October 13, 2017
It takes true confidence and bravery to come out about sexual assault, especially in a professional environment. While there have been speculations of a problem surrounding sexual assault in Hollywood for a while, it has only been in recent times that accusations have been made and the seriousness of the situation has come to light.
After a New York times article titled Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades was published, accusing Harvey Weinstein, a film producer and co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, of sexual misconduct, multiple other women have since come forward with their own accounts of harassment. Allegations and lawsuits against Harvey Weinstein for sexual harassment are nothing new however as, dating back to as early 1990. Lawsuits have been filed against him for the same reasons for decades, but to which he responded by offering a large amount of money in a settlement deal, essentially sliding the accusations under the rug.
With so many accusations having been made beforehand, the question remains of why action against Harvey Weinstein, such as his recent termination from The Weinstein Company, hadn’t been taken earlier, along with the question of why so many other women waited so long to share their accounts of sexual harassment?
The answer to the first question of why local action against Harvey Weinstein hadn’t been taken earlier is simply because of greed and monetary power. With the power given to Harvey Weinstein through monetary means, he was able to cover up his instances of sexual abuse. Though the board of directors for The Weinstein Company has said otherwise, they knew about Harvey Weinstein’s past evidence of misconduct, and yet they still took no action against him. Since the accusations had been successfully contained through legal avenues, the company itself wouldn’t be affected in any way, other than lacking an experienced member of the team had they chosen to fire him earlier. It was only when the information turned into mainstream news that the board of directors fired Harvey Weinstein in an attempt to save face and keep a positive public image.
When asked on their opinion of why they think the harassed women didn’t speak out, Julissa Mendez, senior, replied, “I think it would probably be hard to say anything since the guy basically controls their jobs and going against him, who has so much power in Hollywood, would be hard to do. I would probably be scared to talk about it too, if I were in that situation, since I wouldn’t want to risk losing my job.”
The second question of why so many women waited so long to give allegations against Harvey Weinstein is because of fear and a lack of confidence. These women feared that if they were the only one to speak out against Harvey Weinstein, they would not be believed and their accusations, like those posed by past women, would be ignored. Had they spoken out against such a powerful man without support, they feared the loss of their job within the industry in which Harvey Weinstein was a titan. As a stream of recent accusations started to drip through to the media, beginning with the New York Times article in recent times, a flood of new victims gained the confidence to speak out against sexual harassment including Terry Crews. Terry Crews, a “240 lbs. black man” and actor in Hollywood spoke out against sexual assault by sharing his own experience of being groped from an unnamed Hollywood executive. By giving his story, Terry Crews hopes to give other victims the confidence to speak out and give a male perspective on the subject.
“What Terry Crews did was pretty cool,” says Adeeb Tajalli, senior. “Its hard to imagine someone molesting someone like him, but I guess it just shows that this can happen to anyone.”
The amount of women accusing Weinstein currently sits at 27 potential victims. With so many cases of sexual abuse being revealed in Hollywood, one can only hope that these crimes will stop and inspire others to speak out against it as well. The fall of a Hollywood giant like Weinstein shows that no one is invincible and that every victim does matter.