It's been described as Hollywood's open secret, and with the steadily rising numbers alleging abuse could it have been anything else? The revelations surrounding Harvey Weinstein are disgusting. And unless you're a perverted creep I can't imagine you're thinking otherwise. But the fact that decades of alleged harassment, assault and abuse have been taking place, and so few decided to challenge it, is just as shocking.
"We're at a point in time when women need to send a clear message that this is over... This way of treating women ends now." Gwyneth Paltrow
Victims are not to be blamed in instances of their own suffering and the suggestion of anything otherwise is mind boggling. The accounts of Weinstein's alleged abuse indicate a predatory and authoritarian nature with which he abused his privileged and powerful position. The difficulties and challenges faced by women in these cases are quite clear but I don't agree with Gwyneth, it should not be over, it should never have begun.
To see so many women have the confidence to come forward now, speaks volumes to the power and courage that comes with numbers, and to encourage the confidence to do this is a difficult task. But its quite evident the industry has enabled the likes of Weinstein to abuse and mistreat women and that much of what is now public knowledge may very well have been public knowledge to those on the inside for decades. That such abuse was and continues to be tolerated and turned a blind eye too, speaks volumes about Hollywood and the people who have built an industry on sex appeal, glitz and glamour. Such abuses take place in work places of all kinds to varying degrees but the movie industry has in this instance shown its glamour has a very dark side. Why did so many continue to work with Weinstein and remain in such positions of vulnerability without public protest against industry abuse and why does this line on 'ends now' even exist. I keep hearing about work place cultures of the 60's and 70's being a different place and its a line Weinstein tried to use - I don't buy it and I don't like it, its never been okay.
Three years after her alleged abuse why did Paltrow, god-daughter of Steven Spielberg, daughter of producer-director Bruce Paltrow and actress Blythe Danner thank Weinstein for her Oscar and work with him again? Angelina Jolie never worked with Weinstein again after the alleged incident but as the co-chair of a summit on sexual violence in conflict, a summit I attended and championed - why did she never raise issues around harassment and abuse in her own working industry? These are women of influence and authority in an industry where that's somewhat hard to come by.
George Clooney has said he had no idea of the extent to such abuse but knew he was a 'dog' . Matt Damon and Russell Crowe are alleged to have tried to kill a story bringing to surface some of Weinstein's abuse in 2004. Was everyone just too afraid to speak out?
We should applaud the bravery of the women who have come forward to share their stories. The fight against sexual harassment and abuse cannot continue without awareness. But we must take a fervent stand, and protest against discriminatory attitudes and sexist work environments whatever the industry. To continue to have a professional relationship with someone after an incident as such, this is the type of attitude that told Weinstein for decades that he wins.
As investigations by police in the U.S. and U.K begin, until now little known Lysette Anthony and Battilana Gutierrez are the only individuals to our current knowledge to have gone to the authorities. How many people in the industry were aware of what was going on but chose to turn a blind eye and remain silent? As I mentioned above the evidence seems to indicate it would have been difficult not to be in on Hollywoods open secret, it's something 'everyone knew' about.
Weinstein's career may be finished but what about the rumours and allegations surrounding so many other directors, producers and actors? Woody Allen for example, he may not want a witchhunt as he's called it but are those that work with him going to finally take a stand or is his personal life still none of their business?
When Brie Larson chose not to applaud Casey Affleck at the Golden Globes and Oscars that was her - a young, talented and successful women taking a stand. But how many other players in the industry can say that they have or would've done the same? Right now, I can't help but think about Dylan Farrows' open letter in 2014 after her father had been awarded the Golden Globe lifetime achievement award. Her open letter was to those that continue to work with him, writing as a victim of alleged sexual abuse as a child. She began her letter as I'd like to end this post asking all of the players who have come out to support victims of sexual harassment and abuse - What's your favourite Woody Allen movie?