Under the bright lights of Hollywood, there has been a lingering darkness which finally came to surface this past week. The darkness was exposed by The New York Times, which published an exposé alleging that film producer Harvey Weinstein had committed various acts of sexual harassment and sexual assault over the span of three decades.
In the wake of this shocking report, various actresses and actors have spoken out about being sexually harassed or sexually assaulted by producers or actors in Hollywood. What started as a case against Weinstein has now turned into a full-blown war against an aspect of Hollywood culture that has been shrouded in secrecy until now.
For the victims, it is completely unfair to pass judgement on them unless you were in their shoes. Many of the people coming out saying they have been sexually harassed in Hollywood admit that they did not speak up for fear of having their careers ruined.
Even though some people will not want to hear this, movie producers like Weinstein hold a lot of power in the industry. These people have the ability to drop actors from certain projects and spread ill will about them to other studios.
To avoid the risk of losing their jobs or careers, the stories of abuse were concealed by the victims and the people in Hollywood who had knowledge of what their colleagues were doing to other human beings. It is disheartening to have to write this, but it is an unfortunate reality that many have had to face.
What this scandal has also done is again exemplify that there are plenty of individuals in Hollywood with a very hypocritical mentality. As much as certain celebrities like to preach their viewpoints to others, there are skeletons in their own closets that they would gladly keep hidden.
Let us take Ben Affleck as the pinnacle example of hypocrisy in this whole situation. When the news of Weinstein’s actions broke, Affleck took to social media to slam the movie producer and talk about how it was wrong to abuse women or take advantage of them.
Affleck acted all high and mighty until several women started revealing that he had groped or sexually harassed them himself throughout the course of his career. One actress, Rose McGowan, flat out stated that Affleck was fully aware of Weinstein’s behavior for years. Less than 24 hours after condemning Weinstein’s actions, Affleck took to Twitter and insincerely apologize for his revolting behavior.
That is before we get to the fact that his own brother, Casey Affleck, was involved in a legal case with a woman over claims of sexual harassment and lewd behavior. While the court case ended in a settlement, Ben Affleck never once spoke out about the allegations regarding his brother. The Oscar-winning actor and director is getting everything he deserves and has no right to anyone’s sympathy.
Another example of Hollywood hypocrisy comes with actress Kate Winslet. The actress also blasted Weinstein for his behavior, specifically calling it “disgraceful.” I guess she did not feel that way about the behavior of Woody Allen or Roman Polanski, two filmmakers the actress has worked with in the last decade.
Winslet recently spoke to The New York Times about the controversy surrounding the aforementioned directors, claiming that she did not know if any of the allegations were true. Winslet specifically stated in situations like this, “… you put it to one side and just work with the person.” So Weinstein’s actions are “disgraceful,” but Winslet just puts it to the side when working with other filmmakers who have been embroiled in the same controversy? Does that make sense to you?
This whole situation is infuriating in every sense of the word. I am angry at the fact that so many women were victimized and threatened into silence. I am angry that certain people knew about this victimization and did nothing to stop it to save their own careers. Most of all, I am angry at the fact that sexual harassment is still a major issue in our society.
If some of the most powerful people in the world feel like they can not speak out about being victimized, then imagine what must go on for women in the everyday workforce. It is an unacceptable issue that can not be tolerated any longer. The one good thing that can come out of all of this scandal is that it breathes new life into the battle against the sexual harassment women face all throughout this country.
– Published in The Montclarion on Oct. 19, 2017