COMMENT: Harvey Weinstein, Ben Affleck and the culture of Hollywood

I’ve debated whether or not to write anything about this issue. After all, I’m not in Hollywood. I’m just another very small voice in a corner of the Internet, who happens to love film. I don’t often take things seriously on this page, merely using it as a bit of fun – and inviting anyone who wants to join me in that fun to come along for the ride.

But the longer this story, led by allegations of sexual assault, sexual harrassment and rape against Harvey Weinstein – the powerhouse Hollywood producer responsible for financing films such as Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love, The King’s Speech and countless others –  runs, the more I feel I need to add my voice to this conversation, even if my contribution can only be support and a call for change, hopping onto my soapbox as it were. So that’s what I’m going to do.

I love movies, I really do. And to see the movie industry for what it is, rife with such despicable behaviour, is sickening. Sadly, it isn’t surprising – most people would have expected this sort of behaviour to be occurring, though to be this widespread is certainly worse than some would have feared, looking in. And it’s not just Weinstein – this goes everywhere. Influential online film critic Harry Knowles abused his power, and lost his accreditation. The creator of the popular online Honest Trailers, Andy Signore, was fired over the weekend from YouTube channel Screen Junkies for multiple cases of sexual assault of his employees, fans, and other movie commentators. Recently, Justice League‘s Ben Affleck was accused of hypocrisy after footage of inappropriate behaviour was caught out. Even Terry Crews has been victimized, recently claiming that a producer groped him at a function. If even Terry Crews, a large and intimidating former football star, can be targeted, how unstoppable must these monster and molesters seem to a young actress aiming for a break in Hollywood. The behaviour is endemic and is far too widespread.

This issue is engulfing Hollywood right now, and Hollywood is rightfully copping condemnation. But we need to remember that this behaviour is not unique to Tinseltown, and it occurs around the world – wherever there’s an opportunity for someone to take advantage of others, particularly young women, you can bet that there is someone using that opportunity. Sickening? Of course it is.

But if we’re calling for Hollywood to change it’s ways, as it should, then you damn well better believe that we have to call for change everywhere else. Because it’s normalized now. The Americans just last year elected a man who openly joked about this behaviour to the highest office in their country. So if you’ve sat back watching the news and said “This Weinstein man is horrific, and needs to be brought to justice”, or if you’ve gone onto the comments of an Honest Trailer video and called for Signore and anyone who was involved in covering his behaviour to be fired immediately, then don’t forget to look in your own backyard.

Look at the behaviour of your friends and family, and ask “Are they doing the right thing?”

Make sure your colleagues and even bosses are treating everyone with the respect that they deserve.

Look at your own behaviour and evaluate – am I treating women with dignity, or am I coming across as a bit of dick?

These predators, these animals like Weinstein, Signore and Knowles – and they are animals, man is not a term that should be associated with them – never operate in a vacuum. In the vast majority of cases, there’s someone close to them turning a blind eye. And that’s where this will stop. When we all declare that enough is enough and chase these monsters out of town.

There’s already too many victims of these crimes and abuses. Let’s put our foot down and declare that there is to be no more. This can and will end when as a species and as a community we decide that it won’t be allowed to happen. Why wait?

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