I’m becoming increasingly infuriated at the reaction of Hollywood’s elite to the accusations leveled at Harvey Weinstein.
The ever-increasing number of Weinstein horror-stories seem to grow viler with each passing day, and each actress brave enough to share her story has made it clear that Weinstein’s behavior was an extremely open secret. In fact, the term “open secret” seems overly generous, because of the word “secret.”
Jennifer Lawrence is “deeply disturbed,” Ben Affleck is “saddened and angry.” George Clooney goes as far to admit that he “heard rumors.” The wonderful Meryl Streep, an actress I really admire and respect, claimed that “not everybody knew.” She also once jokingly referred to Weinstein as “God.”
The only truly honest comment regarding Weinstein comes from Quentin Tarantino, who admitted: “I knew enough to do more than I did.” Compared to the feeble cries of ignorance, or loud silence emanating from the rest of Hollywood’s finest, that’s a surprisingly brave statement.
Of course, Tarantino is already being criticized. People are taking out their frustrations on Tarantino, because they are rightly furious that the industry has protected an abuser for so many years. But we shouldn’t attack the only celebrity who openly admits to being a coward.
The faux shock and outrage spewing from our beloved celebrities is incredibly hypocritical, and hugely patronizing toward their fans. I’m going to argue that everybody knew, not just because Weinstein’s behavior was widely discussed in the entertainment industry, but because it was blatantly a part of pop culture. We all knew, all of us, even those of us who have never been within a thousand miles of L.A.
How many times have you seen a fat, balding producer who looks exactly like Weinstein, be portrayed as a sleazy pervert in a comedy? Remember when Seth MacFarlane made this joke at the Oscars? I do, and I laughed. Click the link, watch Emma Stone’s face, and tell me she doesn’t get the joke. The celebrity-filled audience laughed, because they knew. I didn’t think about it at the time, but I laughed because I’d already had this impression of Weinstein being a creep, absorbed from all the references on tv.
Remember this scene from 30 Rock ? It’s certainly not a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference; it’s an open joke that Tina Fey reckoned the audience would laugh at, because it’s familiar. Did you ever watch Entourage ? If you did, I’m pretty sure you remember a character named “Harvey Weingard,” (real subtle, right?) a Hollywood producer who was portrayed as an aggressive, intimidating sleazebag.
Courtney Love flat-out told everyone Weinstein was a danger to young women, while standing on a red carpet in front of a camera. And please, let’s return to the disturbing anecdote recently told by Angie Everhart, because I don’t think we’ve given it enough attention. On a boat during the Cannes film festival, Everhart alleges that Weinstein broke into her room while she was sleeping to masturbate in front of her, and when she told just about everybody she could, she was met with the response, “oh, that’s just Harvey.”
I’ll say it again, this was not a secret. Not to anyone with even a vague connection to the entertainment industry, not to the general public, and certainly not to any celebrity with ties to The Weinstein Company. All of the actors and actresses who claim to be dismayed or disappointed, or whatever, are glossing over the fact that they knew and didn’t care enough to publicly condemn it years ago.
So, thank you, Quentin Tarantino, for admitting to being part of a culture that seems to tolerate rampant sexual abuse. It is extremely difficult to speak out against a powerful individual, against your own interests, especially when no one else is willing to. The majority of us would keep silent too, if we’re being truly honest with ourselves.
When it comes to the entertainment industry, honesty should be the way forward from now on. But unfortunately, Weinstein is surely the tip of a Titanic-sized iceberg. There have been terrible rumors regarding sexual abuse in Hollywood for years, and I doubt Weinstein is the worst offender lurking in the shadows.