With the cases of sexual assault and harassment against Hollywood bigwig Harvey Weinstein piling up, some of the gasps and shudders from Hollywood was that while they knew he could ‘be a bully,’ they never thought he was a rabid sexual predator.
But is that really the case though?
Gwyneth Paltrow, who already came out with her own Weinstein horror story, was already Hollywood royalty when she was born, and said that she never expected to be coerced into an uncomfortable sexually-tingled situation by her ‘uncle’ Harvey when she was in her early 20s.
In 1998, she even said on the David Letterman show that Weinstein “will coerce you to do a thing or two.”
The same goes for Angelina Jolie, and an increasing number of actresses starting out in the late 80s and early 90s and beyond who encountered Weinstein in their bid for an acting career.
In an article that prods just how ‘unaware’ Hollywood was of Weinstein’s predation, Courtney Love back in 2005 said in an interview when asked about her advice for young women with acting aspirations: “If Harvey Weinstein invites you to a private party in his Four Seasons [hotel room], don’t go.”
Then a few years later in 2013, Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane who co-hosted that year’s Oscar Awards with Emma Stone and after announcing the nominees for Best Supporting Actress, he quipped “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
McFarlane has since stepped forward on Twitter to explain that the joke came from “a place of loathing and anger” after his friend Jessica Barth told him that Weinstein sexually harassed her.
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) October 11, 2017
This begs the question then, was Hollywood really so unaware of what was going on right under their noses? But of course not.
It was more of an open secret — one that gets hushed by lawsuits and settlements borne by the millions of dollars of The Weinstein Company. Those who dared speak get fired, ostracized from the snow globe that is Hollywood.
Among those people was Rose McGowan, who had a $100,000 settlement after being raped by Weinstein in a hotel room in 1997.
Since then, McGowan has been on the low in making movies or appearing in TV shows. Instead, she has become a face of the new wave of feminism, a combative female figure who calls out actors like Ben Affleck for being complicit in Weinstein’s disgusting treatment of women.
“I have been silenced for 20 years,” McGowan said during the inaugural Women’s Convention in Detroit this week. “I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed. I have been maligned. And you know what? I’m just like you.”
And while it’s empowering and amazing that women like McGowan speak out about their rape and assault, it goes without saying that this kind of culture still prevails over Hollywood — and all over America, to be perfectly honest.
And until men learn the value of consent and every goddamn person becomes a feminist (someone who believes in the economic, political and social equality of the sexes, if you’re confused), then we can’t truly say stories like Weinstein won’t crop up in our news headlines in the future.