Sunday, October 15, 2017

But mostly there are enablers, both those who facilitated his predations and those who found it expedient to look the other way.

Weinstein and Our Culture of Enablers...(Rabbis, Grand Rabbis, Pastors, Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, Popes, Yeshiva School Owners, Jewish Advocacy Organizations (Except for Kids) Ad Infinitum....

Harvey Weinstein at a Time magazine party celebrating its publication of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.”

Of all of the dismaying and disgusting details of the Harvey Weinstein saga, none is more depressing than this: It has so few heroes.

There is a storybook villain, Mr. Weinstein, whose repulsive face turns out to be the spitting image of his putrescent soul. There are victims, so many of them, typically up-and-comers in an industry where he had the power to make or wreck their careers, or bully or buy their silence, or, if some allegations are to be believed, rape them.

But mostly there are enablers, both those who facilitated his predations and those who found it expedient to look the other way.

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.)
And then there was the rest of Hollywood.

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.
Even some of the ostensibly good guys in this saga cannot be let off lightly. In The New Yorker, Ronan Farrow reports that 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.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that an industry built around pretended characters and scenarios could have pretended for so long that nothing was amiss. Perhaps it should be no surprise, either, that its concept of ethics is every bit as ersatz and inconstant as most everything else in Tinseltown.

The outrage over Mr. Weinstein also has a whiff of opportunism. 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.

It’s in this context that one can mount a defense of sorts for Mr. Weinstein, who inhabited a moral universe that did nothing but cheer his golden touch and wink at (or look away from) his transgressions — right until the moment that it became politically inconvenient to do so. 

Conservatives are trying to make hay of the fact that Mr. Weinstein donated lavishly to Democratic politicians, backed progressive causes and distributed films such as “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary about campus sexual assault.

But the important truth about Mr. Weinstein isn’t his moral hypocrisy: In movies as in politics, hypocrisy isn’t just an accepted fact of life but also an essential part of the job.

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.

Hyenas cannot help their own nature. But the work of a morally sentient society is to prevent them from taking over the savannah. Our society, by contrast, festooned Weinstein with honors, endowed him with riches, and enabled him to feast on his victims without serious consequence for the better part of 30 years. 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.

It may be that Weinstein’s epic downfall will scare straight other sexual miscreants, or at least those who tolerate their behavior and are liable for its consequences. Don’t count on it. Our belated indictment of him now does too much to acquit his many accomplices, and too little to transform a culture that never gave him a reason to change.


Yeah Woody, The Next Thing You Know, They're Going To Go After Pig Jewish Pedophiles!

Woody Allen Warns of ‘Witch Hunt’ After Weinstein Allegations

Woody Allen - “You also don’t want it to lead to a witch hunt atmosphere,” he said of the accusations against Harvey Weinstein.

In an interview with the BBC published early Sunday, the director Woody Allen addressed the wave of allegations against Harvey Weinstein, calling it “tragic for the poor women” but also warning against a “witch hunt atmosphere.”

Mr. Allen’s comments to the BBC were published on the heels of Mr. Weinstein’s expulsion from the Motion Picture Academy on Saturday. The director and producer worked together on several films in the 1990s, and Mr. Allen denied knowledge about any misconduct: “No one ever came to me or told me horror stories with any real seriousness,” he said. “And they wouldn’t, because you are not interested in it. You are interested in making your movie.”

“The whole Harvey Weinstein thing is very sad for everybody involved,” Mr. Allen said. “Tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that his life is so messed up.”

However, Mr. Allen also cautioned about rushing to judgment. “You also don’t want it to lead to a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere, where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself. That’s not right either.”

Mr. Weinstein’s public stature has rapidly fallen since The New York Times published an investigative report on Oct. 5 detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations against him. Last week, Ronan Farrow, Mr. Allen’s estranged son, published an article in The New Yorker recounting the stories of 13 women who say Mr. Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them since the 1990s.

In 1993, Mr. Allen was accused of sexually abusing his 7-year-old daughter, Dylan Farrow. The fallout from the accusations, combined with a bitter custody battle with Mia Farrow, left Mr. Allen’s reputation badly damaged. However, Mr. Weinstein offered him a lifeline through his company Miramax Films, when he agreed to produce his 1994 film “Bullets Over Broadway.” “Shunned by Hollywood means nothing to Miramax,” Mr. Weinstein told the Los Angeles Times in a 1994 interview. “We’re talking about a comic genius.”

“Bullets Over Broadway” would go on to be nominated for seven Oscars, and Mr. Allen would make several more films for Miramax, including “Mighty Aphrodite” and “Everyone Says I Love You.” The actress Mira Sorvino, who won an Oscar for “Mighty Aphrodite,” told Mr. Farrow that Mr. Weinstein sexually harassed her while they were promoting that movie at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1995.

Mr. Allen’s children, Dylan and Ronan Farrow, have continued to speak out against him. In 2014, Ms. Farrow wrote an open letter in The New York Times further detailing her allegations of her father’s abusive behavior and condemning the film industry’s apathy: “That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye.” (Mr. Allen wrote a Times op-ed denying the accusations.) Mr. Farrow has been vocal about his support for his sister.

Neither Mr. Farrow nor a representative for Mr. Allen immediately responded to requests for comment.