By Madina Safdari
On Thursday October 5, The New York Times published an article that exposed countless allegations of sexual harassment and assault directed towards Harvey Weinstein, a well-known Hollywood producer. Some of these accusations go back almost 30 years and have been brought to light through emails, interviews with employees, and legal records from the Weinstein Company itself.
The release of the article included, among others, detailed testimonies from actresses Ashley Judd and Emily Nestor, whose encounters occurred about 20 years apart. More victims preceded to release similar statements, such as actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, who shared their own harrowing experiences with Weinstein.
Over the course of the past week, a total of 34 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault, and that number is likely to increase. Many of their allegations are similar in that they included Weinstein holding meetings in private rooms to try to coerce women into participating in naked massages or sexually assaulting them.
For the most part, the women were young and new to the acting world, which Weinstein used to his advantage. According to multiple allegations, Weinstein threatened the actresses with the loss of their jobs and stated they would not be successful in Hollywood without his help.
In light of these events, many people have shown their true colors when it comes to sexual harassment in Hollywood. In a show of solidarity, for example, actor Terry Crews shared his own experience on Twitter with sexual harassment in Hollywood.
Actress Brie Larson also showed support for the women on Twitter, along with Megan Ellison, the founder of Annapurna Pictures. While many supported the victims for their courage and bravery, they also criticized the complacency that often comes with sexual harassment in Hollywood.
Lisa Bloom, a lawyer who formerly advised Weinstein, stated in Weinstein’s defense that he is “an old dinosaur learning new ways.” In response to this statement in defense of Weinstein, director Judd Apatow tweeted, “The 70’s were 37 years ago. You are blaming growing up in the 70’s? You haven’t picked up anything since then?”
In addition to the backlash Weinstein received, his wife of 10 years, Georgina Chapman has decided to divorce him in light of the allegations.
“My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions. I have chosen to leave my husband. Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time,” Chapman said in her statement to People Magazine.
Weinstein was also fired from his own film company and has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy not only condemns the situation concerning Weinstein, but also wanted to make a statement about the way sexual harassment is treated in Hollywood.
“We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over,” the Academy Board said in a statement.