Among the films that have come from the until-now Tinseltown untouchable Harvey Weinstein are The Crying Game, Sex, Lies and Videotape and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! As far as anyone knows, however, he’s never been the mover and shaker behind one called The Stench, The Stink or The Whiff, art house or big box office.
Weinstein denies all charges of sexual harassment against the young and not-so-young actresses who are now keen to come forward and claim that, yes, this happened to them too. It’s not looking good though. Already there has been broadcast a recording of him in a room with a nubile thespian who he was apparently trying to coax into his bath. It’s not pretty listening. Here’s the thing, though. Is anyone all that surprised, all that aghast, apart from – so we are to believe – all those multi-millionaire luvvies themselves? You know the ones, that lot who pout and preen and shimmy and simper along the red carpet? That lot who are there at those awards ceremonies, the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the BAFTAS, the whatevers, weeping their thanks and acknowledgements into the mic. Possibly even paying tribute to Harvey himself, without whom none of this would have been possible. When they’re not blubbing their gratitude to Hollywood sexual predators (a casting couch? Blimey, and there we all were thinking that had been consigned to the era of the Talkies), they’re sharing their political insights, bringing their wisdom about how we can make a better world.
You see, that lot must have known for years what was going on. As was the case with that scandal a few years ago this side of the pond, the one involving that frazzle-haired little BBC gonk that a lot of us can’t even be bothered to name any more. That allegedly was a cover-up as well. A cover-up by a lot of people who more than suspected there was something rotten.
But too many people were too weak, too many people bedazzled by wealth, money, celebrity, power. Weinstein was great mates with all The Usual Suspects (not one of Harvey’s movies, incidentally). Among those with whom he seemed on more than acquainted terms were Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep and Michael Moore. Or maybe that’s just the way these people cosy up and smile when there’s a lens on them. One assumes all these are now also appalled. The chumminess was right up to the dizzy heights of the White House too and now of course, in the light of all the donations Weinstein made to the Democrats, the Obamas have been forced to make a statement expressing their own shock and disgust while curiously failing to mention this was the same man they trusted their daughter to as an intern this summer.
Sorry, this is not going to wash. It’s fine now for the great and good of Hollywood liberals to be in the throes of anguish about Weinstein’s predations now that there’s a torrent of people coming forward. The point is that Liberals, the ‘good’, have a complete blind spot about themselves. They can see that someone who is a Republican (thus a nasty reprobate, by definition) can be a groper, but they can’t possibly imagine that a creep can be one of their own. This was a world of agents, fixers, drivers, hangers-on, wannabes and all manner of flunkeys wanting a piece of the starry action. Throw mega money into the mix, with suites in five-star hotels, sparkly post-awards parties in swanky venues, yachts, lots of famous people, and you’re going to be able to hide most things in plain sight. Plain sight works when you see what you want to see and close your eyes to the other bits. You focus on the glitz, the movies and what someone like Mr Weinstein might mean for your self-interest. For your career.
It might surprise Hollywood to know that the rest of us are not all that surprised at these sordid revelations. Those of us who inhabit less sparkly worlds sort of assumed there might be, shall we say, things to be negotiated when it came to getting on in the film industry. Think on that, Hollywood people. Good for her, that first actress who has come forward to speak out and made the others now feel empowered to say something. Shame on those others, however. Wouldn’t it have been just great if at one of those self-congratulatory awards ceremonies, the Oscars, say, with all their global reach, a gong collector could have done all the thanking, all the eye-dabbing and then said: ‘And lastly, just to say – Mr Weinstein, I’ve been speaking to the police about you.’ That would have been a performance worth watching.