Sexual harassment is one of those things that should be easily condemned by any rational human being. Just look at what happened a year ago today when the infamous Access Hollywood tape of then-candidate Donald Trump leaked. There was bipartisan outrage, much of it believe it or not coming from Republicans. Trump’s most loyal supporters dismissed it as “locker room talk,” but even if that were the case it was still degrading to women and disgusting to most of the country. And if the opposing candidate wasn’t Hillary Clinton, such a damning tape would have destroyed his campaign.
Fast forward to today, where film mogul Harvey Weinstein is finding himself in the center of controversy after The New York Times published an exposé that documents decades of sexual harassment. Over half a dozen cases were mentioned, including actress Ashley Judd who alleges that Weinstein lured her into a hotel room where he was only wearing a bathrobe and asked her if he could massage her or watch him shower. Just last night, Weinstein was accused by a news anchor of masturbating in front of her in a restaurant in 2007.
If you aren’t familiar with Weinstein, he’s a Hollywood giant and arguably one of the most powerful men in the entertainment industry. He’s the studio executive of The Weinstein Co. and an Oscar-winning producer that’s been a major player in film and television for over 30 years. So it’s completely understandable for his victims not to pursue lawsuits let alone come forward. He arguably has more power in Hollywood than Roger Ailes ever had in cable news. And now there are reports that it was his brother Bob Weinstein who fed the story to the NYT as a power play to take over the company they both own.
Not only does he have major clout in entertainment; he also has major clout in politics. Weinstein is a mega donor to Democrats, giving support to Senators, the DNC and even the campaigns of President Obama, who apparently welcomed Weinstein to the White House 13 times during his presidency, and most recently Hillary Clinton, who hosted numerous fundraisers for the failed candidate.
Since the NYT story broke, Democrats have started to distance themselves from Weinstein. Several senators are reportedly giving the money he donated to them to different charities. The DNC has donated only $30,000 of the $250,000 he gave to the organization, but is taking heat for giving the money to groups who give to other Democrats.
Weinstein has taken a “leave of absence” from The Weinstein Co., but a source says he is now suspended from his company while it investigates the accusations. In the meantime, he has already recruited an “army of attorneys and crisis managers” and claims he plans to sue the NYT for publishing the story. And instead of owning up to his perverted behavior, he laughably promised to go after Trump and the NRA in his written apology in hopes to earn forgiveness from liberals.
It’s difficult to see all of this happening and not be reminded of what happened to Bill O’Reilly earlier this year. It was discovered that he and Fox News have settled several sexual harassment lawsuits over the years and that quickly led to his firing. Despite losing the title of being the king of cable news, O’Reilly has managed to keep himself busy, having released yet another best-selling book and starting his own podcast on his personal website.
Whether you’re as liberal as Weinstein or as conservative as O’Reilly, sexual harassment should be called out no matter who’s the one committing it. But what also should be called out are the people who were vocal about one and silent about the other. In fact, certain allegations against Weinstein are arguably more troubling than any made against O’Reilly.
NBC News was already caught not covering Weinstein hours after the bombshell was published. CNN had scarce coverage throughout the day and MSNBC was not much better, offering bare-bone coverage. None of the late-night comedians who went after O’Reilly like Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah, Bill Maher, and John Oliver have yet to go after Weinstein and I’m sure all of their bosses at the networks have rubbed elbows with Weinstein over the years. While she didn’t specifically address O’Reilly’s sexual harassment scandal, Hillary Clinton still accused him of sexism for making fun of Rep. Maxine Waters‘ hair. After all, Clinton is the self-imposed ambassador of sexism, so it would be completely appropriate for her to condemn Weinstein and return all the money he donated to her campaign. And between Weinstein, Anthony Weiner, and her husband, Clinton sure has a type…
During this entire saga, however, there is no bigger queen of hypocrisy than Lisa Bloom, who has boarded Weinstein’s defense team. This is the same “feminist” attorney who took down O’Reilly! Her excuse of wanting to tutor an “old dinosaur” in how to behave in front of women as the rationale for joining Weinstein’s team is pathetic. And in a heated interview with Law Newz Editor-in-Chief Rachel Stockman, Bloom dismissed the criticisms that she’s doing this for the money despite the fact that Weinstein was adapting her book into a docuseries.
Since Trump’s rise in politics, Hollywood has pretended to have the moral high ground when it comes to fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and Islamophobia in this country. So here’s their chance to either put up or shut up. If he still has a career and support after all of this, then they’re just as deplorable as everyone else.
It seems that this scandal is still in its infancy, so there is time for those who came out against O’Reilly to come out again and shame Weinstein for his actions. It is 2017 and the mistreatment of women in the workplace is still a systemic issue. And if you truly want sexual harassment to be the thing of the past, we cannot allow this double standard to continue.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.