Friday, Oct 20, 2017
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EDITORIAL

The Harvey Weinstein slime story

After movie producer Harvey Weinstein was exposed last week for decades of sexually menacing and assaulting women, he issued his first public pseudo apology: “I came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.” 

What’s that? The whole “culture” was predatory?

“The devil made me do it” would have been a less lame, and more accurate excuse.

Harvey-Weinstein-8

Film mogul Harvey Weinstein was fired from the company he co-created in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual abuse and harassment from some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Andy Kropa /Invision/AP Enlarge

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If even half the accusations that have now been made against him are true, Mr. Weinstein is not an aging hippie or even just a dirty old man in possession of the proverbial casting couch. He is a user, a bully, a criminal.

Mr. Weinstein has now jetted off to Europe to seek therapy for his “sex addiction.” Ah yes, if the 1960s don’t work as an excuse, try addiction. “My disorder made me do it.”

It’s not clear why everyone cares so much about this case, or should care. Sleazeballs will be sleazeballs. And this man not only terrorized women with his behavior, but with his reputation for seeking vengeance.  His victims were afraid to speak up for fear of retribution. And others, it seems, who had power and could have spoken up, either to Harvey Weinstein himself, or his board of directors, didn’t bother until the tale was told by braver souls.

Newsflash: Don’t look to Hollywood for moral rigor, or even simple human decency.

Some in Hollywood actually helped cover up the story, even applying pressure to news organizations. Why? Not out of friendship but deference to power, money, and the right politics. Harvey, you see, gave money to liberals. Besides, he made good films:  The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love.

 Harvey Weinstein treated women with utter contempt, while donating $100,000 to help fund the Gloria Steinem Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University.

Is that irony, hypocrisy, nausea-inducing intellectual dishonesty, or farce? All of the above, one supposes.

This story does not rise to the level of a morality tale, because Harvey Weinstein didn’t fall from a higher place into the muck. He was always there, he just brought his enablers down to his level.

This man may very well end up in jail, where he will no longer have easy access to power, excuses, apologists, or high-class cinema.

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