October has been a slow month in terms of film, but the industry’s foundations have been shaken by recent allegations against Hollywood, big-wig Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein, who co-founded Miramax productions with his brother Bob Weinstein in 1979, has received 82 (current) allegations of sexual harassment. These allegations range from major movie stars to unidentified employees and assistants of Weinstein’s throughout the last thirty years.
All of the information that we currently have is allegations, but seeing the quantity of women that have stepped forward in defiance of Weinstein and other’s actions, we can assume that there is a large amount of truth in these statements. These allegations are various in their severity, but nonetheless are all harassments. Several of the victims have accused Weinstein of rape, while many accuse Weinstein of inappropriate advancements and offers.
Weinstein has been forcibly removed from his own company, shamed and berated by peers and friends within the industry and his current wife has left him. Weinstein’s actions have not gone unpunished. His life has been drastically shaken within this last month based off of his unacceptable actions within the last 30 years.
Weinstein has allegedly offered “hush-money” to various women, actress Rose McGowan has stated she learned through her lawyer that someone close to Weinstein offered her hush money to sign a non-disclosure agreement in 1997.
Other prominent actresses that have lent their voice to the movement and allegations against Weinstein include: Asia Argento, Kate Beckinsdale, Cara Delevinge, Lena Headey, Angelina Jolie, Lupita Nyong’o, Gwyneth Paltrow and Annabella Sciorra. These names hold weight in the industry, they garner massive attention, but think of the other 74 names that aren’t as recognizable. Their names matter. Their accounts matter. We should not drown out their voices with our media coverage of bigger names that will receive more interaction and readership.
Weinstein is an Oscar award winning producer, something that holds great weight in Hollywood and helped to cement his position within the film industry. With these recent allegations, it is highly possible that Weinstein could lose his partnership with the Academy. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science has already issued a statement explaining that Weinstein’s actions are “repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the Academy.” This will most likely result in Weinstein losing his Oscar and his Academy status. The Academy has only removed two members from its ranks since its creation, the other being Carmine Caridi who was removed because he shared VHS screeners of potential Oscar nominees with the public. This incident will hold great weight in the Academy and will serve as a precedent and leading example should other instances of harassment arise.
Susan Dominus of the New York Times writes, “Mr. Weinstein, his accusers say, built his long history of abusing women on a risky gamble that worked for him over and over — the assumption that money or threats could buy women’s silence on a subject so intimate and painful that most would prefer not to go public anyway.”
This statement is terrifyingly true. It did work. This subject is a delicate and difficult one to talk about and Weinstein manipulated this to his advantage. It’s sickening. We should praise these women for rising up and having the bravery to share a very personal and hurtful area of their lives. His assumption that women would want to boost and further their careers in the industry at the cost of pleasing him and giving in to his perverted desire was one of extreme ignorance. He silenced their voices, scared them into hiding, but these strong, brave women have rallied and shown just how corrupt Weinstein is.
As a fan of many of the movies that Miramax and Weinstein have produced, I do not take my love of his creations into my opinion on his guilt. Weinstein’s actions are disgusting. Regardless of his movie credentials and influence on the box-office, Weinstein cannot take back the hurt and fear that he has placed on these women’s lives. This case is extremely important, as it sets an example of how one voice can change the tide. For this, we thank the victims for taking their stand.
By Will Blase, features editor