TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual Assault
On Thursday October 5, the “New York Times” published a story detailing allegations of sexual assaults against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Many women have come forward with their stories, and, as a result, Weinstein has stepped down from his position as head of The Weinstein Company.
As one of the mightiest falls, many other stories are coming to light alleging similar incidents with other heavy hitters in entertainment, including Kevin Spacey, Louis CK and Brett Ratner.
The backlash has been swift as the kingdoms of the accused are crumbling around them. It will, however, mean nothing without a change in the culture Hollywood calls its foundation.
Those like Weinstein inhabit a position of power — one that allows him to be the force that makes or breaks an actor’s career. As an extremely well-established producer he has influence over a star’s career even those who are well established themselves. Women feel that, because of his status, in order to stay relevant and in good standing, they have to bend to his will.
In turn, his victims are left feeling guilty, ashamed and that the actions taken are their fault, ultimately robbing them the willpower to voice their grievances.
Weinstein’s influence has made it impossible to make a claim against the producer and be taken seriously. Even well-respected members of the Hollywood community, like director Quentin Tarantino, have admitted to knowledge of Weinstein’s activities and to their own inaction.
Movements like “#metoo” that made its way through social media are a step in the right direction. Hollywood has failed to create an environment in which the victimized can speak up without risking career suicide. “#metoo” aimed to break the silence by unifying victims of sexual assault and publicly creating a space where one could share their story, or just show support.
Stars like Terry Crews and James Van Der Beek are trying to show that sexual assault can happen to anyone in Hollywood, even to a man, and even to someone with as strong and masculine a persona as Crews.
The only way to turn all of this hurt into something good is if it allows the underrepresented in Hollywood to have their voices back. If we aren’t demolishing barriers and building a dialogue, then recent events are nothing more than a witch hunt of the perverts.