Welcome to our first Mixtape, an attempt to take all of the content I consume every day and turn it into something coherent. Man, did I pick a beast of a time to start this.
The Harvey Weinstein saga envelops more people on an hourly basis (also his wife is leaving him, which pleases me more than it should). What’s different about this one – and what I hope will ultimately affect some massive societal changes – is that the players involved are celebrities. We prefer to think of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as two hunky boys from Southie who made good. These guys wouldn’t stand idly by and watch a lecherous pig rape women, right?
Well, that depends.
Reporter Sharon Waxman alleges that the New York Times ‘gutted’ her 2004 story on Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.
“After intense pressure from Weinstein, which included having Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call me directly… the story was stripped of any reference to sexual favors or coercion and buried on the inside of the Culture section… The Times’ then-culture editor Jon Landman, now an editor-at-large for Bloomberg, thought the story was unimportant, asking me why it mattered. ‘He’s not a publicly elected official,’ he told me.”
Matt Damon disputed this in an interview with Deadline, calling Waxman’s account ‘an incomplete rendering’.
“This would have been a difficult past couple of days even if my name hadn’t been dragged into it. I am not the story here. The story is these women and what happened to them. So if I’m experiencing this discomfort, it hardly bears mention.”
Says the guy who asked to be interviewed for “his side of the story.”
Meanwhile, Rose McGowan hit the caps lock for Ben Affleck, disputing his statement that he knew nothing of Weinstein’s assaults.
“‘GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT’ you said that to my face,” Ms. McGowan wrote.”
Thing is, the fact that you never *saw* anything is very likely true. But if women in Hollywood were warning each other about him, chances are pretty damn strong that you were hearing the same thing. It wasn’t happening to you, though, so what’s the big deal? Women know what they’re getting into when they hop on that proverbial bus to La La Land, right? So you have to exchange a few favors; who doesn’t? And besides, if he was really as bad as you say, why didn’t you fight back?
Unfortunately, it all flows nicely back to what I wrote about yesterday on Graceless: at the end of the day, women are held to account when attacked, in all manner of ways. They even do it to themselves, as Asia Argento did in her New Yorker interview:
“If I were a strong woman, I would have kicked him in the balls and run away. But I didn’t. And so I felt responsible.”
I know, it’s all so exhausting. I do feel a shift in the wind with this one, though. I don’t think this is the last we’re hearing of it—we can’t let it be. The famous among us need to keep speaking up, demanding accountability and statements from men. The not-so-famous need to make sure they do. I can’t say it any better than Isha Aran at Splinter:
“It’s probably hard for these men who have never really been questioned to witness the downfall of one of the Boys Club’s most famous and influential members. Not only have they lost a brother, but they’ve lost a very powerful person to have in their corner—and if any of them have been more than just actively complicit in the abuse of women, perhaps they’re shitting their pants right now. As many have pointed out, women who have been targeted and abused by the rampant misogyny in Hollywood can only do so much. It is the men who stuck up for Weinstein, remained quiet, silenced women, and benefitted from allowing these abuses to continue. Perhaps we will start to see more and more of Hollywood’s celebrated men turn on the disgraced Weinstein and stand up for their colleagues. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll even see some acknowledge and apologize for championing such a well-known monster. I’m not getting my hopes up.”
Phew. That was a lot. I promise I’ll do a mixtape about bunnies next. Here, read this for a good laugh. Find out what a jerk Ethan is in Conversation Starters for Parents Driving the Middle School Carpool.