|Actor, Rose McGowan – accuses Weinstein of rape.|
I sign off every entry here with a line that refers to a ‘beloved film industry’ but today that’s hard to write. Following the brave statements and revelations from a small number of actresses, there is now a vast and seemingly endless stream of accusations emerging against Hollywood mammoth, Harvey Weinstein. Voices from inside the industry have repeatedly responded to the news as distressing but hardly surprising. Fired from his own company, suspended as a member of BAFTA and denounced by many of his close friends and allies, is this the tipping point or merely the tip of the iceberg? Reading through the lengthy list of individual encounters with the producer, it is baffling and deeply upsetting that not only did he cause so many women so much trauma and violation but that he managed to for decades. Meanwhile it begs the questions as to who else has gotten away with such activity through their power and position within an industry so riddled with gendered injustice and openly plagued by double standards and inequality. This feels like a critical moment for women’s rights within the American film industry, where it could go one of two very different ways. Hopefully this will bring forward other individuals who have committed the same or similar crimes – this has already started to happen with accusations against Ben Affleck and testimonies from male victims such as Terry Crews and James Van Der Beek. Meanwhile there are concerns that outrageous comments from the likes of Donna Karan raise, highlighting the on-going unfair standards and expectations we place on actresses.
Despite the positive and strong support for the victims, which includes some of Weinstein’s associates and close friends, there is still a great amount of media focus and commentary on why these women didn’t come forward earlier. Whilst the men of the industry remain largely, painfully silent, it is once again not just women, but victims of sexual assault, who are held responsible for Weinstein’s on-going actions. Although perhaps their male colleagues didn’t experience first hand the predatory behaviour of this manipulative man, there is no denying, with rumours evidently ripe in the industry and Weinstein’s behaviour clearly the elephant in the room at endless award ceremonies and events, that as many men were aware of the truth as well as the women being targeted. Although the downfall of Weinstein – the full impact of which is yet to be seen – is a positive step towards unveiling hidden truths and painful secrets, it’s important that now, more than ever, actors and industry professionals of all trades, stand together not as men and women but simply as colleagues. It’s vital to see Weinstein’s atrocities as a damaging attribute present in the industry, not just just for women in that industry. Both men and women need to come forward to denounce such acts and stand in solidarity, regardless of whether or not they have been directly affected. Now more than ever, silence is participation. As a woman working in the film industry I stand with anyone who wishes to come forward in the hope of stamping out this disgraceful, extreme and abusive power play that isn’t welcome in the cinematic landscape I love so very much.
Thanks for reading and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry by standing in solidarity with those who are victims of the unwanted sexual assault within it.