Harvey Weinstein did disgusting, reprehensible things and he should be punished for them. This is an easy thing to say, evidenced by the fact that many have said it already, from the various stars the disgraced mogul has worked with, to his former business partners, to former U.S. presidents, to even Weinstein’s friends, wife, and his own brother. Try saying it now, secure in the knowledge that you, too, are belatedly on the right side of history.
In fact, if you were never directly involved with Weinstein—or complicit in keeping his abuse of women an open Hollywood secret out of some craven concern for your own ambitions—then that’s really all anyone expects of you: base-level empathy for his victims, some revulsion that he was allowed to get away with it for so long, and gratitude for those who have now come forward. With its many on-the-record testimonies and taped evidence, condemnations from his own inner circle and even his very own written confessions, Harvey Weinstein is the rare, unambiguous case where it’s near impossible to have a bad opinion about it. Just say that women shouldn’t be sexually assaulted and take this gently sloping ramp to the moral high ground. Meryl Streep is up here!
Alternately, you could be one of the people on this list that—because we live in a Twitter-spun world that puts the lie to “no bad opinions” once per second—we’ll probably just have to keep updating.
In a since-deleted Facebook post, writer-director Paul Schrader wrote yesterday, “Of course, I knew Harvey Weinstein was a sexual gangster. So did most people who crossed his path. It was an odor that preceded him.” Not content to merely add his name to the list of filmmakers who kept his secrets for him or make Weinstein sound like a Rick James song, Schrader clarified that—while the rape stuff is certainly bad—what really grinds his gears was Weinstein’s lack of respect for the craft.
“That’s not what offended me most about the man,” Schrader wrote. “It was the fact that he purchased films by both Bernardo Bertolucci and Wong Kar-Wai and then recut them. TWC offered to purchase Bret Ellis and my The Canyons on the proviso that Harvey could recut it — Why would Bret and I, I screamed into the phone, undergo the sacrifice of self-financing a movie only to let an asshole like Harvey recut it?”
Anyway, Schrader’s “Yeah, but even worse, he almost ruined The Canyons!” take didn’t go over so well: “Go fuck yourself scumbag,” wrote actress Rose McGowan, who has become one of Weinstein’s most vociferous accusers, capturing the general sentiment.
After the backlash, Schrader tried walking it back in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, saying he had been “misinterpreted” and blaming the unfair, invasive nature of broadcasting your own unsolicited thoughts on social media (“The worst part of Facebook is you think you are part of a conversation, but in fact you got hijacked”). He also explained that “some people thought [I was saying] there were comparisons to be made” between Weinstein’s history of assaulting women and his reputation for recutting films without directors’ permission, just because Schrader had compared them in degrees of offensiveness. It was tone-deaf and navel-gazing, sure, but at least he actually condemned the stuff that is now safely being condemned by other people.
But what do the rest of The Canyons cast and crew think?, you were asking. And while we must wait to hear what adult film star/fellow accused rapist James Deen thinks, or find out how Bret Easton “Women Are Crazy And Not Good At Filmmaking” Ellis might possibly spin this, Lindsay Lohan stepped in with an Instagram post calling on others to “stand up”—and tell the women accusing Weinstein to sit down.
“I feel very bad for Harvey Weinstein right now,” Lohan said in the post, which featured the name “Harvey” over an angel emoji, and was recorded in a Dubai bathroom in her Jupiter accent. “I don’t think it’s right what’s going on. I think Georgina needs to take a stand and be there for her husband. And he’s never harmed me or done anything to me. We’ve done several movies together, and so I think everyone needs to stop. I think it’s wrong. So stand up.”
After failing to rally anyone—even his wife—to stop and consider that Weinstein had made several movies with Lindsay Lohan where he didn’t even assault her, Lohan quickly deleted the post, although it was screen-captured by Buzzfeed’s Lauren Yap. Still, as Rose McGowan (again) points out, “Being a child actor turned sex symbol twists the brain in ways you can’t comprehend,” so probably best to just move on.
Never one to balk at a “worst take” challenge, Geraldo Rivera—the Harvey Weinstein of consensually offered opinions—blundered once more into the national discourse with the lament that all this will only make it that more difficult to completely disregard women in the future.
“Not saying that’s good or bad,” master of completely neutral, journalistic observation Geraldo Rivera just saying-ed. “Just saying that’s the new reality as pendulum has swung so far to revulsion of old ways as a Handmaid’s Tale.” Yes, what a strange new world we live in where suddenly sexually harassing the women you work with is now viewed as old-fashioned and wrong! Why, it didn’t used to be like this, as Geraldo Rivera fondly recalled in 2014 of the ways in which the lack of “workplace protections” meant he got laid at the office on the reg. Now it’s like we’re living in some hellish sci-fi dystopia!
To Geraldo’s probable dismay, Business Insider Josh Barro offers a possible solution to the problem of men sexually assaulting women in the workplace: Make offices less fun!
But look, don’t get Barro wrong: As he elaborated, he’s certainly not suggesting that all socializing should be curtailed. “Team building is fine,” he allows. “What I’m concerned with is activities that simulate socializing with friends, especially socializing that looks like cavorting.” To that end, men and women should never take meetings in hotel rooms—known bastions of cavorting—where the ambiguity over whether it’s a professional or personal encounter could possibly mislead these confused, naive men into whipping their dicks out. Next time, book a conference room!
In fact, maybe it’s time to reconsider the idea of men and women meeting at all, in any sort of enclosed space. As Donald Trump’s former deputized living Twitter feed Sebastian Gorka urged everyone to THINK about, none of this ever would have happened if Weinstein had only obeyed Mike Pence’s godly, purifying mandate to immediately remove yourself from any room containing a woman, if Mother isn’t there to tamp down your urge to rape them.
Gorka’s sentiment was then echo-chambered by Fox News’ Erick Erickson.
“For those keeping score at home,” Erickson reminds. “Mike Pence could never be accused of wanting to have sex with someone other than his wife in these sorts of situations because he avoids putting himself and the other person into these situations.” Indeed, all men could learn from Mike Pence’s heroic example of never inviting the women they work with into a room, where they will then be powerless to try to have sex with them. Just avoid the room!
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat concurs: Weinstein represents a breed of liberal pigs, he says, one that must adopt a few moderately conservative ideas if it is to pry itself from the moral slop-bucket. Good, common-sense ideas such as—yep—adopting strict rules about not meeting with women alone, particularly in seedy, leftist-leaning hotels.
“It would not usher in the Republic of Gilead if it were understood that inviting your female subordinate to your hotel room, Weinstein-style, crosses a line in a way that a restaurant lunch does not,” Douthat writes, moderately, charitably suggesting that there may be some middle ground between not allowing women to read and not putting them in a position where you’re sure to rape them the second you are alone with them, compelled by your sick, liberal nature.
If you thought Seb Gorka would have the most hypocritical take, you forgot that Kellyanne Conway is still technically employed by the Trump administration. And in that capacity, she has proudly come out against the vast system of enablers who have shamefully covered up a powerful man’s long, well-documented history of sexual assault allegations—some of which have even been caught on tape—and those who would despicably manipulate them for their own political advantage.
Congrats, Kellyanne Conway, for offering the least self-aware Weinstein take possible!
Oh, wait. Donald Trump’s son is also on Twitter.
While we’re on the subject of politics, New York Magazine’s Frank Rich wonders, have we even stopped to consider that the real story is all this sordid, long-rumored Weinstein business everyone knew about—and which New York didn’t report until now—is that the Obamas are bad parents?
Or wait, maybe this is all because Harvey Weinstein is “a deeply Jewish kind of pervert,” just like novelist Philip Roth, as argued in this piece that columnist Mark Oppenheimer has now apologized for?
Or maybe, Matt Drudge argues... Uh, whatever the fuck this is supposed to mean..
Famed for his belief that climate change is a form of “mass hysteria,” discredited by the fact that some doomsaying environmental activists have kids—and hey, the data was wrong about Hillary Clinton, too—New York Times columnist Bret Stephens offers “a defense, of sorts,” for Weinstein, similarly predicated on the idea that this other destroyer of worlds is really just a product of our liberal culture. You know, like the epidemic of campus rape, which Stephens doesn’t believe in either.
“The important truth is that 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.”
Sure, we all long for the pre-1960s days when the Hollywood studio system was run with the genteel, Old World comportment of a Louis B. Mayer, who used to fondle a 16-year-old Judy Garland with far more politesse. And to paraphrase Stephens, his column has been roundly mocked, but it contains its truth: There really is a systemic problem of powerful men manipulating young women, and the enablers who ignore it are certainly complicit, and their own culpability must be addressed.
But let’s maybe not “mount a defense of sorts for Mr. Weinstein,” based on the idea that this is all really society’s fault or the inevitable outcome of those godless libruls in Hollyweird. And definitely don’t concoct weird, Pervy Richard Attenborough analogies like this one: “Hyenas cannot help their own nature. But the work of a morally sentient society is to prevent them from taking over the savannah.” It’s a heap, of sorts, of bullshit.
Thinking that this whole story could use a little levity, horror site Dread Central posted a since-deleted satirical op-ed in which Pinhead—the fictional character from the Hellraiser movies, which were released by the Weinstein-owned Dimension Films—confesses to the “years of abuse” he suffered at Weinstein’s hands. In the article titled “Exclusive: Pinhead Tired of Being Hammered by the Weinsteins” (because he has nails in his head, and it implies Harvey Weinstein had sex with him—get it?), the pseudonymous “Gale Weathers” spun this whole rape thing into wacky promotional gold by tying the numerous allegations of assault to the upcoming VOD release of Hellraiser: Judgment.
See, Weinstein’s repeated, unwanted sexual advances on dozens of terrified young women are sort of like his endless franchising of a horror series. And child slavery is also kind of funny! Anyway, after being lambasted on Twitter for their insensitivity—along with reminders that it’s just this sort of thing that makes women feel ill at-ease in the horror and “film geek” community at large—Dread Central took it down. But we’ll always have the confused, uncomfortable silence.
Thankfully, director Oliver Stone has now also seen fit to weigh in on the current crisis, asking people to please consider how hard this history of alleged abuse and assault has been on poor Harvey Weinstein himself. “It’s not easy what he’s going through, either,” Stone told reporters at the Busan International Film Festival today, asking for the same sympathy and compassion for Weinstein with which he typically treats interview subjects like that old softie, Vladimir Putin.
“I’m not going to comment on gossip,” Stone said in response to reporters’ questions about his reactions to the allegations. “I’ll wait and see, which is the right thing to do.” Thank god, because “waiting and seeing” has done so spectacularly well for the ever-increasing number of women now coming forward with all this silly “gossip” of theirs, the stuff about the ways Weinstein allegedly harassed and assaulted them for decades, while simultaneously being shamed into silence by powerful men “waiting for the trial” like Stone says he’s going to do.
Red State blogger Kimberly Ross is a moderate conservative voice known for offering a sort of shrugging eye-roll at all forms of outrage—from either side. (Unless it’s about abortion, in which case she’s happy to bring out the murdered babies.) To that end, her latest column seeks to quell the war against “masculinity” that is ostensibly brewing in the wake of the Weinstein scandal. Ross offers the very important reminder that Not All Men are powerful studio executives who rape vulnerable young women. In fact, many of them are good guys—like her “exceptional father,” or any other dude who lives their life without assaulting anyone. Also:
Yes, just like not everyone who owns a gun is going to massacre dozens of people in Las Vegas, “We should not blame all of masculinity and each XY chromosomed individual roaming around” for Weinstein’s acts. Most of them are responsible penis owners! So let us all generally support being male in the face of this threat it is apparently facing.
That’s it for now! We’ll add more as sadly necessary.