The Hollywood left and the Democratic Party are reeling from the recent revelations reported by the New York Times, which describe three decades of alleged serial sexual harassment on the part of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Each story seems to follow a similar plotline. A young female employee or Hollywood hopeful in search of a film role is invited to what is represented as a professional meeting with Weinstein. Instead of a meeting, though, what the individual encounters is an attempt to coerce various sexual favors.
More that 20 women, former employees and well known celebrities, were referenced in the New York Times report. Weinstein reportedly paid settlements to at least 8 different women, and other media outlets are planning to release further investigative stories about the filmmaker’s purported misconduct.
With the prospect of more sordid details yet to come, the Hollywood left and its favorite political party are feeling the heat. For his part, Weinstein appears to be of the mindset that he can resurrect his image by simply demonstrating his unwavering adherence to the tenets of liberalism.
Despite his stature as a movie executive, bought-and-paid-for connections with numerous politicians, and sizable crisis management machine, Weinstein’s effort to be granted the same latitude as Woody Allen or Roman Polanski does not appear to be working.
The tactical failure may be occurring, in part, because Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse has a number of high-profile celebrity victims, including actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan.
There is another component that is of even greater import for Weinstein in general and the Democratic Party in particular; that is, the issue of women’s rights and its attendant agenda items, which includes sexual harassment in the workplace. As the mid-term elections loom, liberals can in no way afford to protect a Hollywood filmmaker, even one that has been a prime source of financial support for left-wing campaigns and political causes.
Weinstein assembled a team of political spin doctors and public relations experts to counter recent allegations. He enlisted the help of Democrat public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker and former Obama White House Communications Director Anita Dunn.
He had also brought onboard attorney Lisa Bloom, the daughter of high-powered agenda-driven attorney Gloria Allred, to provide tutelage on feminist principles, and former President Bill Clinton’s chief crisis manager Lanny Davis, who is known for his quick responses to sexual abuse allegations. However, Davis and Bloom have abruptly left “Team Harvey,” perhaps pulling out after Weinstein combined an attempted apology with a threat to sue the newspaper that broke the story.
Weinstein had sent a poorly written statement to the New York Times, which shifted the blame for his behavior on having supposedly grown up in a sexist time. In the same statement, he makes a commitment to seek therapy.
It would be of interest to know whether any of Weinstein’s experts advised him to make the claim that a “right wing conspiracy” is to blame for the predicament in which he finds himself. It would be equally intriguing to know whether he was counseled to include in a release, which was supposedly written to express remorse, his intention to go after the NRA.
Perhaps to demonstrate that he is still trendy after all these years, Weinstein included in his statement a quote, which he purportedly obtained from a Jay Z tune, to somehow partially explicate a long history of alleged harassment. (Reports indicate that no such lyrics exist in any released Jay Z material.)
“Jay Z wrote in 4:44 ‘I’m not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children.’ The same is true for me,” Weinstein wrote.
It is predictable that Weinstein would believe that Hollywood would let him off the hook for any abusive behavior toward women. After all, he has held a unique position in Hollywood for a very long stretch. Along the way he was able to grab a Best Picture Oscar for “Shakespeare in Love” and to also create a large number of critically acclaimed films that include “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “Good Will Hunting.”
When he served as head of Miramax along with his brother Bob, he pioneered the art of turning an artsy independent film into box-office gold. Known as the master of the Academy Award campaign, he was able to obtain nominations for lesser known titles. In fact, Miramax snagged an unprecedented 249 Academy Award nominations and was able to secure 60 wins in a mere 15 years.
After Weinstein and his brother left Miramax and started up the Weinstein Co., they were able to use their Oscar formula to win Best Picture two years in a row for “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.” All the while Weinstein nurtured the image of the consummate liberal, supporting left-leaning causes, particularly feminism, to bolster his progressive bona fides.
In light of the New York Times article, one cannot help but see the irony of Weinstein’s 2015 distribution of “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary that examines sexual assault on American college campuses.
The entertainment community ignored the incessant rumors about Weinstein that circulated for years. Hollywood insiders knew about Weinstein’s purported conduct and in keeping quiet became enablers of the most hypocritical kind.
Reacting to the New York Times article, Rebecca Traister wrote in The Cut, “I have been having conversations about Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment for more than 17 years,” adding that she had heard from “lots of other people, now other reporters, who were working, often for years, to nail down the story of Harvey’s sexual abuses.”
“It wasn’t a secret to the inner circle,” said Kathy DeClesis, Bob Weinstein’s assistant in the early 1990s, as quoted by the New York Times.
“The only thing I’m surprised about,” one former Miramax executive, who worked closely with Weinstein, told the Los Angeles Times, “is how long it took.”