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Saturday, March 23, 2019

The accumulating allegations of assault and harassment raised against Harvey Weinstein in recent days are deeply disturbing, and may well result in criminal prosecution of the Hollywood producer. Beyond Weinstein’s own fate, this latest episode in the very old history of women’s mistreatment by unscrupulous men seems likely to expose still more perpetrators, in occupations and industries far beyond the movie business. Sexist thugs prey on the defenseless in corporate suites and military bases, from factories and farms to restaurants and retailers.

Yet while media outlets ferret out more alleged villains, as they surely should, let’s not forget the alpha creep, who has so far escaped real accountability.

His name is Donald J. Trump.

 Despite Trump’s confession on the Access Hollywood videotape and complaints by more than a dozen alleged victims, he isn’t a target of renewed outrage over male misconduct. Last year, he swore publicly that the women who charged him with assault and harassment were liars. He vowed to sue them for besmirching his not-so-good name, as well as the New York Times – the same newspaper that finally broke the Weinstein scandal and devoted considerable ink last year to Trump’s decades of misogynist misadventure. (Some of the same reporters, notably Megan Twohey, worked on both series.)

Today we know that Trump’s blustering threats of litigation were entirely hollow. The statute of limitations for him to sue the Times expired recently without a hint of action, and he has filed no lawsuits against any of the women who came forward to accuse him of assaulting them.

One of those aggrieved women, a former contestant on The Apprentice named Summer Zervos, is instead suing Trump for defamation, claiming damages because he said she was lying about the unwanted kissing, groping, and humping he inflicted on her. Rather than suing any of his female accusers, Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz has tried to have the Zervos case thrown out with a claim of presidential immunity – which seems unlikely to prevail, based on the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Jones v. Clinton.

So the question of Trump’s culpability is far from settled. Now that his friend Roger Ailes is dead, he and Weinstein appear to be in competition for the title of top predator.

Yet thanks to partisan framing of the Weinstein scandal, the finger of accusation is pointed not at Trump but, incredibly, at Hillary Clinton. As any savvy feminist will explain, such shifting of blame from men to women is an ancient characteristic of our culture, starting with “she asked for it” as an alibi for rape.  Hillary Clinton is a special case, too, since she is personally to blame for pretty much everything. Either she is speaking up too quickly and too frankly, as in her recent book, or she isn’t speaking up quickly or frankly enough.

 It should be obvious, however, except to the most cynical right-wingers, that the scourge of sexual harassment, abuse, and violence has nothing whatsoever to do with the former Democratic presidential nominee (aside from her efforts in the White House, the Senate, and the State Department to ameliorate its ongoing damage). This is merely the latest in a long series of false narratives about her.

Of course, Clinton has already suffered the worst and final loss of her political career. There isn’t much more that her critics in the media can do to harm her, much as they cannot let her be even now. She has heard all of this before — including last year, when Trump brazenly tried to blame her for Bill Clinton’s alleged abuses of women (for which there is much less plausible evidence than in the cases of Trump, Ailes, or Weinstein). The mainstream media colluded in that bogus gambit, too.

 So let’s stop distracting ourselves with Hillary, or the Obamas, or any other tangential figures. If the righteous pursuers of Harvey Weinstein care about the women who swear he violated them – or the millions just like them who have suffered silently for decades – then they must hold Trump answerable, too. Otherwise he will stand as a permanent symbol of impunity: the lowest character, occupying the highest office. 

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13 responses to “Sexual Harassment? Let’s Not Forget The Alpha Creep”

  1. FireBaron says:

    Oh, pulleez! Get him on the stand and let him perjure himself! I want to see the GOP members of the House crap themselves when they realize they cannot vote against his Impeachment when that was the only clause that made them vote for Clinton’s!

  2. Theodora30 says:

    I just watched a segment on Faux News decrying the fact that no one in Hollywood came forward to out Weinstein. These people really have no shame. But then I am sure those women making all that fuss had never heard anything about the rampant harassment at their own network.

    • sigrid28 says:

      All the Faux News types and any of the rest of those who wish to act surprised (surprised!) by these allegations need only turn on any television channel to discover that men are in control of the entertainment industry worldwide. That, even though more women watch television, statistically speaking, than men.

      The men in charge of Hollywood, Bollywood, and their counterparts worldwide think that the only programming the public wants to see is epic narrative, plots in which the good guy fights the bad guy and eventually wins, but only after dishing out a huge helping of gore and violence, the basis of the many police procedurals, Westerns, and superhero franchises that now dominate the airwaves and the multiplexes and have for a long time.

      How many Spiderman-Star Wars-Fast and Furious sequels, prequels, and parodies do we need? I’ll tell you: As many as the men who run the entertainment industry want to produce!

      The most cynical counter argument to my critique is this: If the little woman wants more programming for her, she should just get busy and add that to her to do list. The Harvey Weinstein scandal only highlights the truth behind the headlines, that only young, beautiful, compliant women need apply.

      Others will say, the lady of house has plenty of programming designed for her: Daytime TV, the Food Network, Hallmark Channel, shopping networks, plenty of programming for children to keep the little ones in line while she cooks and cleans. Starz cable network has set itself the task of providing what it calls “Obsessable” programming designed for women: Outlander (adapted to appeal to men), The Girlfriend Experience (about call girls), Nude (artful nude photographs of women), The White Queen and The White Princess (dumbed down historical fiction), and American Gods and Ash & Evil Dead (gore and violence). Other cable networks with less hypocrisy offer the same type of programming. All sports programming is aimed at the male audience. All well and good for men to be richly entertained. Let’s just not pretend that this programming is for women.

      Until that changes, savvy women in the United States will know who pulls the levers in Hollywood and why we are badly served.

  3. dbtheonly says:

    Weinstein is a private person. He has not run for political office nor put himself in the vortex of public scrutiny.

    Theodora has it correct. Though I’d add that Fox’s hypocrisy covers the entire spectrum.

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      Yes. Weinstein was so private that every time a woman threatened to take him to court, he privately tried to use legal lawsuits to bankrupt them. ….Privately.

      • dbtheonly says:

        First, I’d like to incorporate by reference my response to Aaron.

        Trump is President. Weinstein was a CEO. There is a huge difference in public interest. The public has a right to know of the actions of those seeking to lead the country. Others have a right to privacy.

        While you’ve been venting your wrath on Weinstein; did you notice that:

        Trump apparently is pulling the plug on Puerto Rico assistance?
        Trump has torpedoed the foundations of ObamaCare, twice?
        Trump doesn’t know he’s the President of the US Virgin Is.?
        Rick Perry thinks Puerto Rico is its own country?
        Trump, as far as I know, hasn’t said anything about the massive wildfire in California?
        Trump has, maybe, pulled out of the Iran Nuke Agreement?
        Trump has pulled the US out of UNESCO?

        I contend that the RWMO is using Weinstein to gin up your anger at him and ignoring Trump’s actions or inactions that imperil the lives and health of millions of people.

        Please don’t play their game.

    • Let’s not confuse ourselves with private or not. The big issue—the ONLY issue—is that a crime of a most egregious nature was committed. No one is beyond rebuke for such inhumane abuse.

      • dbtheonly says:

        No crime is committed until the Defendant is convicted by a Court of competent jurisdiction. Literature and history overflow with tales of the wrongly accused. There is time to condemn Mr. Weinstein if & when he’s convicted.

        I will never approve of anyone being condemned because the mob demands it. Even when that mob consists of persons I respect. Everyone is presumed innocent. Everyone is entitled to a fair and impartial trial.

        But more than that, I assert the RWMO is making much of this in an effort to deflect/distract/diminish Trump’s record of similar actions. The RWMO is setting up the Lamestream Media to run the “both sides do it” argument as if that excuses Trump’s behavior.

        Please see my response to Ms. E for the other half of my argument.

  4. Dominick Vila says:

    There is only one place for people like Weinstein, the Hollywood producer, and for his buddy Trump, of Access Hollywood fame: jail!

  5. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    Weinstein and his brother both were PUBLIC Figures. When you aspire to such heights of public visibility and glory, you make sure your persona is squeaky clean.

    When you have dirty old pig like Trump in the White House who brings a former nude porn model to his bed and then we have to endure her as a First Lady, please. That the image you want your daughters and female relatives to follow? Sell their bodies naked for bi sexual photos?

    As for Weinstein, the very best interview about him I’ve seen was on Charlie Rose who interviewed Tina Brown, CEO of Tina Brown Media. She was once one of the PR people who had to work with him for his publicity in her early days.

    What she told Rose was that Weinstein had the attitude that no one dared to expose him because like all powerful men, he would threaten lawsuits.

    Ms. Brown practically described Trump when she told Rose that if a woman dared to take offense, the first thing Weinstein did was precisely what Trump always does, threatens to bury them in lawsuits until they are bankrupt.

    When Bill Maher joked about Trump being related to an “orangeutan,” Trump got his team of crook lawyers to threaten a lawsuit for $2 million. This is how Grifters always make big bucks.

    Powerful men are NOT now nor EVER will be above the law.

  6. stsintl says:

    This is in the DNA of American culture, and then they question the modesty of women who wear hijab?

  7. “The Alpha Creep”—what a most befitting description. This phrase should become part of our daily lexicon when referring to Donald John Trump, but the shame of this behavior goes unnoticed by the majority in Congress, by FOX and its viewers, and all the other creeps who lack strength of character to speak out against Trump’s “locker-room talk”.
    (Are you listening, Rudy Giuliani??) —(Whew!)

    My sense is that the “Wheel of Fate” is turning up a notch, as a response to the centuries-old build-up of toxic personality-disorder which afflicts so many men across the globe, and for whom Donald Trump is their symbolic leader.

    Donald must never be allowed to forget this moniker, “The Alpha Creep” for as long as he walks the earth, not to mention his innumerable other descriptions which describe a man who is essentially dead. Although Donald still has electro-chemical impulses which give the illusion of being alive and able to speak(and tweet), yet he may as well be a refugee zombie from a movie like “The Walking Dead”.

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