Silence enabled now-ostracized Weinstein for years

Within the past six days, both The New York Times and The New Yorker have published damning reports that allege Hollywood exec Harvey Weinstein is a sexual predator. He has been accused of everything from sexual harassment to rape, to the surprise of no one who cared to pay attention.

Actress Asia Argento shared a scene from her film “Scarlet Diva” on Twitter.

Rose McGowan has been another actress who has come forward with allegations, not only of sexual abuses by Weinstein, but also cover-ups by the Hollywood elite.

The twist is that Weinstein is not only a major Hollywood player, but has also made huge contributions to the Democratic party over the years. Without fail conservative talking heads swooped in on the perceived liberal silence that followed The New York Times article. Voices trickled in, swelling after The New Yorker piece offered even more horrifying details. The liberal response to conservative criticism has highlighted Weinstein’s removal from his company and pointed out that he has been ostracized, while their Grabber-In-Chief is President of the United States. Many of us may be tempted to point out that difference in some act of liberal self-congradlation. I’ve found myself nodding my head in some instances. Do yourself a favor though: DON’T.

Yes, Weinstein has been removed from his company now. Weinstein is being ostracized now. But for decades, he was allowed to be the known bully of Hollywood, so fearsome, he warranted a mention in Meryl Streep’s 2012 Golden Globe acceptance speech, and was the driving force behind this little 30 Rock jewel:

“I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions… out of five.”

I am not in the position to specifically say who knew what (Streep insists that she was not aware of his sexual abuses). Rose McGowan, on the other hand, took Ben Affleck to task, quoting him as saying he’d addressed this behavior with Weinstein before. Before Ronan Farrow published his exposé in The New Yorker, he went to NBC, who passed on the story, citing an issue with sourcing.

This much is true, rape culture is a bipartisan issue, and you don’t get points for speaking up decades later after the cat is out of the proverbial bag. Even now, as so many have distanced themselves from Weinstein, Donna Karan took the curious position of wondering of the way women dress contributed to his behavior. Every woman who has been subjected to sexual abuse has experienced the enabling that comes with the territory before and after sexual assault. It’s strange to see the self-congratulatory liberal tone after knowing that he has thrived for decades.

If we want to truly change the culture that allows men like Weinstein, Cosby, Kelly, Allen, and Polanski to thrive, we have to address where we, or at least the culture to which we contribute, are culpable. Sometimes that means holding up the mirror and saying, “We got this one wrong, and now it’s on us to fix it.” Let’s also be very clear here, the people who are now distancing themselves after the allegations are practicing the bare minimum of human decency. The heroes, the ones we should be lauding for bravery, are the women like Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, and Asia Argento, who knew what this might cost them, and choose to speak anyway.

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