Filmmaking mogul Harvey Weinstein has been accused of unchecked sexual harassment dating back decades.
A bombshell story in The New York Times reported the co-owner of Miramax has reached at least eight settlements with women, including actress Ashley Judd and “Charmed” star Rose McGowan. Weinstein allegedly invited women to his hotel rooms, using business reasons as a ruse, and then would confront them in the nude or ask them to massage him or watch him shower or masturbate.
After tinsel town’s worst kept secret finally came to light on Oct. 5, Weinstein was fired from his own company, the Weinstein Company.
However, the news was met with a “deafening silence” from many of Hollywood’s filmmakers, actors and actresses. Only a small handful of actors condemned Weinstein’s actions in the immediate aftermath of the expose, including Lena Dunham, Brie Larson and Amber Tamblyn.
The woman who chose to speak about their experience of harassment by Harvey Weinstein deserve our awe. It's not fun or easy. It's brave.— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) October 5, 2017
As always, I stand with the brave survivors of sexual assault and harassment. It's not your fault. I believe you.— Brie Larson (@brielarson) October 5, 2017
Let me be emphatically clear. This tweet was for those who want to blame victims.— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) October 5, 2017
Fellow women: Come. Forward.
I will stand beside you. https://t.co/0IKNaEBy9g
Rose McGowan, who reportedly received a settlement from Weinstein back in 1997, noticed the absence of condemnation and shot back at the leading ladies of Hollywood.
Yes, ladies of Hollywood, where are you? https://t.co/t91LcWn6SP— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 7, 2017
Ladies of Hollywood, your silence is deafening.— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 7, 2017
A few actresses like Meryl Streep and Judi Dench also weighed in — but days later. Streep said she was “appalled” by the “disgraceful” allegations. Dench also said she did was “completely unaware” of the “horrifying” claims.
Kate Winslet, who won an Oscar for “The Reader,” a Weinstein Company production, also released a statement saying Weinstein had “behaved in reprehensible and disgusting ways.”
“The fact that these women are starting to speak out about the gross misconduct of one of our most important and well regarded film producers, is incredibly brave and has been deeply shocking to hear,” Winslet said in a statement given exclusively to Variety.
However, most A-list actors and male directors, who have worked on projects with Weinstein, have responded with a “no comment,” according to the Guardian.
Most of the Hollywood male glitterati, who have, in the past, been very vocal on issues like gender equality and other social injustices, and have openly criticized President Donald Trump after similar accusations of sexual assault rose against him, have not similarly condemned Weinstein. The list includes Oscar-nominated Quentin Tarantino and filmmaker Michael Moore, who is currently working with Weinstein on a documentary about Trump.
Since the birth of Hollywood, the “casting couch” — a euphemism for filmmakers preying on young, vulnerable women — has existed. Sexual abuse, coercion and threats have been the norm for many ingénues.
Harvey Weinstein is one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and turning down a meeting with him is not easy for an actor, especially a new one. The Weinstein Company has elevated actors and films to Oscar glory while dozens of actors had their careers kick-started by nominations. A-list actors like Anna Paquin, Mira Sorvino, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence and Penelope Cruz have won Oscars for Weinstein films and have showered the media mogul with praises in their acceptance speeches.
What’s worse is that Weinstein is not the only sexual predator in the showbiz industry. Over the years, film and TV bigwigs like Alfred Hitchcock, Bill Cosby, David O. Selznick, Woody Allen and Roman Polanski have been accused of sexually assaulting women.
Allen’s own daughter accused him of sexually abusing her as a child while Polanski’s rape victims continue to come forward. Despite all this, the cream of Hollywood is still queuing up to work on their films — and thereby promoting this culture of traumatizing and humiliating women.
The silence of men and women in the wake of Harvey Weinstein allegations speaks volume about the culture of misogyny in Hollywood. The fact that Weinstein’s lecherous conduct has been an open secret in Hollywood for decades, yet for decades everyone has looked the other way. This itself reinforces the culture that forces women to keep silent. Meanwhile, the preying on vulnerable women continues.