it off in secret. — Brad Pitt — then do more movies with him anyway.
Not knowing about these acts is forgivable, obviously, but knowing about them and doing nothing is like driving the car for the hitman to do a hit. You didn’t do it, but you are just as accountable. Knowing about it and watching victims being dragged in the press makes you just as accountable. Knowing about what happened, then help kill the story makes you essentially a voyeur in the room as it happened.
The question is often asked: “Why didn’t they come forward sooner?” or “Are they doing it for the money?” These are questions asked by someone who should have a dump truck full of that water that sloshes off a garbage truck onto their head. Coming forward with sexual abuse is an excruciating thing for anyone to do. Coming forward knowing you won’t be believed, might be ridiculed, and it might ruin your life and career? I cannot even fathom the bravery it has taken these women to tell their stories.
I truly hope that this floodgate continues to pour out and drown the people responsible for abusing women. Women should unite to point out and shame their abusers, and men should step up and stand side-by-side with them. If the sexually harassed and abused have to hide in the shadows, what the hell kind of advanced civilization do we claim to be?
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.