This is a big story rocking Hollywood and the US. Basically a Hollywood kingpin has been behaving as a boorish sexual predator for decades, and finally got exposed. Good that the comeuppance finally came, but why did it take so long? Isn’t Hollywood generally all preachy and censorious about how the rest of should behave?
So what’s surprising about this, you might ask? The political angle is, again, how the media hide or downplay tales of sexual wrong-doing when it is by the left — so add Weinstein to the Clinton and Cosby list — but go to town on much smaller transgressions by characters on the right — such as Trump merely boasting (not doing) about how celebrities can get away with doing anything to women.
On Sunday evening, The Weinstein Company’s board of directors reached the conclusion that “in light of new information about misconduct by Harvey Weinstein that has emerged in the past few days… his employment with The Weinstein Company is terminated, effective immediately.”
The damage, however, was already done. Weinstein, a terribly bullying, terribly pinguid, terribly influential movie mogul—first with Miramax, then Weinstein Co.—had allegedly committed heinous acts of sexual coercion and harassment for decades, with a bombshell New York Times investigation revealing that the 65-year-old exec paid off at least eight of his accusers, many of whom shared similar horror stories: a “business meeting” at a hotel suite soon gave way to propositions that were increasingly sexual in nature.
One TV reporter claimed that Weinstein cornered her in the bowels of his restaurant before jacking off into a potted plant. His accusers say they felt trapped, pressured to give in to this round mound of renown’s base demands. He was, after all, a Hollywood kingmaker; the man behind modern cinema classics like Pulp Fiction, The Lord of the Rings, and Good Will Hunting; a behind-the-scenes wizard who’d been thanked at the Academy Awards more often than God. How could they deny him? …
Right now, many people — both in the Tinseltown bubble and beyond — are asking why? Why now, after decades of payouts and whispers, did one of cinema’s most powerful players finally get his? It’s a difficult question to fully answer, though one possible reason is an increased sense of media accountability surrounding the issue of sexual misconduct in Hollywood, born out of the Bill Cosby case and having more women’s voices heard in newsrooms. …
The Times’ recent Weinstein story, meanwhile, came about thanks to two intrepid female reporters, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, operating at an organization whose news masthead is comprised of 50 percent women, and one “name” actress in Ashley Judd, who was mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
It’s not just the media that enabled Weinstein, either. Since the sexual-misconduct allegations came to light, those who have benefited from professional relationships with the embattled film mogul, from directors and actors he launched to stardom to agents and producers who got their cut, have remained deafeningly silent. The Daily Beast has reached out to dozens of industry folks, and the consensus is it’s the talk of the town behind closed doors, but no one is willing to go on the record—perhaps fearing that it could hurt them down the line, should Weinstein return from the dead.
Even late-night TV hosts, who relish assuming the role of moral arbiter, have — with the notable exception of Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver — thus far refused to violate the apparent omertà.