On October 5, the New York Times published an investigation revealing sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein dating back to 1990. Multiple female actresses such as Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan went on record regarding the allegations. On October 8, he was fired from his own company.
This was followed by the New Yorker on October 10, with another investigation revealing multiple accusations of more sexual harassment and rape. On the same date, actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie also came out with accounts of sexual harassment by Mr. Weinstein. No charges have been filed. But police in London and New York are investigating some of the accusations.
The so-called casting couch has been a tale as old as Hollywood, but the effects of this later iteration are reaching far and wide to even hit here in Quebec, Canada.
On October 18, La Presse denounced counts of sexual misconduct by radio host and producer Eric Salvail by 11 victims both male and female.
On October 19, Le Devoir published accounts by nine women in the entertainment industry of sexual harassment and assault perpetrated by Gilbert Rozon, president and founder of the Just For Laughs festival. He was also the commissioner for the Society for the Celebration of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary. Le Devoir reached Mr. Rozon for comment days in advance, but he preferred to wait for the article to come out. The day before the publication, he announced he was quitting all his public positions through a Facebook post.
It’s an old story, but is it over? No. Hollywood’s old institutions are now taking action, but there seems to be a stronger focus from them to separate and sever ties with Harvey Weinstein than anything else. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences expelled him on October 14 but keeps Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Mel Gibson and Bill Cosby in its ranks.
For a new story to be told, not only are victims supposed to come forward but the institutions must recognized they’ve got to actively prevent this toxic macho chauvinistic behaviour.
For the nice guys out there, remember that being nice to a woman entitles you to nothing. You’re supposed to be nice, end of story. Being nice is not an exchange coin to trade for favors.
It also befall on us men to call it out and stomp it out. Silence and fear of reprisal not only kept victims from speaking out, it kept friends and employees surrounding Weinstein from warning and denouncing these abuses. For men, it’s not enough not to never participate in toxic male behavior. We need to call it out where we see it.
That means that to finish this sordid tale, everything needs to come out. We can no longer remain silent about the powerful figures we know that abuse the power they have. Once this is a story that no longer happens, then we can stop telling it.
That will do for now.
(Sources: New York Times, New Yorker, La Presse, Le Devoir)