The ’70s and Us

In certain ways sexual predation actually was the culture in the years when Weinstein came of age, in the entertainment industry and the wider society it influenced and mirrored.

.. There is a liberal tendency to regard sexual exploitation as a patriarchal constant that feminism has mitigated, and a conservative tendency to regard it as a problem that’s gotten steadily worse since the sexual revolution.

.. You can remember some of it with ’70s statistics: Never so many divorces, never so many abortions, a much higher rate of rape, an S.T.D. crisis that culminated in the AIDS epidemic.

..  something new happenedin Catholicism between 1960 and 1980: The prevalence of pedophilia stayed about the same, but suddenly the rate of priests groping and seducing and raping teenagers shot way, way up. As went Bowie and Zeppelin, so went the most putatively-conservative institution in the country.

.. The coarse worldview I’ve called “Hefnerism” endured, as the victims of Weinstein and Bill Clinton and Donald Trump can well attest.

.. They featured our civilization’s last great burst of creative energy. Those predatory directors and rape-y rock stars made great movies and memorable music.

.. peace feels like cultural exhaustion.

 

Weinstein and Our Culture of Enablers

The enablers were of all sorts.

Corporate board members who declined to investigate allegations of his sexual behavior and now claim the news comes as “an utter surprise.”

Assistants who acted as “honeypots,” joining meetings between Mr. Weinstein and his intended victims to give them a sense of security — and then leaving the predator to his prey.

Reporters who paid him tribute with awards, did his bidding with fawning coverage, or went after his enemies with hit pieces.

A lavishly paid Italian studio executive whose real job, according to former Times reporter Sharon Waxman, was “to take care of Weinstein’s women needs.” (A lawyer for the executive reportedly denies the allegation.)

.. Mr. Weinstein’s depredations were an open film industry secret, the subject of an onstage joke by Seth MacFarlane at the 2013 Oscar nomination announcement. Everyone laughed because everyone got it.

Some of his victims, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, became Hollywood powers in their own right but never publicly rang an alarm until this week.

The actor Ben Affleck, who owes his start to Mr. Weinstein, is an overnight laughingstock because he acts surprised by the producer’s behavior. He won’t be the only celebrity doing his best Claude Rains “shocked, shocked” impression.

.. Irwin Reiter, a top Weinstein Company executive, sought to console one of the office assistants harassed by Mr. Weinstein by saying the “mistreatment of women” was a longstanding company issue and that “if you were my daughter he would not have made out so well.” But Reiter never went public.

.. In recent years, notes New York magazine’s Rebecca Traister, Weinstein has “lost power in the movie industry” and is no longer “the indie mogul who could make or break an actor’s Oscar chances.” Lame horses get shot.

.. he was just another libidinous cad in a libertine culture that long ago dispensed with most notions of personal restraint and gentlemanly behavior. “I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different,” Weinstein wrote in his mea culpa to The Times last week. “That was the culture then.”

.. That line was roundly mocked, but it contains its truth. Like those other libidinous cads — Bill Clinton and Donald Trump — Weinstein benefited from a culture that often celebrated, constantly depicted, sometimes enabled, seldom confronted, and all-too frequently forgave the behavior they so often indulged in.

.. The old saw that all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing was never truer than it was in Weinstein’s case.

The Pigs of Liberalism

a certain kind of powerful liberal creep only gets his comeuppance when he’s weakened or old or in the grave. The awfulness of Ted Kennedy, at Chappaquiddick and after hours in D.C., can be acknowledged only now that he’s no longer a liberal lion in the Senate. The possibility that Bill Clinton might be not just an adulterer but a rapist can be entertained now that he’s no longer protecting abortion from the White House. The sins of Woody Allen … well, I’m sure Hollywood will start ostracizing him any day now.

.. If your culture’s code is libertine, don’t be surprised that worse things than libertinism flourish.

.. while not everyone knew exactly how Harvey Weinstein treated women, everyone knew what kind of man he was. The women he harassed didn’t have the power to restrain him, but plenty of powerful people did.

.. Weinstein didn’t like my question about O, there was an altercation; though the recording has alas been lost to time, I recall that he called me a cunt and declared that he was glad he was the “fucking sheriff of this fucking lawless piece-of-shit town.” When my colleague Andrew (who was also then my boyfriend) intervened, first calming him down and then trying to extract an apology, Weinstein went nuclear, pushing Andrew down a set of steps inside the Tribeca Grand — knocking him over with such force that his tape recorder hit a woman, who suffered long-term injury — and dragging Andrew, in a headlock, onto Sixth Avenue.

.. Such was the power of Harvey Weinstein in 2000 that despite the dozens of camera flashes that went off on that sidewalk that night, capturing the sight of an enormously famous film executive trying to pound in the head of a young newspaper reporter, I have never once seen a photo.

.. those who had encountered Weinstein often spoke of the conviction that they would never be believed.

.. But another reason that I never considered trying to report the story myself, even, truly, in the years after I did start writing about gender and power as my beat, was because it felt impossible. Sisyphean. I remembered what it was like to have the full force of Harvey Weinstein — back then a mountainous man — screaming vulgarities at me, his spit hitting my face. I had watched him haul my friend into the street and try to hurt him. That kind of force, that kind of power? I could not have won against that.

.. The best reporters out there tried, for years, perhaps most memorably David Carr, for this magazine. But Weinstein didn’t just exert physical power. He also employed legal and professional and economic power. He supposedly had every employee sign elaborate, binding nondisclosure agreements. He gave jobs to people who might otherwise work to bring him down, and gave gobs of money to other powerful people, who knows how much, but perhaps just enough to keep them from listening to ugly rumors that might circulate among young people, among less powerful people.

.. The accounts in the remarkable New York Times piece offer evidence of the ways in which power imbalance is so key to sexual assault, and in the case of Weinstein, to the ability to keep it from coming to light for so very long.

.. they all speak of the abusive thrill gained not from sex but from the imposition of your will on someone who has no ability to resist or defend themselves from you, an exertion of power on the powerless.

.. Recent years have seen scores of women, finding strength and some kind of power in numbers, come forward and tell their stories about Bill CosbyRoger AilesBill O’ReillyDonald Trump. In all of those cases, as in this case, the history of allegations has been an almost wholly open secret

.. Barack Obama, whose daughter recently worked as his intern.

..  I was also struck by his physical diminishment; he seemed small and frail, and, when I caught sight of him in May, he appeared to be walking with a cane. He has also lost power in the movie industry, is no longer the titan of independent film, the indie mogul who could make or break an actor’s Oscar chances.

.. His legal team also includes David Boies and Charles Harder, the lawyer who successfully sued Gawker on behalf of Hulk Hogan. Anita Dunn, who worked in the Obama White House, reportedly gave Weinstein pro bono PR advice in recent weeks; Weinstein has also, supposedly, reached out to the Clintons’ crisis PR honcho Lanny Davis.

Nolte: Silence is Complicity – The Powerful Said Nothing as Harvey Weinstein’s Alleged Victims Piled Up

, Weinstein manipulated and pocketed the entertainment media in extraordinary ways. He hired countless “journalists” to work for his company in various capacities, offered them glamorous opportunities, and oftentimes threatened to pull advertising from publications working on negative stories. An entertainment media starved for Oscar campaign dollars simply could not afford to lose Hollywood’s most prolific Oscar-winner and advertiser.

.. everyone knew, and no one did anything to stop it.

.. But silence is complicity and a whole lot of powerful people, by their own admission, remained silent, even though they believed these Ohio girl-victims were piling up like cord wood.

.. You can bet the house that Bill and Hillary Clinton knew all about the rumors surrounding Weinstein’s indefensible behavior, and so did Barack and Michelle Obama, and so did every single Democrat who benefitted from Weinstein’s donations and mega-fundraising.

But they still took the money, didn’t they?

.. And even though they knew the truth, Variety still took Weinstein’s advertising money.

.. And even though, going all the way back to 1997, she believed Weinstein was a monstrous serial-harasser, Ashley Judd still worked with him in 2002’s Frida and 2009’s Crossing Over — still put on a pussy hat and lashed out against “sexist” President Trump before she ever went public with what she knew for a fact about Weinstein.

.. So why go public now?

Weinstein is 65 years-old, his company is reportedly going broke, and he has not produced a hit in nearly five years. In other words, he is an aging, washed-up hasbeen who can no longer do anything for Hollywood’s Ashley Judds and Varietys.

.. This is about score-settling, not feminism.

This is about payback, not making the world a better place.

.. These are bad people who allowed a bad man to get away with doing bad things for as long as he was useful to them

.. Rotting leftwing Hollywood, the co-opted entertainment media, the Democrat Party and its national media enablers… a wicked and entrenched system, enablers all, who are every bit as guilty as good ole’ Harvey.