You know it’s bad when I’ve had to start putting dates on these things. This series started as a safer space to discuss a handful of allegations as they popped up (Devin Faraci, Cinefamily, Louis C.K., Joss Whedon). It seems that Hollywood has turned into a full on torching that looks like it could be going for awhile. At the very minimum, I hope the worst of these predators will be outed and ousted, but it’s going to be quite the task.
Yesterday, Ronan Farrow (Mia Farrow and Woody Allen’s son) wrote an even deeper dive into Weinstein’s history of sexual assault. The New Yorker includes more women’s stories of Weinstein’s sexual assaults and tales from anonymous Weinstein employees who were complicit in facilitating Weinstein’s sexual appetites. The women were mostly young and at varying early stages in the career. The most striking similarity between the stories is the constant levels of power imbalance. Weinstein would take rejection very personally and retaliate against the actresses. Several actresses, including Oscar winner Mira Sorvino (Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite) and Rosanna Arquette, have suggested that Weinstein would remove them from projects and then plant negative stories in the gossip columns. In the late 1990s, both of these actresses developed reputations for being difficult and their careers took big hits.
Some of Weinstein’s assistants stated they were used as “honeypots” to facilitate these meetings. They would accompany Weinstein in his hotel rooms when the meetings first began just so they could be dismissed before Weinstein started his overtures (which usually began with him changing into a bathrobe or getting into a shower).
One young woman, Ambra Battilana Gutierraz, went to the police after Weinstein groped her and secretly recorded a confession while Weinstein was trying to intimidate her into his hotel room. That investigation, which happened in 2015, went nowhere. The audio recording has been released, and it’s as aggressively real and disturbing as you can imagine.
Weinstein is unquestionably monstrous, and must bear the burden of guilt. One of the biggest questions people are struggling with is one of complicity. How could all of these people know about Weinstein’s reputation and still support and participate in his behavior? Even yesterday, an hour before The New Yorker piece came out, Sorvino, one of Weinstein’s victims, said that she respected Weinstein for his talents but despised his abhorable behavior. Kate Winslet, who won an Oscar for her role in The Weinstein Company’s The Reader, released a statement saying she heard rumors but believed them to be false, but that Weinstein’s behavior is disgraceful and appalling (Winslet is starring in Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel later this year). How could any female assistant of Weinstein’s act as a “honeypot” knowing that the women would be sexually intimidated or assaulted? Why would anybody continue working with the man after learning the information?
Film Crit Hulk released a letter yesterday saying he quit writing for Birth. Movies. Death. after the second wave of Devin Faraci news was revealed (cemented later by the Harry Knowles bombshell). He specifically says that it was those bombshells that caused him to leave. His letter doesn’t stop there, it shifts the focus to 4,000 employees still working within the Alamo construct (including Fantastic Fest, B.M.D., Drafthouse, and the various Drafthouse distribution companies).
but speaking out publicly? That often means, quite simply, leaving your job. And for people who have families and livelihoods at stake, that’s often just not an option.
His summary? Modern capitalism makes people complicit in a larger context. It’s not just Film Crit Hulk who made this statement. Heather Matarazzo wrote about this on Twitter as well.
Women, myself included, would be much more ready to call out their experiences in this industry if we knew that we would be taken care of. But, we don’t.
Which brings us back to Weinstein retaliating just for women rejecting him. Not even coming forward, just saying no to watching him masturbate or refusing to give him a massage. When women are, essentially, blacklisted just for refusing sexual advances, can you imagine what would happen if they came forward?
Matarazzo, on her Twitter, has been calling for more people to commit to hiring people who might be blacklisted for coming forward. Scott Derrickson, director of Sinister and Doctor Strange, has explicitly come forward with that commitment, but few else have committed to this so far. Actually few men who have made movies for The Weinstein Company have commented with even support for the women nevertheless promising to work with those who came forward. As reported by The Guardian, who has started contacting people like Michael Moore (currently working on Fahrenheit 11/9, a follow up to Farhenheit 9/11), David O’Russell and Quentin Tarantino for their comments and had not received a reply as of press time (Moore has been silent on Twitter for 5 days).
At least 25 women have come forward with stories about Weinstein, from Heather Graham to Asia Argento. But, it’s not just women who have been coming forward about being assaulted by executives. Terry Crews, who didn’t name names, wrote that a male executive grabbed his crotch at a Hollywood function. He won’t name names because he wants to continue working. It’s not just executives. Katy Stoll wrote a story about her young efforts as a struggling writer when an unnamed prominent TV writer, who offered to help her with her writing, hit on her in a very frank manner.
Since the original New York Times story dropped, The Weinstein Company fired Harvey from the company. Harvey’s wife Georgina Chapman, head of Marchesa and featured judge on The Weinstein Company’s Project Runway All-Stars, is filing for divorce. Disney executives, who owned Miramax when the Weinsteins were running it and during many of the accusations of Harvey’s behavior, stated they did not know of Harvey’s behavior and only ousted The Weinsteins for their irresponsibility (namely, their financing and distribution of Fahrenheit 9/11).
These stories are ongoing.