Friday, October 6, 2017 at 8:17 AM

This Hurricane Harvey Harassed Hollywood Hotties for Decades

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Two decades ago, the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein invited Ashley Judd to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what the young actress expected to be a business breakfast meeting. Instead, he had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower, she recalled in an interview.

An investigation by the New York Times found previously undisclosed allegations against Mr. Weinstein stretching over nearly three decades, documented through interviews with current and former employees and film industry workers, as well as legal records, emails and internal documents from the businesses he has run, Miramax and the Weinstein Company.

(New York Times, October 5, 2017)

Foremost, it is noteworthy that even worse allegations of sexual harassment did not stop Donald Trump, a wannabe Hollywood mogul, from running for president of the United States. I commented on his “grab-them-by-the-pussy” scandal in “Donald Trump’s Growing Bill-Cosby Problem,” October 15, 2016.

But given this precedent, Harvey Weinstein, a bona fide Hollywood mogul, could be forgiven for thinking that these allegations should not stop him from running his movie studio.

Of course, if he had any respect for himself or the women he harassed, he would resign immediately and spend the rest of his life making amends, instead of lying in wait to begin making movies again.

By the same token, if his liberal friends in Hollywood (like Meryl Streep and Matt Damon) had any respect for themselves or his victims, they would denounce Weinstein the way they denounced Trump, instead of lying in wait to make more movies with, or get more charitable donations from, him. It should go without saying that this onus is doubly so for his liberal friends in Washington (like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama).

Still, I suppose it’s a good thing that this SOB had the decency to at least take a leave of absence to get his head straight. Never mind that, at this stage in his life, old age and a shriveled libido will probably do more to curb his predatory impulses than his “team of people” ever could. Indeed, his public “apology” reeked of cynicism, and I’m not sure which betrayed it more: blaming his piggish behavior on a hangover from the age of free love or seeking absolution from his therapists:

I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different [but] have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office — or out of it.

I’ve brought on therapists and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. …

I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party.

(Variety, October 5, 2017)

That said, I’m obliged to wonder about women who settle privately with men like Weinstein for cash, and then go public years later with their claims of sexual harassment … for sympathy? The New York Times documents at least eight settlements between 1990 and 2015.

This is what bothered me about Bill Cosby’s main accuser. Thankfully, the 49 other women – who made similar claims but were not compromised by his cash – sealed that SOB’s fate.

But just as the predatory Weinstein cannot blame a bygone culture for his behavior, these liberated women cannot blame it for their silence.

Hell, didn’t we celebrate Anita Hill as the Rosa Parks of the fight against sexual harassment? She had the courage to come forward against a nominee to the US Supreme Court 26 years ago. Therefore, I see no reason why women should not have the courage to come forward against anyone today — even if that person is the president of the United States (a la Paula Jones v. Bill Clinton).

This I why I am so dismayed that, as I proffered in my commentary on Cosby, for every one of Weinstein’s victims who comes forward, there are probably 10 or more who will not.

That said, I’d be remiss not to mention Gretchen Carlson. I hailed her for going public “Women Complain Fox News Head, Roger Ailes, Has Dick for Brains,” July 20, 2016.

Indeed, it’s arguable that, if Judd had gone public two decades ago, she would have taken down movie mogul Weinstein the way Carlson took down TV mogul Roger Ailes. Not to mention the courage Carlson gave other women to take down the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Eric Bolling.

In any case, I trust the takeaway from this latest sexual-harassment scandal is that women should go public. Further, that they should be prepared to suffer whatever professional backlash doing so might still entail. After all, if the “balance of power” between Weinstein and each of his accusers who settled was 10 to 1, it was 100 to 1 between Ailes and Carlson.

Besides, going public could result in legal cash settlements that make private settlements look like chump change. And, trust me, that is precisely what predatory men like Weinstein consider the payments they make to their accusers. What’s more, with each accuser they pay off, they feel more entitled to continue behaving the way they do.

Related commentaries:
Donald Trump
Gretchen Carlson
Roger Ailes dead
Bill O’Reilly
Bill Cosby

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