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Weinstein scandal topples Hollywood’s hierarchy

Harvey Weinstein (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Harvey Weinstein (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The Hollywood sign might as well be in flames considering the chaos that has snowballed following the scandal of Harvey Weinstein.

For those barely catching wind of who Weinstein is and why he has caused such a calamity, on Oct. 10, sexual harassment allegations against the big-shot producer spread like wildfire. Renowned actresses Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow accused the Hollywood mogul of harassment, and soon after the New Yorker published an extensive exposé claiming he raped, force himself upon and harassed seven women.

I can go on and on specifically about Weinstein and the instances he is being accused of, but the most interesting outcome of this scandal is how countless other Hollywood actors and big names are becoming involved.

As someone tracking this situation from the beginning, I initially was not surprised by the revelation. I hadn’t heard the name before, but most people who pay attention to the entertainment industry are aware of the sexual predators, pedophiles and manipulation in Hollywood. Corey Feldman, the 1980s childhood star of “The Goonies” and “Lost Boys,” spoke out about the “growing, not shrinking” pedophilia of Hollywood that he experienced first hand, and that led to the death of his co-star and best friend Corey Haim. Maybe I’m the only one who heard about this, and maybe I’m the only one who remembers in 2015 when Elijah Wood, the face of “The Lord of the Rings,” also spoke out. 

Sexual harassment in Hollywood is nothing new. Older men with the privilege of being successful producers, directors, investors or just someone who knows someone powerful have taken advantage of actors and anyone else at the bottom of the entertainment industry’s hierarchy for decades.

It’s refreshing for this to finally be spoken about; Weinstein’s scandal has everyone on social media digging up old rumors and accusations against tons of Hollywood’s powerful men.

What is most interesting as a consumer and follower of glamorous stars is how they are responding and speaking out. Stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain and Leonardo DiCaprio are criticizing the actions of Weinstein and calling for justice. Fans are automatically praising these stars for being advocates for the sexual assault victims, which is not necessarily something that an actor should be praised for.

Public figures, like actors, should not be praised for giving a copy and paste statement about how sickened they are, especially since many of the actors flocking to condemn Weinstein are being exposed for some hypocritical actions. Ben Affleck publicly shamed Weinstein for the claims of sexual harassment which turned out to be a mistake for Affleck. Within hours several videos resurfaced of him harassing and groping interviewers. Kate Winslet put out a similar statement but ironically she is starring in a film this December directed by Woody Allen – hint-hint, another sexual predator.

Some are responding by claiming they were unaware of the actions of Weinstein but actors like George Clooney, Ewan McGregor and Seth MacFarlane are stating that rumors surrounding Weinstein’s reputation are known throughout the business. Many may say that the man was so profoundly powerful that even big names like Clooney had to keep quiet, but if anyone had the upper hand in speaking out, it should have been the rich, conventionally attractive white cis-men.

Others stars such as Rose McGowan, Asia Argento and Ambra Gutierrez have come forward with their detailed recounts of personal experiences with Weinstein. Some were honey-trapped by other women, such as assistants or colleagues, to lure them into meeting with Weinstein under the guise of a group meeting, only to be left alone and cornered by Weinstein. He would then suggest massages and inappropriately touch the women until finally making forced advances on them; he would either promise movie roles or threaten to blackball them in the entertainment industry.

Those big Hollywood names who are barely acknowledging that they have been aware of these sickening acts are cowards and to support them would be just as despicable. In a society that claims rape culture isn’t a thing but then continues to ask us to consider that these women were “asking for it”, the only thing to do right by all the victims of Weinstein’s action is to pay attention and talk about the prevalence of rape.

The most vital thing about this entire situation is staying aware as consumers. Hollywood is not exempt of workplace harassment. It’s no secret that something as detestable as sexual assault won’t always lead to legal action or the end of a rapist’s career (#notmypresident). Though Weinstein has been fired from The Weinstein Co., there are still countless sexual predators in Hollywood and it’s up to consumers to boot them from their place in the hierarchy; boycott Michael Bay’s films, Woody Allens’ films, and Weinstein’s films. Don’t give these publicly known executive predators the money and status they’ve maintained through their position.