Disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein is finally on trial for sexual assault and rape charges, and Hollywood wants us to know they’re horrified – despite years of quietly letting Weinstein prey on women, and even joking about it.
Jury selection for Weinstein’s trial has begun, and all eyes were on the one-time Hollywood titan as he hobbled into court on Monday, seemingly trying to look older than his 67 years. Over 100 women have gone on the record accusing him of varying levels of sexual impropriety, from unwanted advances to rape.
Hundreds more, however, remained silent while he was allegedly preying on these women, even though Weinstein’s behavior was one of the biggest “open secrets” in the industry. When Weinstein was finally indicted on five felony counts of sexual assault and rape in 2018 in New York, the number of previously silent boldface names who admitted they had “heard stories” of the megaproducer’s “inappropriate” behavior was almost comical. Most in Hollywood expressed relief that he was finally being held to account, but some continued to plead ignorance or even praise the mogul, especially actors whose careers he’d launched or aided.
Award-winning actors Meryl Streep and Matt Damon both insisted they hadn’t known about his casting couch antics, though Damon himself was accused of helping to kill a story exposing Weinstein’s predation. Filmmaker Michael Moore called Weinstein “one of the best people to work with” in Hollywood in 2015; two years later, he wasn’t just acting shocked at Weinstein’s sexual improprieties, but demanding the industry introduce gender quotas on its boards to forestall future Weinsteins.
Widespread awareness that Weinstein was hurting women didn’t stop anyone from working with him during the height of his career, so long as that awareness remained confined to the industry
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