Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood and the abuse of power

Harvey Weinstein’s name has dominated the headlines. Over the past couple of weeks, actresses are exposing the decades-long sexual abuse culture of Hollywood, and more specifically, The Weinstein Company.

The Weinstein Company was created by Weinstein and his brother in 2005, and is a multimedia production and distribution company. This emerged out of Miramax Films founded by the brothers as well in 1979, and the two companies have received 341 oscar nominations and won 81 academy awards.

Weinstein is accused of sexual assault and harassment on many different occasions from an increasing amount of people by the day. The stories all sound eerily similar.

The New Yorker published a piece called “From aggressive overtures to sexual assault: Harvey Weinstein’s accusers tell their stories,” written by Ronan Farrow on Oct. 10, featuring numerous accounts of sexual assault from Weinstein.

This article is reveals of the nature of his business, and claims that he would treat the potential actresses like prostitutes.

In each case, a woman makes contact with Weinstein and arranges a meeting time. Weinstein promises that there will be another woman present during the interview, so they will feel safe in spite of rumors about him. The woman would stick around for the length of the photoshoot, but then leave the actress one-on-one with Weinstein.

The interview would start pleasantly with compliments and hopefulness towards employing the actress, but would quickly turn into what the actress could do for him. If the actress put up with his sexual abuse, the actress was granted a role and therefore, would become famous.

­Weinstein’s power has kept him afloat for the past few decades, because actresses had to withhold this information from others to protect themselves. Even when they did speak out, Weinstein had the power to cover it up.

Associates of Weinstein were quiet in light of the news. Soon after, he was fired from the Weinstein Company and sent off to rehab. His company is still powerful and connected with other organizations. He even sent large donations to politicians. The silence among everyone was deafening, which cleared the airwaves for the abused.

“This story makes me think of a monopoly and how a monopoly can breed discontent,” said senior political science and philosophy double-major Hunter Hilinski. “In cases like this, power always trumps reason. If you are unable to speak out, you are essentially powerless. If you take a look at the past, women did not have the voice that they do now, partly due to patriarchy.”

Another article published in the Guardian by Pamela Hutchinson on Oct. 19 called “Moguls and starlets: 100 years of Hollywood’s corrosive, systemic sexism,” sheds an even greater light on the issue that faced by actresses today.

According to the article, women were constantly manipulated throughout the history of the business, and although Weinstein has left, Hollywood has not changed.

One of the most captivating parts of this article is what Seth MacFarlane said at a pre-Oscars event in 2013. He was telling a series of edgy jokes, and then introduced the best supporting actress nominees with the following joke.

“Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein,” said MacFarland. The article continued, “The idea that female stars and aspiring stars are required to accept the attentions, at the very least, of older male studio executives and producers, is as old as the Hollywood hills.”

The realization that people are coming to now is that Hollywood is not the magical place it used to be. There is a problem with saying “used to be” because as this article states, Hollywood has forever been this way.

Overcoming one of the toughest and most powerful men of this industry has shed a new light on this industry and other industries as well.

The Sexual Misconduct and Harassment page of the Wilkes University website details who to contact in these situations. Contact the resources available to protect yourself, as well as your fellow students.