Who Is Harvey Weinstein? And Why Does He Matter?

There is a saying that my friend Bushka quotes on occasion:  “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is part of a quote attributed to John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”

This seems to be quite true, at least in most cases, as can be witnessed in many, many places and situations today.  But one in particular stands out today, for the headlines have screamed the name Harvey Weinstein over the past few days.  Who, then, is Harvey Weinstein?

According to Wikipedia …

weinstein“Harvey Weinstein is an American film producer and film studio executive. He is best known as co-founder of Miramax, which produced several popular independent films including Pulp Fiction, Clerks, The Crying Game, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. He and his brother Bob have been co-chairmen of The Weinstein Company, their film production company, since 2005. He won an Academy Award for producing Shakespeare in Love, and garnered seven Tony Awards for producing a variety of winning plays and musicals, including The Producers, Billy Elliot the Musical, and August: Osage County.”

But that does not tell us who Harvey Weinstein is, nor why he is in the news. Turns out that ol’ Harvey is not a very nice man.  On October 5, 2017, Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment by a number of women, including Ashley Judd. In a statement to the New York Times, he 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.”

Some twenty years ago, Judd recalls Weinstein invited her to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for what she expected to be a business breakfast meeting. Instead, he had her sent up to his room, where he appeared in a bathrobe and asked if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower. In 2014, Mr. Weinstein invited Emily Nestor, who had worked just one day as a temporary employee, to the same hotel and made another offer: If she accepted his sexual advances, he would boost her career. The following year, once again at the Peninsula, a female assistant said Mr. Weinstein badgered her into giving him a massage while he was naked.

An investigation by the New York Times found previously undisclosed allegations against Mr. Weinstein stretching over nearly three decades, documented through interviews with current and former employees and film industry workers, as well as legal records, emails and internal documents from the businesses he has run, Miramax and the Weinstein Company.

One of Weinstein’s attorneys, Lisa Bloom, minimizes the situation, saying he’s just “an old dinosaur learning new ways,” and said she had “explained to him that due to the power difference between a major studio head like him and most others in the industry, whatever his motives, some of his words and behaviors can be perceived as inappropriate, even intimidating.”

Why does it matter, apart from the obvious, that it is wrong? It matters because Weinstein is just another in a long string of media moguls who seem to believe that women are a lower, sub-species of human placed on earth only for men’s pleasure.  It matters because it is an abuse of power, one that you and I pay for every time we watch Fox News or a film produced by one of Weinstein’s companies.  It matters because too many do not take this abuse of power, abuse of women seriously.

On Fox Network alone, there have been Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Shine, Jesse Waters, and Charles Payne.  Men in a position of power, holding women hostage if they want to keep their jobs.  The Times investigation found accusations of sexual harassment going back decades, and at least eight cases where Weinstein had paid settlements to women.  When the story broke on Thursday, at least three members of the Board of Directors resigned, and angry employees are demanding swift action.  Mr. Weinstein will be taking an indefinite leave of absence and will seek psychiatric counseling.

Weinstein’s atrocities spread their tentacles far and wide, even touching members of the U.S. Congress who have received donations from Weinstein.  Four such members, Senators Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts each said they would transfer money to charity in amounts equal to donations they had received from Mr. Weinstein. Others say they will follow suit.

What gives these men the idea that they can sexually harass women?  Power.  Greed.  Money.  And a sense of entitlement, perhaps, because somewhere deep down, they still believe that men are superior and have the right to dominate women.  This is becoming a cultural norm, at least in the entertainment industry, but also in other venues, I would bet.  It needs to stop, but will it?  The person at the top of the food chain in this nation is one who has indirectly given a green light for this behaviour by his own treatment of women and comments he has made denigrating women for all to hear.

Just last month, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, said she will ‘re-write’ the rules on sexual assault on college campuses to protect the assaulter as well as the victim.  Excuse me, but this is not the direction we need to go!  Remember the case of Brock Turner, the Stanford University student who was convicted of raping an unconscious woman on campus?  He served three months in jail.  Thus far, Mr. Weinstein has not seen the inside of a jail cell, and I am betting he never will, just as Ailes did not and O’Reilly and the rest will not.  He will pay more settlements, likely out of court, and it will not matter to him, for he has money to burn — $150 million, according to Forbes.  Sexual harrasment is against the law, but that particular law is not taken seriously.  It is brushed aside with the attitude of “oh, well, boys will be boys”.

Power.  Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Think about it.

 

 

38 thoughts on “Who Is Harvey Weinstein? And Why Does He Matter?

  1. Removal from the workplace is essential and Mr Weinsteins pleas to remain must be ignored. After years of being top-dog he must become a minion. Talent that abuses its position does not deserve its place. He has a wife and children he must learn to love them properly above all other evil promptings that are common to flesh. It may be a turning point if he makes the transformation I hope so for all the many affected lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Old Dinosaur is the right description this behaviour is very deep seated . In the UK now they are realising the sexual abuse of the young by the young is more prevalent that it was believed . One experienced police officer said we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. A six year old girl was assaulted for two weeks in the playground by two boys who are too young to be criminally responsible. Can I hear strict Muslims saying I sold you so separate them , cover those girls and young women, you Christians are far too trusting of rapacious men. A Muslim man teaching his wife to drive faced a barrage of criticism because she exposed her face in Saudi Arabia. Perhaps Mr Trump should listen to the Muslim Americans ; sex is dangerous , bury it deeply.
    Of course money and power make a man totally vulnerable and Hollywood must be like red rag to a bull. My advice to such men is if you find your hands wondering get another job , avoid temptation in the same way as an alcoholic should avoid public houses. If things get desperate convert to the Muslim faith but practice it’s precepts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am incredibly saddened by the story of the 6-year-old girl …. and the knowledge that there are undoubtedly more we don’t know about. I don’t think there is an simple answer, no panacea, but there must be a solution. Punitive actions are not very effective, other than to remove the assailant from society temporarily. Education? Sure, but again, with power and money come a feeling, perhaps of invincibility, of superiority. Educate young women and make sure they carry a can of mace at all times? I just don’t know.

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  3. Jill, Weinstein, Ailes, O’Reilly. Cosby, Trump et al are cut from the same cloth. Men who use their power over women because they can. After screwing people over for years, they respond with “Who me?” Unless they are punished, they feel little reason not to. Ailes not only harassed women, he assaulted them and creates a culture of sexual harassment. Then he walks away with $38 million in a contractual settlement because the Board is too scared to fire him for cause. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed … as long as there is never actual punishment, they will continue to abuse their power in this manner. And there is never any punishment. Settlements they pay? Psh … a drop in the bucket for them. Weinstein won’t see prison, but I’m thinking his company may go under, which might take the wind out of his sales. Have to wait and see.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, in all of my years of consulting, corporate HR work and news reading, I cannot recall ever seeing an executive fired for “cause” under an employment contract. Such distinction would prevent the payment of a severance payment. Over the same period, I have witnessed more than a few circumstances where an executive’s breach of conduct could have been so construed. Boards of Directors have tended to lack the will to treat someone they know in this manner. Roger Ailes could have been so treated given his transgressions. The sad part is the severance is so large (2x – 3x total pay) it is rather insulting to remaining employees and shareholders. I know of another former CEO who has wrecked three companies, yet he has walked away with a severance each time. Keith

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        • Jill, more shoes have dropped on Weinstein. The New Yorker reporter said on PBS Newshour that there was a machine around Weinstein that would help quiet women who he sexually assaulted and reach settlements. This would include PR people to discredit the assaulted actresses. The fact this machine exists is damning. Keith

          Liked by 1 person

        • On reading your comment, I was trying to think if I could recall any high-ranking executive fired for cause, and I cannot recall any either. It is criminal, though, in my book, for people like Ailes to actually be rewarded for their evil ways! There is something quite backward here!

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  4. This ‘sickener’ on women has been going on as far back as you can look, hand-in-hand with the hypocrisy that men are ‘powerful’ or ‘strong’ character, while the female version is ‘sly’ devious’ and a ‘ruiner’ of men.
    At least this instance demonstrates these days there is a fragile toe-hold which allows women to fight back. Although it needs constant defence, as there is always the underlying furtive wish to put women ‘in their place’ as that obnoxious travesty ’50 sh**ts of Grey’ proves. (A rare case for the practice of book burning).

    Liked by 2 people

    • I suspect this hails back to the day when men were considered dominant and somehow superior, both intellectually and physically, and women were, therefore, to be subservient, their only goal in life being to please their man and have his babies. We moved forward from there, but I suspect there is a bit of that mentality remaining … enough to make the likes of Weinstein, Ailes, O’Reilly et al, to feel empowered. At what point do the final remnants of that thought finally fade into oblivion, and what does it take? Most men I know would not dream of abusing a women, but then I don’t know men in power, men who already believe they are somehow better. But, just as I have said about other groups, specifically Muslims, we cannot rightly judge all by the actions of a few.

      And yes, I agree with you about that abomination of a ‘book’. Blech.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Jill,
    That Lisa Bloom would represent Mr. Weinstein in the first place, doesn’t say much for her character.These guys suffer from sick private parts and they will continue to exist. With all the disclosures, these men are a high risk and hopefully, investors will think twice about dealing with these men with their open secrets in the future.
    Young ladies need to know how to deal with these guys.
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • I suspect Mr. Weinstein’s company will struggle and perhaps in the end, will fail. Good enough. You know, I almost wonder if it isn’t more about dominance than sex? It has long been said that rape is not truly about sex, but rather about male domination over females. Perhaps this isn’t so much different. Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is truly sickening and I’m sure sends shivers of fear into the heart of every good mother in the world. No matter the age of a woman she’s still someone’s daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, etc. These men are sick and need to be kept away from lone women. The man needs to go to jail, not a luxury “hospital”. 😦 — Suzanne

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree fully! But, these ‘men’ have enough power and money, and there is still that culture of “boys will be boys”, that they rarely, if ever, see the inside of a cell. Now, let a woman fight back, perhaps knock the man upside the head with an iron skillet or jab his eye out with her BIC pen, and she is almost guaranteed an orange jumpsuit. There still exists a double standard.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Reading this, I do not feel shocked. Just more verification of how power, corrupts. While mostly confined to men, their victims can be of either sex, depending on proclivity.They are obviously driven, individuals.

    In the book “Autobiography of a Yogi”. Paramhansa Yogananda writes of his Guru, Sri Yukteshwar. His explanation of how the kundalini, our life’s energy, travels up and down the spine. The seven centres of energy and their types. I have heard from other sources, too. I tend to subscribe to the notion. The practices of Kung Fu and Qi Gong also utilize the drawing up of this energy. Sex resides in the lower power centres and correlates to other base virtues. Like greed, etc. Consumption of animal flesh, bolsters this too. For eating meat is taking on that animal’s energy. Such as it is. Obviously eating meat does not directly drive men, or women, to such excess. Yet it can contribute.

    Satanic practice of eating their sacrificial victims, is well documented. This is just corroboration of how it affects us as people. Satanic or not? People preying on other human beings displays lack of empathy and total preoccupation with their own base pleasure. Prostitution is one of the oldest professions, it has been said. Men like Mr. Weinstein obviously think, that their position gives a type of entitlement? To treat people like cattle. Lack of empathy. Power, wealth and basic nature, all lead to such. For all the victims that have said “No”. There must be countless others who have succumbed to the pressures? Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can honestly say … I have no idea. I have always considered it a dominance thing. Since until modern times, males were considered the dominant gender and women were expected to be subservient, some of that is still ingrained in our culture. Similarly, the notion that black people are somehow less human than whites remains embedded in our culture from the days of slavery. However, the bigger issue is … how do we change that culture? For a time, I thought we had, but obviously I was wrong.
      Cheers!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure you are right, also. Yet I would say it goes deeper, along the lines suggested. Who knows? You chose the subject, my 2 cents worth. Honestly? I do not spend time, wasted on it. Their lives, their karma. I have my own to take care of …. Cheers Jamie

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jamie, I believe Buddhist monks eschew meat for similar reasons. Also Onions are prohibited by some as they are said to increase libido…I don’t eat meat and onions make me rather bloated so I don’t eat them either… Nothing wrong with my libido either, but it wouldn’t even remotely make me feel inclined to give a massage to Mr Weinstein. However, some of his victims may have felt more disempowered than you might imagine, and just given-in hoping that ‘the big bad monster’ might just go away if they did.

      Read https://acestoohigh.com/2017/10/09/my-encounter-with-harvey-weinstein-and-what-it-tells-us-about-trauma/

      Liked by 2 people

      • Colettebytes. I learned a long time ago to not be such a pain in the butt, over animal consumption. I have eaten them many times, in the past. Libido, for anyone, is not questioned by me. Yet, the kundalini fixed in the lower chakras aides, in preying types of behaviour. .. See Alan Watt. That discussion is far larger, than Jill’s comment section. I had never felt the urge, thankfully, to push myself on any person. Of course it is predominately men, who do so. Partly because of their sex. Any foetus, starts as an anus, then female and then lastly male in body structure development. Maybe there is a clue there? Onions? Hmmm? It is said Mohammed the Prophet, eschewed them also ? Which is why, devout muslims do not eat them either. Asafoetida is a substitute.

        My cooking always starts with an onion, then what? Luckily for me I do not suffer from many ailments. Once in a very long while, bloating can happen. Never linked that to onions. That’s a new one for me. What is the prime function of living? Self survival. Self survival and procreation, seemed linked. Men have the urge to spread their seed, as a form of spreading their genetic pool. Women might also? Yet have the unfortunate task of rearing their young. Which tends to alter their focus somewhat. Now I am not saying men cannot be responsible humans. Just that some, lose focus on the broad picture and only focus on their bodily drives as some type of power function. Which gives all men, a bad name. Rape is never pleasant, IMO. See how many times it happens. Yet women have been known to rape also. It is just not as prevalent. Thankfully. Cheers Jamie.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Ah, the old ‘casting couch’ is alive and well.
    Mr Weinstein sounds very typical of the Hollywood industry.
    I am not shocked, nor even mildly surprised by your article Jill.

    Apologies to all men for my bias, but in my experience, even the most respected, affluential and educated men, will throw their reputation right out of the window for a bit of action below their belt line. The fact that much of that activity is no more than a quickie, and having no emotional tie, doesn’t seem to stop the folly.
    History is littered with men fallen from positions of power when their indiscretions are challenged. Mr Weinstein is just joining a very long queue… Maybe Trumpest will join him soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would stop short of saying all men, but certainly a large percentage of them tend to think with their nether parts rather than their heads sometimes. I really thought it would be Trump’s downfall when that tape came out last year, but no … his lemmings, even the women among them, ignored or excused his behaviour as being “locker room talk”, and now his abuse of women and his sexual exploits are rarely even mentioned. I still think he put something in the drinking water.

      One of the problems here is that most women are hesitant to come forward. For some, it is a fear of losing their jobs, or else a hope of moving up the ladder of success. For others, though, it is a fear of not being believed. HE nearly always has more power, and therefore is likely to be believed, at least by some, when he denies the accusation. How humiliating for the woman, yes? And there is a culture of believing that the woman must have done something to deserve it, to have led the man on. Sigh. Until we change the culture, these things will continue.

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      • It looks like (now a few days later) that Harvey Weinstein will go down in flames…women are sticking together to ‘out’ this predator. Angelina Joli and Gwynneth Paltrow have come forward to support the accusations of other actresses.

        Even British film producer Alison Ross (though she is not a victim because she is not his type) has spoken out about his typical ‘little girl in a pretty dress, acting badly’ behaviour. She described Weinstein as a ‘bully,’ and gave an account of his disgusting behaviour at a scene viewing (just Alison Ross Harvey Weinstein and the projectionist, present for the rushes) of ‘Tulip Fever’ where she got the impression that Weinstein was masturbating over the image of Meg Ryan after demanding the scenes be fast-forwarded to ‘ the bit where she gets her tits out.’

        I think Weinstein will now lose his honorary British CBE award and the whole industry now appears to be under the public microscope at last. BAFTA (British Acadamy of Film and Television Arts) has revoked his membership. I think we Brits, in particular do not indulge such blatent sexualization of employment opportunities. Perverts are not tolerated at all.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I read that he had been fired, and also about Paltrow and Joli speaking up, but the rest was news to me. He had an honorary British CBE award??? How do these asses (pardon, but it is appropriate here) climb so high on the ladder??? As I see it, he deserves to crash and burn, and I would personally love to see him in a prison orange jumpsuit!

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Note to Readers: After I completed this post, NPR reported that Weinstein’s lawyer/advisor, the aforementioned Lisa Bloom, has resigned, writing, “I have resigned as an advisor to Harvey Weinstein. My understanding is that Mr. Weinstein and his board are moving toward an agreement.”

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