When I read about the rather egregious behaviour of Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein this last week I was shocked.
I’m not shocked of course that a slimy movie producer would use his position of power to extract sexual favours from actresses in exchange for movie parts. Anyone watching some of the acting put out by some of the more recent Hollywood “starlets” knows they didn’t make it in tinsel-town on merit alone. Ten thousand young pretty girls a year famously get off the bus from some little town you’ve never heard of trying to become a star, the ones who make it against that sort of competition must REALLY want it.
And the casting couch has been notorious not just over the course of the past few decades of loose morals and looser panties but even back before the sexual revolution. The last hundred plus years of American cinema has essentially been the story of rich powerful men choosing which young women gain the ultimate status of becoming famous.
If we’re honest, many of the young women [and many men] were more than happy to oblige. Actors and actresses both are not exactly famous for their moral integrity. Even as far back as ancient Greece and Rome the most sexually debauched and morally disgusting people in the land were well known to be amongst the thespian set.
I’m not shocked by his behaviour.
I’m shocked that it came out.
Usually Hollywood covers up for the almost aggressive degeneracy of its stars and powerbrokers. Weinstein is certainly not the cinematic titan he was only a few short years ago but this is a town that still hasn’t thrown Roman Polanski under the bus.
And any number of people could have blown the whistle at any time; if Glenn Close and Kate Winslet are admitting to hearing rumours then it’s fair to say that most of the far more important players would have been well aware. After all, when you put a man in charge of hundreds of millions of dollars it pays to keep an eye on him, and Weinstein was hardly subtle. Some of the stories now emerging seem to paint a picture of a man who took full advantage of his position to sleep with an almost uncountable amount of women.
In 2004 one journalist claims she was prepared to publish a story with the New York Times, stating that Weinstein had appointed a man head of Miramax Italy on $400,000 for less than a year of work purely to procure him fresh female meat. The Journalist claims Matt Damon and Russell Crowe called her to convince her to drop the story, though eventually under pressure from Weinstein himself the NYT caved and continued the cover up.
Weinstein even had Meryll Streep publicly refer to him as “God” in a Golden Globes speech. One study showed that Oscar winners were more likely to thank Weinstein in their acceptance speeches than the almighty himself.
The obese producer had political connections up the wazzoo. He is a long time Clinton family donor who even donated to Bill’s legal defence fund in the 1990s. The Clintons even rented a home next to Weinstein in the Hamptons in 2015. For Hilary’s 2016 campaign he organised a 1.8 million dollar fundraiser attended by Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.
He visited the White house over a dozen times during the Obama Administration and had Michelle Obama publicly praise him as “a wonderful person and a good friend”. He raised money for Planned Parenthood, helped endow a faculty chair at Rutgers University in Gloria Steinem’s name and distributed a film about “campus rape culture” The Hunting Ground.
He was even working with Michael Moore to make an anti-Trump documentary provisionally titled “Fahrenheit 11/9”. The title is a reference to Moore’s anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 which Weinstein also produced.
This guy couldn’t be more protected, politically connected and looked out for if he tried. So why on earth have all the pillars of the establishment fallen down on this guy’s troll-like head?
Most seem to suggest that because his star is slowly dimming and he isn’t making the blockbusters he used to the system has finally decided to regurgitate this disgusting piece of flem up.
But that’s bullshit.
People as powerful as Weinstein are never held to account for what they do, particularly not when they have connections to the movie industry. Success in relation to the silver screen is a golden ticket to a fraternity where you can debase yourself to your hearts delight, always certain that the people around you will cover for you [unless you do something really stupid, like be conspicuously Christian or right wing].
This guy has been thrown so hard under the wheels of the proverbial bus that some of the sleaziest politicians in the United States are donating the money he gave them to charity. If you’ve ever had anything to do with a politician [even one of the better ones] you know how extreme a circumstance this really is.
For decades almost everyone around this guy knew that he was an aggressive monster who couldn’t take no for an answer both in and out of the bedroom. They even parodied his famous persona on the television show Entourage with the character “Harvey Weingard”.
Impeccably feminist Tina Fey’s show 30 Rock was making jokes about him taking advantage of actresses 5 years ago.
Everyone in the inner circles of American cultural elites seems to have known. It looks as though it was the worst kept secret ever.
So why now? Why in a business so well known for protecting perverts did this happen at all?
Associated Press seems to think it’s because the media has become more virtuous over time so that behaviour by powerful men that was brushed off in the past is now cracked down on by the ferocious warriors for decency that are the fourth estate.
Having met journalists in my life I am slightly sceptical of this view.
There is nothing in the recent revelations that was not widely known long, long ago. It has long been in the power of the press to put an end to the gross conduct of Harvey Weinstein.
Is there something more that we aren’t being told? If they were so comfortable covering up for this man for so long who knows what else still lies swept beneath the rug?
Currently we don’t have an answer and probably never will. Weinstein has probably been sacrificed for reasons far beyond the understanding of outsider plebs like ourselves.
But for a short second we have been allowed to peak behind the curtain and see what those who preach down at us really get up to when they think they can get away with it.
And my isn’t it ugly.
Photo by nick step
Photo by GabboT