Looking a High Horse Rider in the Mouth
I hadn’t planned on writing anything about the Harvey Weinstein story, because: A. Tabloid celeb scandals and showbiz gossip don’t really interest me that much, and B. It’s obvious just by looking at Weinstein that he’s a rather archetype sleazy producer / pervitronic executive type (though admittedly weirder in his fetishes. I mean what kind of guy gets off on having a girl watch him masturbate.) The guy apparently must get turned on by seeing women sit there with confused looks on their faces, as he prevents them from leaving and insists they stay and watch him do things in his bathrobe or whatever:
“Look babe, don’t move. Don’t leave. Just sit there and watch me eat this croissandwich. Yeah that’s it, please don’t leave, or you’ll never work in this town again.”
Anyway, the guy is obviously the scum of the Earth. Still, typical of the times we live in, a lot of people can’t help but overreach. Some of these actresses need to get off their high horses. How convenient that twenty years later after they’ve become big stars and made their millions, these actresses come out of the woodwork to lecture everyone else that ever worked with Weinstein (or worse, they will blame “men” in general.) Many of these women, once aspiring young starlets seeking fame and fortune, were perfectly willing to put up with Weinstein’s sleaziness if it meant furthering their careers and getting breaks in the industry. Some of them accepted settlements and payoffs, which ultimately did nothing to prevent other young girls from being victimized. Now, suddenly they are shaming other actors and directors that have worked with Weinstein for continuing to work with him, associate with him or simply for not condemning him in strong enough terms. Perhaps these actors and directors simply saw it as a matter for the legal system and didn’t wish to become busybodies in everyone else’s affairs that didn’t concern them. I used to live in West Hollywood and have known tons of sleazy and sketchy guys over the years. At the end of the day, there isn’t a whole lot you can do except teach young people how not to be naive in these situations, and hope they notice the red flags and are smart enough to recognize these predators and call them out when they see them. You can warn girls a hundred times about how scuzzy some guy is, and some of them will still go along with his slimy program, either because there is something to be gained, or they trust their own intuition over your advice. If a producer attempts to engage in non-consensual acts with you, simply call your attorney and call the police. Anything less than that, and other people privy to the gossip are likely to assume whatever happened must not have been that big of a deal to you. Even if the cops ultimately won’t do anything due to lack of evidence, it sends a message to the perp that you mean business, and you’re not someone he wants to fuck with.
The “overreach” aspect in the Weinstein scandal is like what we see in other areas of public outrage overreach, like politics and free speech. It is not enough to simply disagree with someone’s political beliefs. You must disavow the person, condemn them and formally disassociate yourself with them, even if it is a member of your own family. You’re considered a “nazi” or “white supremacist,” even if you just support the right for controversial opinions to be expressed and debated non-violently. “So and so made this offensive statement or joke. Will you call on him to apologize? DO YOU DISAVOW?!”
I have a genuine respect for women like Ambra Battilana, and found myself rooting for her while I listened to the recording of her rejecting Weinstein’s crude advances and his attempts to manipulate her. She acted the way you wish every person would act in these scenarios. She stood firm and held her ground, willing to pay the price and absorb whatever negative impact it would on her career. Many of these other women though, are hypocrites…because they essentially took the “deal,” went along with it, kept quiet and are now complaining long after they have reaped the rewards. Now that it is good for their careers to speak out on the matter, they have become more vocal, self-righteous and sanctimonious than ever.
“It’s time for straight talk, Kim. It’s not my fault you posed for Harmon. It’s not my fault you posed for Larry in the nude. You did it. It’s your problem. It’s pretty late to act prissy and prim. All you kids make me sick! You act like little Miss Muffet, and down inside you’re dirty. Do you hear me? Dirty! You’re greedy and self centered and think you can get away with anything. You’re no better than the girl who sells herself to a man. You’re worse, because you’re a hypocrite. And now little Miss Muffet is in trouble, and she’s all outraged virtue. Well you listen and you listen well, you’re damaged merchandise and this is a fire sale. You walk outta here and your reputation won’t be worth fifteen cents. You’ll do as I tell you! Do you hear me? You’ll do as I tell you!” -Lawrence Aberwood ((Aberman,))
Scum of the Earth, 1963.
Brandon Adamson is the author of Beatnik Fascism