Amidst a bombshell report in the New York Times outlining decades of sexual harassment accusations against Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein, the producer has spoken.
In a bizarre and tangent-prone statement that’s becoming hallmark for his “tutor” attorney Lisa Bloom’s clients (see: Kathy Griffin press conference), Weinstein managed to: blame his behavior on the times in which he “came of age”; announce he’s taking a very convenient “leave of absence” from his company; quote a Jay Z lyric; throw in for good measure his new scholarship foundation for women directors; and joke about putting the NRA and Donald Trump out of business.
If Weinstein thinks that releasing this pathetic statement and taking a vacation to “work on himself” will be the end of this, he’s sorely mistaken. These things have a way of killing careers — just ask Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and Bill Cosby.
Whether Weinstein, often described as the most powerful man in Hollywood, can do a better job surviving the wave of accusations and grotesque stories we are sure to hear more about in coming weeks remains to be seen.
He has a lot of explaining to do. But so do the women of Hollywood.
I’m not talking about his alleged victims. They have been through enough and will hopefully be able to one day heal through these accusations at long last coming to light.
I’m talking about the women we see on our silver screens, on our televisions and in our Twitter feeds.
Many campaigned for Hillary Clinton and marched on Washington in protest of Donald Trump’s win. Many are outspoken advocates for equal pay and abortion rights. Many claim to be feminists who constantly attack Republicans for what they say are misogynistic policies and sexist attitudes toward women.
What will they say? And why didn’t they say it sooner?
These stories about Weinstein have circulated for decades. I’m not in Hollywood, and even I’d heard them. As one employee wrote in a letter addressed to several executives at his company, “There is a toxic environment for women at this company.”
Weinstein has reached as many as eight settlements with women over sexual harassment allegations. His sexual demands and inexcusable behavior was practically an open secret.
But it was apparently one that was tolerated, presumably by the some of the same famous women who demanded Ailes’ and O’Reilly’s ouster, and who call President Trump — rightly at times — sexist and anti-woman. This falls a little more flat knowing one of the worst offenders was in their own backyard. He was someone they schmoozed at parties and begged for roles. They turned a blind eye to the same behavior for which they excoriated Republican men for decades.
Where was the courage? Why did the women of Hollywood protect a serial sexual harasser who treated women so horrifically for so long? How could they, with straight faces, self-righteously march against Trump, criticize his wife and daughter for “enabling” him, all the while embracing Weinstein, showering him with awards, and honoring him at galas?
When Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, two stars of the ultimate girl power movie “9 to 5,” joked at the last Emmys that they “refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” — Donald Trump — the line got a big laugh in the room, obviously. Because throwing punches at your political enemy, when he’s the common political enemy of everyone else there, is easy and requires no courage at all.
Now we’ll see which women in Hollywood mean what they say, and who, if any, will give Weinstein the same treatment they give Trump.
Contact Cupp at thesecupp.com.
This column first appeared in the New York Daily News.
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