Weinstein: A cultural tipping point?
“America loves to see a Hollywood villain go down—and Harvey Weinstein is a true Hollywood villain,” said Lizzy Ratner in TheNation.com. Yet the sheer speed with which one of Tinseltown’s most powerful bullies has fallen from grace has been “thrilling.” In the past week, at least 47 actresses and film industry figures accused the Miramax producer of groping and assaulting them; W einstein, 65, “has lost his job, his wife, his kids”; he has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is facing criminal investigations by both the New York City and British police. Weinstein’s stunning downfall marks “a watershed moment in a watershed year,” said Lorraine Ali in the Los Angeles Times. In 2017, three other media giants— Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, and Bill Cosby— were all felled by their own sexual assault scandals. We may have reached a cultural tipping point. To quote comedian Samantha Bee: “Listen up, creeps. We are coming for you.”
Weinstein’s downfall was a start, said Lindsey Bahr in the Associated Press. “But is Hollywood truly capable of change?” The industry’s power structure is overwhelmingly male, and sexual harassment is so historically prevalent, it “even got a cutesy name: the casting couch.” It’s not just Hollywood, said Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times. Men still dominate executive positions in almost every industry, and 4 in 10 women say they have endured unwanted advances at work. “In any field where women consistently have to please men to realize their ambitions—or simply survive—there will be ex ploi ta tion.” The only solution? “Put more women in charge.”
Maybe we are reaching a tipping point on sexual harassment, said Kendall Taggart in BuzzFeed.com, but there’s one glaring exception: President Trump. During the campaign, more than a dozen women publicly accused the then real estate mogul of sexually assaulting them, after he bragged about such behavior on tape. He was elected president anyway. “Yet, in some way, it feels like Trump’s election helped bring about Weinstein’s demise,” said Gillian Bohrer and Dara Resnick in The Washington Post.
In Hollywood, a city of liberals saw a presidential candidate “publicly, unapologetically behaving like the producer we all whispered about,” and making it to the White House. “And we said, ‘Not in our house.’” Outraged women finally told their stories about Weinstein to journalists, who printed them. Throughout Hollywood, the business world, and politics, Weinstein’s fellow predators “are scared right now.” ■