By Jillian Rice
Until earlier this month, Harvey Weinstein was known for being one of the great movie producers, having produced iconic films like Pulp Fiction, and Good Will Hunting, through the company he co-founded, Miramax. He won multiple awards, including an Academy Award for Shakespeare in Love, six Oscars, as well as seven Tony’s for various other works.Within the past two weeks, Weinstein’s life and stature have come crashing down. Recently, numerous reports of sexual harassment and abuse have surfaced. Women all over have taken a stand together, against him, reporting exactly what happened to them. Famous actresses like Ashley Judd have come forward, reporting that instead of a business meeting, Weinstein asked for her to watch him shower. Additionally, multiple assistants of his have reported he offered promotions, and career boosts in return for sexual favors.
The devastating fact is not that the women were too afraid to speak up about their abuse, but the fact that they did. Weinstein has been covering up their allegations for almost three decades. A recent investigation done by The New York Times found undisclosed accounts of abuse in documents from both of Weinstein’s companies, Miramax and Weinstein Company. Weinstein ended up reaching settlement agreements with many of the women. Essentially, Harvey Weinstein paid the women to keep quiet about their abuse. Hollywood is well known as the toughest place to make it big, although that is the goal of almost everyone there. Weinstein was one of those people who did make it big. Instead of appreciating people who were in the position he used to be in, he took advantage of them. Women in Hollywood struggle to make ends meet and to get their name out there. Weinstein used his power to penetrate and abuse a vulnerable population.
In a statement made last week, Weinstein said “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.” However, Lisa Bloom, one of Weinstein’s lawyers released a statement saying Weinstein blatantly denies many of the accusations. Additionally, dozens of former employees of Weinstein’s company have admitted they were aware of the crimes going on behind closed doors. However, few of them ever said anything about it. This is a result of a contract all employees must sign, stating they will not speak ill of the company or its leaders or confidentiality clauses with the women who accepted deals with Harvey.
The past few years in America have been highlighted by extreme women’s rights movements. Luckily, Hollywood and Weinstein’s community are not taking these allegations lightly. Finally, women are getting the justice they deserve, and their oppressors are getting their justice as well. Weinstein was quickly fired by his company’s Board of Directors. Additionally, one of Weinstein’s biggest accomplishments, his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has been revoked. To top it all off, Georgina Chapman, Weinstein’s wife of ten years, has left him.In the wake of a major sex scandal, it is heartening to see so many platforms championing women, and finally taking the side of the abused, rather than protecting the abuser.