Weinstein: Why Hollywood liberals were silent
When Fox News’ CEO, the late Roger Ailes, and host Bill O’Reilly were revealed as serial sexual harassers, virtue-signaling liberals were indignant—and triumphant, said Alexandra DeSanctis in NationalReview.com. Now it turns out the twin liberal bastions of Hollywood and the media were actively ignoring monstrous abuse of women by one of their own. Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein, 65, was fired this week by his own company after The New York Times and The New Yorker detailed three decades’ worth of harassment and sexual abuse allegations against him by a host of young actresses and subordinates, including Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie. In the liberal circles in which Weinstein traveled, his “twisted inclinations” were an open secret—but were ignored. Apparently, many people on the Left “value political loyalty more than they cherish principle.” Now Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and other Democrats are belatedly condemning Weinstein, said WeeklyStandard.com in an editorial. But every member of the liberal establishment, from Washington to New York to Hollywood, should have to answer the question “What did they know about their friend Harvey, and when did they know it?”
Sorry, said Benjamin Hart in NYMag.com, but Republicans “have less-than-zero credibility on this issue.” Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the Access Hollywood tape on which presidential nominee Donald Trump had bragged of getting away with grabbing women’s private parts because he was “a star”—a claim many women came forth to say was true. Did Republicans condemn Trump? Some did, for a day or two. But then the party rallied around its candidate, and Trump is now “the most powerful man on earth.” Do Republicans really want to play this game? asked Tina Brown in NYTimes.com. Weinstein has just been fired in disgrace. What do they propose we do with “the serial sexual harasser in the White House?”
If we’re naming and shaming sexual predators, said Dan McLaughlin in NationalReview.com, let’s not forget the “elephant in the room”: one William Jefferson Clinton. During and after his rise to the presidency, Clinton was famously a skirt chaser who was accused by multiple women of harassment and even rape. But feminists and the Democratic establishment decided they could overlook predatory behavior by a powerful liberal man for the sake of “the cause.” And when the Clinton machine attacked his accusers as nuts and sluts, Democrats also maintained a complicit silence.
The good news, said Rebecca Traister in NYMag.com, is that the days of silence may be over. The fact that Weinstein, Ailes, O’Reilly, and Trump were all outed as abusers within the space of a year suggests that “something has changed,” and that harassment and abuse are no longer excusable foibles of powerful men. Emboldened women are finding strength in numbers, and are speaking out. Let’s hope so, said David French in NationalReview.com, but the human weaknesses that enabled powerful people like Ailes and Weinstein to get away with their appalling behavior won’t be easily erased. In each abuser’s case, his colleagues and underlings ignored or even colluded to hide what they knew, because of their personal ambition. Why risk their own careers, and face the abuser’s wrath, to help powerless victims? Wherever money, fame, and power are valued above all else, “moral courage is in short supply.” So the world inhabited by Weinstein and Ailes, Clinton and Trump, will continue to be “the world we live in.” ■