Politics and show business seem like two sides of the same coin. Both filled with scandals, power struggle, hypocrisy, lies, deception and sex offenders. While there’s a lot to gain from both of these sectors, there is, sadly, also a lot of disgrace that is just too disturbing for our sanity.
I’ve been in the entertainment industry for as long as I can remember and yet it still shakes me to the core whenever I hear horror stories resulting from the series of malady I have just mentioned. I wasn’t surprised when I learned about the sexual harassment and assault grievances that women (both actresses and employees alike) have been throwing at Harvey Weinstein, who by the way, is the co-founder of the production-and-distribution companies Miramax and the Weinstein Company, that helped to reinvent the model for independent films, with movies such as “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “The English Patient,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Crying Game,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “The King’s Speech.”
I was not surprised because I’ve heard stories and witnesses talk about how dirty show business can be. What shocks me is why we haven’t done anything about it for years.
It was reported that for more than twenty years, Weinstein has been trailed by rumors of sexual harassment and assault. In fact, they say, it has been an open secret in Hollywood and beyond. There were attempts to investigate and expose the misdemeanor but because too few people were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, it was buried like it never happened.
Now here we are. And finally, women have been coming out to speak about the sexual advances and harassment that this man did.
Amidst these allegations, according to The New Yorker, “On October 5th, in an initial effort at damage control, Weinstein responded to the Times piece by issuing a statement partly acknowledging what he had done, saying, ‘I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.’ In an interview with the New York Post, he said, ‘I’ve got to deal with my personality, I’ve got to work on my temper, I have got to dig deep. I know a lot of people would like me to go into a facility, and I may well just do that—I will go anywhere I can learn more about myself.’ Weinstein went on.
But before we get into how “sorry” Weinstein really is, let’s go back to the number of stories (complaints) that have been going around as more and more women are starting to speak up.
Many of the stories bear similarities: Weinstein would arrange a hotel meet-up under the guise of business, he would request a massage, make intimidating sexual advances or masturbate in front of his subject.
According to New York Times, the following incidents took place:
Actress Ashley Judd recalled a hotel breakfast meeting with Weinstein while shooting Kiss the Girls. Mr. Weinstein soon issued invitation after invitation, she said. Could he give her a massage? When she refused, he suggested a shoulder rub. She rejected that too, she recalled. He steered her toward a closet, asking her to help pick out his clothing for the day, and then toward the bathroom. Would she watch him take a shower? she remembered him saying.
In 1997, Weinstein reached a settlement with actress Rose McGowan. The $100,000 settlement was “not to be construed as an admission” by Mr. Weinstein, but intended to “avoid litigation and buy peace,” according to the legal document, which was reviewed by The Times.
Gwyneth Paltrow said Weinstein sexually harassed her when she was 22 years old filming Emma. “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” she said in an interview, publicly disclosing that she was sexually harassed by the man who ignited her career and later helped her win an Academy Award.
Angelina Jolie recalled Weinstein making sexual advances in a hotel room.
On another outlet, The New Yorker, the following were also reported:
Italian actress Lucia Stoller (who now goes by Lucia Evans) said Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex during an office meeting.
“At that point, after that, is when he assaulted me,” Evans said. “He forced me to perform oral sex on him.” As she objected, Weinstein took his penis out of his pants and pulled her head down onto it. “I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t,’” she said. “I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him.” In the end, she said, “He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.”
A few more have recently come out with their sickening stories of sexual advances from Weinstein. Among them were Heather Graham, Cara Delevingne and Kate Beckinsale who said that Weinstein offered her alcohol in his hotel room when she was 17 and that she repeatedly declined his sexual advances over the years.
Five days after the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal exploded, the movie producer’s wife announced she’s leaving him.
“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,” Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman told People in a statement. The split was separately confirmed by Us Weekly.
So what can we learn from this nightmare? How do we avoid it? I honestly don’t know how women have endured such behavior but it’s about time we make a stand. Sexual harassment is everywhere and part of it is because, we are so afraid to call it out. Whether it’s our fear of our lives being threatened or our reputations ruined, or even our careers. While all of these are valid, we have to understand that if we let abusive people continue on while we sit in the corner paralyzed in fear, we are participating in their evildoings one way or another. It’s time we put an end to this and if there’s one thing we can take away from all this, it’s that.
In closing I sincerely hope that justice will be served and that Weinstein will truly learn from this and prove that he’s worth the second chance he is asking for.
Monet Lu is a Marikina-born, award-winning celebrity beauty stylist with his own chain of Monet Salon salons across Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Ultimately, Monet is known as an all-around artiste who produces sold-out fashion and awards shows as well as unforgettable marketing campaigns. Monet is also the founder of the revolutionary all-natural beauty products such as Enlighten, your solution to discoloration . To contact Monet, please visit www.monetsalon.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org