Mogul’s decades of sexual assault

October 15, 2017 GMT

The growing list of accusations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein from women alleging decades of systematic sexual harassment and assault is a sickening display of depravity and possible criminal behavior.

Top Hollywood stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have added their first-person accounts to the list of accusations against Weinstein from women alleging sexual harassment and assault.

The accusers include an ever-growing list of known and unknown actresses, models, assistants and employees.

The accounts first appeared in the New York Times and were later followed by more horrific accounts in the New Yorker.

The New Yorker’s investigation into Weinstein’s conduct included three accusations of rape. The magazine also reported that 16 former and current executives and assistants at the Weinstein Co. and Miramax either witnessed or knew of Weinstein’s unwanted sexual advances: “All sixteen said the behavior was widely known within both Miramax and the Weinstein Company.”

A representative for Weinstein denied allegations of non-consensual sex in a statement to the magazine.

Since last week’s initial report by the Times, condemnations have come from prominent figures in entertainment and politics including former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, Glenn Close and Jennifer Lawrence.

Weinstein’s wife of 10 years, Georgina Chapman, said Tuesday that she plans to divorce him. The company he helped co-found fired him. The company stated that Weinstein’s “alleged actions are antithetical to human decency” and that they had no knowledge of this conduct. The University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts rejected a $5 million pledge from Weinstein that was intended for a female filmmaker endowment.

The New Yorker described a “culture of complicity” that could extend far beyond Miramax and Weinstein Co. employees.

The question now is whether accusations will come out against more powerful men in the industry and whether real changes will be implemented.

“I worry that when predators like Weinstein go away, the whole web of obstacles for women in business remains,” actor Alan Alda wrote on Twitter. “Still lots of work to be done.”

Cathy Schulman, president of the advocacy group Women in Film, said the culture that allowed Weinstein to operate for so long is related to the vast under-representation of women in Hollywood in all aspects of the business.

“One thing I haven’t seen is a lot of statements from the big corporations. I haven’t seen the studios and networks and agencies make comments. At the end of the day, what are they going to do? It’s those people who make decisions about which content to finance. Are they going to make a change because of all this? That’s the big question mark,” she said.

“Frankly, if everyone is going to speak up and it’s going to be yesterday’s fish wrap and let’s wait for a hiatus and bring the guys back, then what have we really done?”

The growing Weinstein scandal follows a pattern similar to the sexual harassment scandals of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and top Fox News broadcaster Bill O’Reilly.

Weinstein was a major donor to Democratic candidates and liberal causes. Ailes and O’Reilly are known conservatives.

While these men have different political party affiliations, the one thing they apparently have in common is abusing their power to be sexual predators and demean women.