And rightfully so. Over the past few weeks, we have heard horrific stories of staffers at the Ellen Show who have suffered verbal and sexual harassment by producers. Ellen has also been accused of mistreating her staff by demanding that nobody looks at her and acting like a diva in general. She apparently did the same to a radio host and an interviewer in Australia. Ellen has also been criticized for preaching a “be kind” mantra on air, while behaving terribly behind the scenes. Basically, a celebrity said something disingenuous…shocker.
The real issue here is workplace harassment. People put up with a lot because they need a paycheck; they need to feed their families, pay their bills, their rent, etc… Those in power take advantage of that. It’s easy to sit on the outside and say “oh they could have resigned” or “they could have spoken out”. People who work regular jobs sometimes don’t have the courage to stand up for themselves, let alone if they worked for a high-powered celebrity like Ellen. A manager at a company can torpedo an employee’s chances for future employment through their connection. Imagine what Ellen has the power to do if someone were to piss her off.
Influential men in workplaces across America and other countries were brought down during the #MeToo movement. It’s time for people in power, both men and women, to be fired for verbal harassment and for creating a toxic work environment. If everyone else is replaceable, so are they. And so is Ellen.
On March 11, Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood producer and now convicted sex offender, was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sex crimes. I’m going to start by saying that in a previous post, I confidently claimed that Weinstein would get off completely because there was talk of a $44 million settlement.
I was wrong. And I’m so happy I was.
To hear how he terrorized these women physically, verbally and sexually for decades was beyond disturbing. When Weinstein talked about how his children don’t keep in contact with him in his statement, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. He never once gave his children a thought when he was raping women in his hotel room, so to play that card in court was just…tacky, I suppose.
The reason I titled this post a landmark sentencing is because women who have suffered at the hands of their abusers have finally been heard. I bet Harvey Weinstein didn’t think his crimes would end up being his biggest downfall, and the best part is, no amount of money could save him. I’ve said before that money would frequently take priority over integrity, but this story really proved that this isn’t always the case. I sincerely hope March 11, 2020 inspires more victims to take action, and encourages men to think twice before sexually harassing or assaulting someone.
I can agree with Weinstein on one thing: he once said that everyone deserves a second chance. It’s very true. The women who he victimized deserve a second chance at life; they deserve to live a life free of fear and anxiety. Him? Not so much.
Thank you to all the brave women who came forward with their stories. Thank you to Ronan Farrow, Jodi Kantor, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and all the other journalists who made sure those stories were told.
….or as it could also be known: “a tale of how deep money and power run.”
This novel was THRILLING! It chronicles Ronan’s investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Ronan relentlessly chases down the facts by encouraging the victims to go on record, which they eventually do, leading to the expose in The New Yorker.
There were a few things about this story that I found interesting. First of all, how did someone like Lisa Bloom become so corrupt? Her whole career was based on helping women….but I guess it doesn’t matter when there are millions of dollars at stake. Also, speaking of corruption….NBC!! I understand covering up for Matt Lauer because he was their star anchor, but to disregard taped stories of Weinstein’s sexual assaults from his actual victims is beyond unethical. There was even a taped confession of Weinstein admitting to sexual assault, but again, I guess money took priority over honest journalism.
Ronan describes how he was followed by the Black Cube — an Israeli spy agency — in an attempt to intimidate him into dropping the investigation. This really drives home the point I made in the first sentence: Weinstein was so rich and powerful, not only did he have the American media in his back pocket, he also was able to pay out millions of dollars to an international spy agency. As it turns out, it wasn’t enough to save him from those guilty charges (note that Catch and Kill was written before Weinstein’s trial began)
I want to circle back to Matt Lauer for a second. The details are horrific, and Matt was clearly manipulating his female coworkers into sleeping with him because he knew he had power over them. He was fully aware that NBC would cover up his actions by paying off his accusers and forcing them to sign an NDA. Matt’s affair with Brooke Nevils was a central part of this scandal. Just to recap, they slept together one night while on a trip to the winter Olympics in Sochi. When they returned to New York, they continued having an affair until he supposedly called it off. Brooke was obviously concerned that if she reported Matt, she would lose her job, as many of her other female colleagues had. As an adult, she made a choice to do what it took to keep her job. Again, it’s clear that Matt was a bully, but we all have choices in life. I don’t think it’s fair for Brooke to play the victim card, when she was engaging in a consensual affair with him. She only did what she had to do to survive, and it is what it is.
One minor criticism I have of the novel is that it dragged a bit at the end. There was way too much detail about Black Cube, then the story randomly jumped to Trump having an affair with the Playboy model, then jumped to Weinstein. Finally, Ronan gets to the part about Matt Lauer. I felt the writing got a bit sloppy, and the storylines above could have been condensed into a maximum of 5 chapters.
The MeToo movement has done wonders in creating conversation around sexual assault and harassment. If we dig a little deeper though, will any company choose firing their number 1 money maker in favour of doing right by the assistant, who is completely replaceable? The top priority of any company will always be to earn the maximum amount of revenue possible, and I just don’t see them easily sacrificing money in the name of integrity.
I know it’s not a popular opinion, or what people want to hear, but the truth is: I think Harvey Weinstein is getting off. But he sexually assaulted all those women; he traumatized them. How could he go free? Let me explain.
First of all, I think we can all agree that the American justice system sees colour. There was no issue sentencing Bill Cosby, and R Kelly will undoubtedly get the full 500 years in prison he is facing. To be clear, they both deserve it. Weinstein, on the other hand, is a wealthy white male — three characteristics that are a great privilege in America.
Second of all, Weinstein’s defence team will question the accusers’ motives. They’re going to ask “Did you continue to see him? If so, why would you do that if he sexually assaulted you before?” They’re going to press for details about the movies the actresses have been in, and whether or not Weinstein produced said movies. The truth is, there might be some women who kept going back to him out of fear of losing their careers, not because they were attracted to him. Weinstein was well aware of this, and he knowingly put these women in a compromising situation. On the flip side though, there could be women who voluntarily engaged in an affair with him in order to advance their careers, and just jumped on the #MeToo bandwagon for more fame and money. The defence will use this argument against them, making it difficult for the prosecutors to present a credible case.
The #MeToo movement has inspired thousands, and maybe even millions, of women from every industry to speak out about sexual assault. We do also have to accept that there are women who are unfortunately going to abuse the movement for their own personal gain. Sadly, that is one major strength in Weinstein’s defence. He deserves to be locked up with Bill Cosby, and R Kelly, and all the other predators. Let’s hope the jury sees that, because the accusers are still saying