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This Dark Legacy Of Harvey Weinstein Is Far From Over

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This Dark Legacy Of Harvey Weinstein Is Far From Over

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Reprinted with permission from Creators.

 

Here we are again, America, forced to face ourselves and wincing at our reflection.

We now know, through reporting by The New York Times and The New Yorker, that Harvey Weinstein — one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and a big-time Democratic donor — bullied, demeaned and sexually assaulted women for decades. He also reportedly threatened to destroy their lives if they told anyone.

Let’s not play fast and loose with the “we” here. Most of us didn’t know, but many — lots of those who worked with Weinstein, as well as others — surely did. For years and years, they knew. This is the classic, dangerous narrative of a powerful man licensed to be as free with his assaults as with his threats. Virtually nobody who could have stopped him did.

We’re about nine months into Donald Trump’s presidency, so it makes twisted sense, I suppose, that some of his supporters have greeted the news of Weinstein’s monstrous behavior as an invitation to indict the character of liberals.

I get it. I do. When you supported the presidential campaign of an admitted sexual predator — a man who bragged on a live mic about grabbing women’s genitals — you’re going to jump at the perceived chance to yell, “See? Liberals! They do it, too!”

When the head of your party has a loud, proud and ongoing habit of misogyny, you might pounce faster than a kitty on catnip at the chance to dredge up Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct from two decades ago.

And when you’re still supporting the president who has insisted that some of those white supremacists who brought their hate to Charlottesville are “very fine people,” you’re going to dance the happy-feet hallelujah at the mere thought of being able to change the subject.

The conservative mantra pounded out on social media: “Why isn’t (name your favorite liberal target) not denouncing Harvey Weinstein?”

And the chorus: Hillary Clinton! Where’s Hillary’s condemnation?

1) Hillary Clinton did condemn it: “I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein. The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.”

2) Is she supposed to go away or not? Somebody needs to make up their collective mind.

Speaking of minds, guilt sure can mess with them. This might explain the celebratory tone of too many Trump supporters. If your argument is that the president of the United States doesn’t look so bad compared with Harvey Weinstein, it’s time to look in the mirror and order that person staring back at you to return your soul.

This will now be the dark legacy of Weinstein, and it is far from over. Lucia Evans described to reporter Ronan Farrow her life, for more than a decade, after Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004. From Farrow’s story for The New Yorker:

“‘I just put it in a part of my brain and closed the door.’ She continued to blame herself for not fighting harder. ‘It was always my fault for not stopping him. … I had an eating problem for years. I was disgusted with myself. It’s funny, all these unrelated things I did to hurt myself because of this one thing.’ Evans told friends some of what had happened, but felt largely unable to talk about it. ‘I ruined several really good relationships because of this. My schoolwork definitely suffered, and my roommates told me to go to a therapist because they thought I was going to kill myself.'”

She told Farrow that she has nightmares about Weinstein, still.

The fear, the self-blame and guilt, the secrecy and haunting torment — this is just some of what victims of assault are up against, in every neighborhood in America. Which is why Harvey Weinstein — and the culture that protected him — is our problem, too.

Once again, airwaves are swelling with stories of how money, fame and power allowed another sexual predator to grab more money, fame and power.

That’s some life lesson our children are learning.

Are we worried yet?

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (con.schultz@yahoo.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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Connie Schultz

Connie Schultz is a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicated. Schultz won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. She has also published two books: Life Happens: And Other Unavoidable Truths -- a collection of her previously published columns -- and ...and His Lovely Wife: A Memoir from the Woman Beside the Man, which chronicled her experiences on the campaign trail with her husband, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

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2 Comments

  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth October 13, 2017

    Words are insufficient to describe the depth of darkness that exists within such a bestial creature as Weinstein. Trump, Ailes, and O’Reilley aren’t too far behind, but Harvey’s in a class with Cosby as far as sadistic pleasure they derived in humiliating and raping, while reminding the women that he was more powerful.

    There isn’t an animal in all of Creation that is as low as all of these men. When Baha’u’llah describes the depths of depravity humans are capable of descending to, and thereby putting themselves in a category beneath the animal, this says a lot about the enormity of pride such men show towards their Creator, and shows the utter ingratitude of these sexual predators for having been given the gift of existence—being brought forth out of utter nothingness into the Realm of Being.

    But Harvey stands out among the line-up of slime who are in essence the epitome of impotence and cowardice.

    Reply
  2. rhetoric_phobic October 15, 2017

    This is about power. Abuse of power. It’s the “because I can attitude”.
    Most of the guilty people are equal opportunity power abusers in terms of bullying.
    They do it to men and women. Sexual abuse is in a class by itself.
    I know all the reasons why people don’t speak up and I understand it.
    One of the problems as I see it, is normalizing rude behavior. When we say “boys will be boys”, “oh that’s just Harvey” etc, we are giving them permission for this type of behavior to continue. The first time someone touches you uninvited, look them straight in the eye and say “don’t touch me again”.
    Tell them you are OCD about being touched and after the last time you had to go through a long drawn out trial, you don’t want to have to repeat it. Say anything that will make an impression.
    If you hear something say something. Be direct. You can nip it in the bud by saying soon after meeting one of these people, I have heard rumors about you and I don’t like knowing this without asking you directly and clearing the air, otherwise I’ll always be uncomfortable in your presence.
    That way you can also let them know you aren’t victim material.
    We need to start early teaching kids how to behave and how to react to that sort of behavior. It all starts with bullying and that is also why it’s important for parents and schools to have zero tolerance policies. When it occurs treat it as an important infraction. Teaching kids not to abuse power and how not to give away your power is a life lesson that will serve them well.

    Reply

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