Of Harvey and Harassment

There is much in the news right now about the alleged sexual misconduct of Harvey Weinstein.

Just in case any of my readers has been blissfully ignorant of the Weinstein fiasco up until now; I’m about to burst your happy bubble.

Weinstein is a Hollywood movie executive who has been accused of dozens of acts of sexual harassment by numerous actresses (Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie, and Rosanna Arquette, among many others) over several decades.  There have also been allegations of rape and coersion.  He has also been accused of paying off women to ensure their silence relative to his misbehaviors.  He currently appears to be the subject of multiple criminal investigations.

The disgraced Mr. Weinstein has been fired from the Weinstein Company (which he founded with his estranged brother, Bob) and the board of trustees of the University of Buffalo has announced they have initiated the process of revoking an honorary degree they presented him.

I would be remiss for not pointing out that, despite the incredible number of allegations against him, Weinstein is legally considered innocent until proven guilty.

Mayim Bailik (Amy Farrah-Fowler on The Big Bang Theory) wrote an op-ed in which she said, “I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise.  I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.”  There was more along those lines but that should give you the gist.

Her comments were immediately attacked as “victim blaming” and Bailik went on Facebook to say, “I will state it again, I’m pretty sure that I said it explicitly: How you dress and how you behave has nothing to do with you being assaulted,”

Unfortunately, in our society, with its, “do whatever you want and somebody will take care of you” attitude, I’m afraid some may have missed the truth in Bailik’s original statement.

Are you ready for this?  YOU are ultimately responsible for your own safety!

Now, I did not say Weinstein had a right to do what he is alleged to have done.  Not at all.  If he is found guilty, I hope he is punished to the fullest extent of the law.

What I am saying is, don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation.  I don’t care if going alone to Harvey Weinstein’s apartment sounds like a path to fame and fortune.  Some of the women who have spoken out about Weinstein’s habits have said they took a friend or trusted business associate to meet with Mr. Weinstein.  Others told Weinstein that they were uncomfortable with meeting him alone in his apartment.

GOOD FOR THEM!

Predators prey on the weak and vulnerable.  DON’T appear weak and vulnerable!  Crocodiles have evolved to stay submerged in the river because that is where the cute little baby zebra lets its guard down.  Sexual predators hide in the dark alleys or in positions of power where they can use their advantages to entice vulnerable/weaker people to submit.

Take someone you trust with you if you must meet with someone in a situation you are uncomfortable with…or refuse to go!

Let me reiterate: I am NOT saying it is the victims’ fault that sexual predators take advantage of them.  I AM saying that you need to be aware of danger and do what you can to protect yourself.

I want to add that, if someone does behave inappropriately toward you, you should SAY SOMETHING TO SOMEBODY!  Don’t keep quiet.  Talk to a friend, to your parents, to the police.  If you speak up, you may help focus attention on the predator.  Yours could be the voice that ends the creep’s career.  You may help another potential victim avoid the danger.

Women can perpetrate inappropriate sexual behaviors too.  Actress Jennifer Lawrence recently spoke about her own poor treatment, “And during this time, a female producer had me do a nude lineup with five women who were much thinner than me.  And we all stood side-by-side with only pasties covering our privates. After that degrading and humiliating lineup, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet. The director of that film asked me if I would star in a porno as well as many other things that are too inappropriate to mention here.”

Yes, women can be harassers, and neither are men immune to being victims.  Actors Todd Bridges, Corey Feldman, Michael Gaston and Rob Schneider have spoken about their experiences with inappropriate sexual advances, including pedophilia.  Gaston tweeted, “…don’t you…dare tell these women nothing happened to them.  Or that they should get over it.  Or whatever (stuff) you’re thinking.  Because this type of predation and harassment happens everywhere to all kinds by all kinds.”

Actor James Van Der Beek (starred in Dawson’s Creek) recently tweeted, “I’ve had my a– grabbed by older, powerful men, I’ve had them corner me in inappropriate sexual conversations when I was much younger.

“I understand the unwarranted shame, powerlessness and inability to blow the whistle. There’s a power dynamic that feels impossible to overcome.”

Another actor, Terry Crews, spoke of having his “privates” groped by a “high level Hollywood executive” at a “Hollywood function in 2016.”  His wife witnessed it.  Rather than administering the public beating that the jerk deserved, the action movie star considered the possible repercussions and the couple left the gathering.

Crews explained in a recent tweet, “’240 lbs. Black Man stomps out Hollywood Honcho’ would be the headline the next day,” adding, “Only I probably wouldn’t have been able to read it because I WOULD HAVE BEEN IN JAIL. So we left.”

The power of Hollywood star-makers is hard to deny, but…

Brad Pitt, who grew up in Springfield, Missouri, was dating Gwyneth Paltrow when she claimed to have been harassed by Weinstein.  Pitt was an aspiring actor who could have ended his career before it started by speaking up but he confronted Weinstein, reportedly poking the powerful Hollywood executive in the chest and saying, “You will not ever do this to Gwyneth ever again.”  Here’s my favorite part: Pitt is said to have told Weinstein that, if he tried anything with Paltrow again, Brad would give him a Missouri a—whipping that he would never forget.

A Missouri a—whipping that he would never forget?

I have to admit, I kinda like the sound of that.

 

4 Comments on "Of Harvey and Harassment"

  1. Dottie Phelps | October 20, 2017 at 9:37 am |

    Good article. Sometimes I think this whole world has gone to hell in a hand basket.

    • Sometimes I would agree with that! It seems like we hear about people like this every day. Such a shame.

  2. What he allegedly did, though it is blatantly obvious these accusations are true, was horrible and hopefully results in some form of a harsh punishment.

    • Scott Matthews | October 22, 2017 at 9:48 am |

      I agree. With over 40 women making accusations (so far), it’s hard to believe he could be innocent of everything. I can only hope that things have improved since the first woman made accusations of this type activity in Hollywood back in the 30s(?). The poor dancer had her life absolutely ruined because she stood up against men in power. Hollywood may be in the limelight but the fact is it is a sad part of life that some people try to use whatever advantage they may have to take advantage of others. That’s why good parents have to teach their sons and daughters how to protect themselves.

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