Harvey Weinstein is a defining figure in Hollywood so the accusations have taken the public by surprise
Yorba Linda High School

Column: The double life of Harvey Weinstein

Film producer, studio executive, founder of Miramax, and sexual predator. A series of statements was released accusing one of Hollywood’s biggest names, Harvey Weinstein, of sexually harassing women for years. Despite the allegations only coming out during early October, incidents of harassment and assault have accumulated for nearly three decades. His era of inappropriate behavior to starlets, employees, and subordinates in the Hollywood realm has come to an end now that victims are finally breaking their silence.

For years Weinstein has been known as a defining figure in pop culture. He has won six Best Picture Oscars and his company has produced cinematic masterpieces such as “Good Will Hunting” and “Pulp Fiction.”

To the public he portrays himself as a successful liberal humanitarian, distributing work such as “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary about sexual assaults on college campuses (The New York Times). His participation in the project is ironic due to his dark secrets behind the scenes. Weinstein has been allegedly sexually harassing and assaulting women throughout his career.

And victims are finally feeling empowered to reveal their long-held secret and shame. British actress, Lysette Anthony revealed how she was raped by the American producer in the 80’s (The Guardian). She told the Sunday Times that the attack left her feeling, “disgusted and embarrassed.”

Prominent actresses like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow are also exposing how Weinstein harassed them while they were still up and coming stars.

With at least 30 women claiming they were victimized over the course of nearly three decades, the question is, why are these allegations only coming out now?

The New York Times reveals that many of Weinstein’s victims were silenced by money or fear. He has reportedly reached eight settlements with various accusers, according to the The New York Times. Other victims were showered with gifts or made promises of assistance in building their careers and climbing the Hollywood social ladder. Yet many of the women he assaulted and harassed kept quiet in fear of what speaking out against a cultural icon could do their budding careers. Yet with some of his victims having become established actresses have gained the confidence to finally address their experiences with the studio executive. Actresses like Jolie speaking out has helped encourage other victims to publicly reveal their encounters with Weinstein.

The controversy has become the center of attention. Everyone from talk show hosts to fashion royalty have spoken out about the scandal. Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, discussed her disdain for his behavior saying it was “appalling and unacceptable” but also her admiration for the courageous victims who came forward (The New York Times).

While many in Hollywood share Wintour’s opinion, others such as Donna Karen defend the producer. The high-end fashion designer claimed that women are asking for it by exposing their sensuality through their clothing, according to The Washington Post.

For her statements of support she has faced major backlash, many celebrities and average people are boycotting any Donna Karan products.

A few Yorba Linda High School students have addressed the situation with disgust for not only Weinstein, but also those defending him. The scandal has evidently sparked a dialogue in communities across the globe.

Weinstein has denied all allegations stating that any acts were completely consensual, according to The Guardian. Regardless of his statement, Weinstein’s legacy will forever be associated with this scandal and his downfall will overshadow his success.

As the Los Angeles Times puts it, “Harvey Weinstein went from power player to pariah in less than a week.”

Photo Courtesy of CNN Money