All the people and things being dragged to hell along with Harvey Weinstein

Ben Affleck, NBC, Twitter, Oliver Stone . . .

Published October 13, 2017 6:54PM (EDT)

Harvey Weinstein (Getty/Loic Venance)
Harvey Weinstein (Getty/Loic Venance)

Harvey Weinstein is on a long, winding road to hell right now, but he is far from alone.

Mainstream society has long excused men from sexual harassment and assault charges, but with so many women coming forward to accuse Weinstein, more perpetrators and complicit do-nothings are being brought out of the woodwork — and it’s about time.

Here are just some of the people and companies being dragged down to the fiery pits along with Weinstein (this piece would go on forever if we were to list them all.)

Naturally, the Weinstein Company is at the center of it all. It quickly denounced sexual harassment and claiming the allegations shocked them to no end. “Any suggestion that the Board had knowledge of this conduct is false,” the company said in a statement. But the evidence suggests otherwise.

However, a New York Times report revealed that “interviews and internal company records show that the company has been grappling with Mr. Weinstein’s behavior for at least two years.” It went on to say that Weinstein’s former lawyer, David Boies, “said in an interview that the board and the company were made aware at the time of three or four confidential settlements with women” in 2015.

The company’s guilt doesn’t end there. As it turns out, Weinstein’s contract indicated that he could not be fired due to sexual misconduct, so long as he could produce whatever sums of money — ranging from $250,000 to $1,000,000 — to cover damages, according to a TMZ report. Apparently, you can get away with anything if you pony up . . .  well, at least for a while.

Next up is NBC, which faced controversy over killing their own exposé on Weinstein, and then failing to make jabs at him on Saturday Night Live. Ronan Farrow, who was working on the story, had the piece quashed by NBC, the reason being a supposed lack of evidence. He ended up taking the story to the New Yorker, where it was published on Tuesday.

But NBC continued to flounder; it failed to cover the story on Thursday night after the initial Times story broke, while other news channels were covering it. Then they made excuses for cutting jokes about Weinstein from "Saturday Night Live" — namely claiming that the Weinstein jokes would fall flat to people living outside of New York, which never seemed to have been a concern of theirs before.

And they aren’t the only media organization at fault. Headlines and articles from 2015 issues of the New York Post resurfaced, which were mocking and questioning the credibility of one of Weinstein’s victims, Italian model and actress Ambra Battilana Gutierrez.

Some of the front page headlines read “Secret life of Harvey’s shy accuser” and “‘Grope’ gal asked for movie part” — delegitimizing her claims that Weinstein had grabbed her breasts and put his hand up her skirt. As Mic reported: “When Page Six reported on the contents of the now-infamous audio recording, the Post defended Weinstein’s alleged actions: "Weinstein did not deny that he grabbed her breast — but would be able to argue that it was appropriate because as a producer he would need to know if her breasts were the real deal."

Media, society and now social media are all to blame for mainstream attitudes challenging women’s credibility and ignoring their harassment. Twitter is no stranger to this type of behavior (it is known for doing absolutely nothing to punish users who harassed women during the Gamergate scandal.) But when Rose McGowan, a victim of Harvey Weinstein, tweeted about his harassment, Twitter was quick to suspend her account.

Twitter explained the suspension of her account was because a private phone number had been visible on the screenshot she tweeted, which is against Twitter’s terms (though Trump got away with it). Fine. But McGowan was quick to fire back once her account was restored, tweeting: “when will nuclear war violate your terms of service?” in an apparent reference to Donald Trump’s threats to North Korea. Her point was essentially that Twitter tends to be lenient when it comes to following their terms of service — but is generally quick when it comes to silencing women.

But if there’s any positive that has come of the Weinstein scandal, it’s that more women have been empowered to speak out and name their assaulters. Issa Hackett, an executive producer for Amazon, has gone public with her claims against Amazon’s programming chief, Roy Price, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The report detailed that Price allegedly told Hackett, “You will love my dick” and whispered “Anal sex!” in her ear. Amazon has since suspended Price, reported Variety.

Unfortunately, society tends to applaud men for doing the bare minimum. They're are praised for condemning sexual assault — as any reasonable person should — but now, due to social media, sexual-assault condemners are being called out for their own past misconduct.

When Ben Affleck issued a statement denouncing Weinstein’s behavior, Rose McGowan was there to fire back — implying that he knew about Weinstein’s actions towards her and did nothing at the time.A video from the early 2000s also resurfaced of Affleck groping actress Hilarie Burton’s breast on camera. In a tweet, he responded saying, “I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize.”

That was followed by a video of him harassing reporter Anne-Marie Losique and another allegation, this one from makeup artist Annamarie Tendler. He's not apologized for those other incidents yet. And, besides, the feeling of being violated stays with a woman forever, half-hearted apology or no.

And sometimes, men are just unapologetically indifferent to sexual assault. Oliver Stone defended Harvey Weinstein at the Busan International Film Festival on Thursday, saying that he believes “a man shouldn’t be condemned by a vigilante system” as reported by Variety. He later retracted his comment once he found out that almost 25 women have come out to accuse Weinstein.

But — surprise, surprise — Stone is not so innocent himself. Variety reported that ex-Playboy model Carrie Stevens has alleged that Stone groped her at a party 26 years ago, and remembers “the cocky grin on his face like he got away with something.”

And, like everything else, sexual harassment is political. Since Weinstein was such a staunch supporter of Democrats, and heavily donated to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, among others, Republicans pressed for a statement from Clinton denouncing Weinstein.

Eventually, they got it. “I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein," she wrote. "The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.” So a woman denounced sexual assault. Terrific. Isn’t it great that women recognize sexual assault is a bad thing? Groundbreaking.

In light of the allegations, many Democrats have decided to give Weinstein’s donations to charity, according to Buzzfeed. But his connection to Democrats is bound to provide fodder for any right-wing conspiracy theorists who loved the Pizzagate.

We now come to Cyrus Vance Jr. Vance, the Manhattan District Attorneywho refused to prosecute when the NYPD had Weinstein more or less dead to right for groping Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. A statement read in part that “a criminal charge is not supported.” David Boies, a former lawyer for Weinstein, gave Vance’s election campaign $10,000 following his decision not to prosecute, according to the International Business Times. Hmm.

And if all this weren’t being uncovered, Jason Momoa’s rape-joke apology surely would’ve made many more headlines this week. Page Six reported that at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, the Game of Thrones actor expressed that he loves sci-fi and fantasy “because there are so many things you can do, like rip someone’s tongue out of their throat and get away with it and rape beautiful women.”

Momoa issued an apology via Instagram, saying in part, “I am still severely disappointed in myself at the insensitivity of my remarks that day.” Great that he at least recognized what he did wrong, but the trend of men making rape jokes or lewd remarks and then apologizing is getting old. The jokes do nothing but normalize rape culture and the objectification of women. Maybe instead of apologizing, men should just stop making these remarks in general.

As if enough people weren't being sucked into this pain vortex, even the New York Times may not be in the clear. A report by The Wrap founder Sharon Waxman, formerly a reporter for the paper, claims that the Times scrapped a story she worked on in 2004 about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, which would have shed light on his behavior much sooner.

Waxman claimed that her editor at the time asked her “why it mattered”; she also said that Weinstein pressured both Matt Damon and Russell Crowe to call her and vouch for Fabrizio Lombardo, who was then-head of Miramax Italy but whose “real job was to take care of Weinstein’s women needs,” the piece said.

Current executive editor of the Times, Dean Baquet, released a statement about Waxman’s piece. He said that although he wasn’t at the Times in 2004, he finds it “unimaginable” that “The Times killed a story because of pressure from Harvey Weinstein.” He went on to say that Waxman “did not have anything near what was revealed in our story. Mainly, she had an off-the-record account from one woman.”

In response to the article on The Wrap, Matt Damon spoke with Deadline about what he thought really happened. He claimed that he had a one-minute phone call with Waxman and discussed what he knew of Fabrizio from just working with him professionally — and needless to say, he didn’t know of him in any sexual harassment capacity. He also said "we vouch for each other, all the time." Uh, maybe vouching for people who do bad things behind closed doors is part of the problem, no?

“Look, even before I was famous, I didn’t abide this kind of behavior,” Damon told Deadline. “But now, as the father of four daughters, this is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night. This is the great fear for all of us.”

By the way, people are sick of men using the “I have daughters” line to condemn sexual assault, considering women are still human beings worthy of respect regardless of their relationships to men (and sometimes also have daughters). But that's another story.

But, in all this, there was at least one person who openly and righteously defended Weinstein: Lindsay Lohan. The ex-actor came to Weinstein’s defense in an Instagram story, saying: “I feel very bad for Harvey Weinstein right now.”

Lohan went on to say “He’s never harmed me or done anything to me. We’ve done several movies together. And so I think everyone needs to stop. I think it’s wrong. So stand up.” Apparently, since he never did anything to her, none of it is real. She also asked Weinstein's wife, Georgina Chapman, to "take a stand and be with her husband," despite the fact that she had already, and quite rationally, fled him at high speed. Chapman is currently initiating divorce proceedings.

Lohan ended up deleting the stories, but stands by her words, according to The Los Angeles Times. Bless her heart.

Going down with all these people and things is Hollywood itself. There's simply no denying that the atmosphere in Hollywood is toxic for women. In an anonymously-written Guardian article, an actress details the mistreatment, objectification and vulnerability she experienced working in Los Angeles. She would meet with directors and producers, but when she rejected their sexual advances, she would never hear from them again.

“Harvey Weinstein’s alleged behaviour was not unique to him,” she wrote. “It is absolutely just the accepted way of things.” She went on to say that even though she told her manager, “no one thought it was a big deal.”

This is the harsh reality for women working in the movie industry. Men can get away with what they want if women’s careers are on the line. They know who has the advantage.

Patricia Arquette put it perfectly in her Twitter thread, highlighting the hypocrisy of the public’s reaction to sexual harassment, which brings us back to Oliver Stone:

Yes, the Hollywood sign now looks even more tarnished at the top of Mount Lee along with the entire entertainment industry. But there's another far larger group that is leaving this week coated in ash and fire: Men. Yep, half the world's population is looking pretty terrible right now for what they've done to the other half.

Of course, many men have spoken out to support victims of sexual harassment and condemn this rampant, inappropriate — and sometimes even criminal — behavior. Some have even reminded us that sexual harassment isn’t limited to female victims; two men in particular — James Van Der Beek and Terry Crews—have come forward to tell their own stories, in spite of society’s expectations of “masculinity.” But the fact remains that it is most often women who are targeted and those doing the target, to men and women alike, are the male of the species.

Another Guardian article detailed the injustices and crimes that have occurred against women in just the last week, and it shows that we have a long way to go. There are undoubtedly men out there vouching for women, but this practice needs to be more widespread. In order to achieve equality of the sexes, we need to start believing the allegations of sexual assault victims and be more critical of men in positions of power when they are accused of misconduct.

Harvey Weinstein went three decades harassing and assaulting women without paying for it. Over the last week he took a deserved nosedive into the abyss and we all, to one extend or another, shared the ride. Now, let's gang up and claw ourselves up and out. Only some of us deserve to be down here.

By Leigh C. Anderson

Leigh C. Anderson is an editorial intern at Salon.

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