Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood

Nicole Braun, Opinion Editor

President Donald Trump. Prime-time news anchor Bill O’Reilly. Former CEO of Fox News Roger Ailes. All of these men are incredibly powerful and immensely influential in our media-driven society, and every one of them has been accused of assaulting numerous women. How many of them have confessed? None.


Film producer and Hollywood production icon Harvey Weinstein is the latest mogul to be accused of sexual harassment. Some of Hollywood’s leading ladies, such as Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd, are among his accusers. The news broke on October 5th with the publication of an article written by The New York Times that outlined the undisclosed allegations against Weinstein. Days later, on October 8th, Weinstein was fired from his own corporation, the Weinstein Company, which he founded with his brother.


Unsurprisingly, women in the industry took to social media to condemn Weinstein’s actions and praise the victims who have spoken up. Icon Meryl Streep spoke to the Huffington Post and regarded the “intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse [as] our heroes.”


Despite the eight settlements that Weinstein made to subdue his victims and allegations, many in the entertainment industry still knew of his “coercive” acts committed against his female co-workers. In fact, on the television show 30 Rock, Jane Krakowski’s character made a few comments throughout the show’s run that poked fun at the fact that many women trying to make it big in Hollywood were offered “help” from Weinstein.


Another fact about the scandal that makes it so unique is that the boards of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and the Producers Guild of America (PGA) voted to revoke Weinstein’s lifetime membership. They also considered taking away his best-picture Oscar that he won in 1999 for his film Shakespeare in Love. This is interesting because the 2017 winner for best actor, Casey Affleck, was accused of sexual harassment, yet he still won the award, after the charges were brought to light.


The most recent movements of the AMPAS and PGA, and the globally widespread hashtag “#metoo,” designed to show the true enormity of those affected by sexual assault, seem to prove that society is no longer brushing Weinstein and any others’ behavior under the rug. This has been a long time coming, as we have seen too many scandals that have rattled society. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem, commented on Weinstein’s actions, saying that they probably would not have had such a strong impact had it not been for the other allegations, still fresh in the minds of many. She remarked that Weinstein’s case is “not the last gasp, but it is a step on the way to it because the popular opinion is: this is wrong. There are words for it. There are laws for it. You get punished for it. You get fired for it. It’s a step on the way.”