Harvey Weinstein and the problem of collaborators

Dworkin helped to popularize the speak-out as a way of combating sexual violence by breaking the silence that surrounded it. Since the 1970s, speech has been a traditional feminist weapon against sexual violence: It was women telling their stories, and other women agreeing to believe those stories, that first brought rape, incest and other forms of violence against women out in the open and on to the policy table.

.. Dworkin developed her theory that men “collaborated” with each other to maintain gender supremacy through violence against women.

Dworkin employed a sweeping definition of what men did to deliver women into the hands of their abusers, acts that were both active and passive

.. This loss had consequences for Dworkin’s reputation. Her activism left her, and other feminists, stigmatized as anti-pleasure and anti-sex. MacKinnon, to this day a distinguished law professor with numerous achievements, survived the smears, but Dworkin did not. A woman whose first books had been supported by major presses in the 1970s scrambled to find anyone willing to publish her in the 1990s.

.. But were Dworkin with us today, her sharpest criticism might be reserved not for Weinstein himself, but for his collaborators.

.. There were those who actively collaborated, and those who, for their own calculated reasons, colluded through their silence.

  • There were the people who claim not to know that the “casting couch” is alive and well in Hollywood.
  • There were the assistants who delivered young actresses to suites where Weinstein waited for a “massage” in a bathrobe.
  • There were the agents who accepted these assaults as just another rite of passage for their female clients.
  • There were the husbands and boyfriends who shut up, even after confronting the producer.
  • There was his brother and business partner, Bob Weinstein, who claims to have been completely in the dark about his brother’s “depraved” assaults on women.
  • There were the politicians who accepted campaign contributions.
  • There were the lawyers who negotiated the hush money.
  • And there were the editors who killed stories that they knew were true.