Someday Hollywood will make a “bio pic” about producer Harvey Weinstein, but it won’t be produced by him, nor will he ever have anything to do with the film industry again, apparently.
His fall from grace has been swift and brutal, as allegations about his sexual assaults and general debauched behavior with starlets have been made public.
Early last week, numerous outlets reported that Weinstein was fleeing to a rehab center somewhere in Europe, where he would supposedly enter residential treatment for his sex addiction and other behavioral issues. Fox News reported “he allegedly still hopes rehab will allow him to make a comeback at a later date.”
Yeah, that doesn’t seem likely, since days ago, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts booted him, and apparently the Producers Guild of America will be meeting tomorrow to vote on whether or not they should follow suit.
Now the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists — the Oscars — has officially expelled him from the organization.
It’s not looking good for a comeback, that’s for damn sure.
Per the LA Times, The film academy’s 54-member board of governors, which includes such industry luminaries as Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Kathleen Kennedy and Whoopi Goldberg, voted in an emergency meeting on Saturday morning to remove Weinstein from the organization’s ranks in an unprecedented public rebuke of a prominent industry figure. The move marked the latest blow in Weinstein’s stunning downfall and, in symbolic terms, amounts to a virtual expulsion from Hollywood itself.
In removing Weinstein from the organization’s ranks, the academy’s board said in a statement, “We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over. What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society. The Board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify.”
As a woman, I do personally believe there should be consequences for bad behavior by men in positions of authority. However, as all too many women have found out, this kind of abuse is not limited to the famed Hollywood casting couch.
I would venture to guess virtually any industry – large or small – has its own versions of Harvey Weinstein. Heck, even the Catholic Church has had to purge its own sexual predators after decades (if not centuries) of turning a blind eye.
The question is, will Weinstein be pilloried as an example, or will the purge continue? The LA Times says, within the academy some wrestled with the decision, fearing that it could set a precedent that would require the academy to police its members’ behavior going forward. As many have pointed out in recent days, other Hollywood figures who have come under attack for their treatment of women and other behavior that could be seen as violating what the academy now calls “ethical standards of conduct” — including Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski and Mel Gibson — remain members of the academy in good standing.
So how is it that this hypocrisy is allowed to continue? If Hollywood is going to clean house, it needs to do so across the board. This behavior must be discussed, publicized and punished.
However, there’s a double-edged sword. What if the allegations happen to be false?
While there seems to be no doubt from the testimonies of actresses throughout the decades that Weinstein was indeed a perv, there are other cases where “allegations” can be used to attempt character assassination – as was used against Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. He likened it to a “high-tech lynching.”
The victim mentality is pervasive in our culture and I personally worry “perceived” slights or advances will dilute the ability to root out the true abusers.
And then there’s the pervasive hypocrisy and selective indignation, which seems to be particularly rampant on the left.
After Hugh Hefner’s death, feminist Camille Paglia gave an interesting interview to The Hollywood Reporter in which she discussed “Hugh Hefner’s Legacy, Trump’s Masculinity and Feminism’s Sex Phobia.”
She particularly singled out Gloria Steinem saying, as a Democrat, I also blame her for having turned feminism into a covert adjunct of the Democratic party. I have always felt that feminism should transcend party politics and be a big tent welcoming women of faith and of all views into it. Also, I hold against Steinem her utter, shameless hypocrisy during the Bill Clinton scandal. After promoting sexual harassment guidelines, which I had also supported since the 1980s, Steinem waved away one of the worst cases of sexual harassment violation that can ever be imagined — the gigantic gap of power between the President of the United States and an intern! All of a sudden, oh, no, it was all fine, it was “private.” What rubbish! That hypocrisy by partisan feminist leaders really destroyed feminism for a long time.
Indeed. There is no excuse for Harvey Weinstein’s behavior. But there is also no excuse for giving others a pass, and not completely wiping the slate clean. Good riddance!
[This article was written by Michele Hickford, author of the brutally honest and bitingly funny Do I Need To Slap You?]