In Weinstein case, rules for thee, but not for me

Harvey Weinstein is scum. Absolute scum.

Unfortunately for countless women in Hollywood, the public at large is just now learning of his sick, twisted perversions, even though his behavior was, according to countless people inside the industry, an “open secret.”

So why didn’t we know?

Simple. Because powerful figures in Hollywood and media intervened on Weinstein’s behalf to protect him.

Film producer Harvey Weinstein. Arthur Mola/Invision/AP

You see, in Hollywood, the chief source of smug, self-aggrandizing lectures about environmentalism, sexism, racism and every other “ism” you can conceive of, there is one set of rules for the little people in the middle of the country, and there is quite another for the delicate geniuses who say all the right things and are loved by all the right people.

Indeed, Hollywood and the coastal elites in media and academia are the first people to shout “hypocrite!” as they gleefully point a finger of ridicule at a congressman that espouses family values who gets caught for cheating on his wife (and worse), or a religious figure who preaches of moral judgments about homosexuals who later gets embroiled in a same-sex imbroglio.

But that (very correct) aversion to hypocrisy ends when it hits too close to home, with issues they care about and with the beautiful people they revere, whose “artistic genius” absolves them of criticism.

Ergo their continued devotion to monsters like Woody Allen and Roman Polanski.

Hollywood and media elites have been busy for days declaring that it was not, in fact, an open secret, and they simply had no idea it was happening. All of them are quick to point out, though, that if only they had known, they would have sprung into action and done something about it. Such bravery!

They are simply not credible, and should not be believed.

The sheer volume of women — nearly 30 so far — that have come out in the last week, and their harrowing stories mean that a lot of people knew. Weinstein engaged in at least eight settlements with various women over the years, according to the New York Times.

Not going to police or talking on record to the media is one thing, but these people talked to those close to them. And if there is one thing Hollywood loves to do, it is gossip.

Indeed, one of the most explosive stories written about Weinstein and his victims was penned after a more than 10-month investigation by Ronan Farrow — ironically the son of the equally repugnant Woody Allen — who said outright that “for more than twenty years, Weinstein has also been trailed by rumors of sexual harassment and assault.”

People knew.

The New York Times was quick to throw an accusatory glare at the “media enablers” that killed any opportunity to investigate the story. Jim Rutenberg’s story took the media to task say that “no journalistic outfit had been able, or perhaps willing, to nail the details and hit publish.”

Sadly, the Times itself appears to be one of those enablers. In a bristling piece for The Wrap, former New York Times reporter Sharon Waxman claims that in 2004 she had the story, but that her story was ultimately squashed by her editors. She claims that it was killed “after intense pressure from Weinstein” including a visit to the newsroom to make his displeasure known, as well as phone calls pressuring her to drop it from Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Both Damon and Affleck now claim they knew nothing of the accusations against Weinstein, and didn’t pressure the Times to drop the story. Actress Rose McGowan, who is one of the women who was abused by Weinstein is uninterested in Damon and Affleck’s denials, outright saying that Affleck in particular not only knew, but said to her face that he had “told him to stop doing that.”

NBC also appears to have bowed to the pressure to protect Weinstein, declining Farrow’s piece, ultimately forcing him to turn to a media rival, the New Yorker, to publish his work. NBC is being rightly savaged for this.

The point ultimately is, people knew. None of these victims can be faulted for failing to speak out and challenge Weinstein. It is the nature of the power dynamics involved that they can be bullied and threatened into silence.

But it wasn’t just the victims who knew what this man was doing, and yet this man’s enablers in Hollywood, media and politics protected him. Protected by the very people who climb in the highest of ivory towers, lecturing the world about their moral superiority, and everyone else’s shortcomings.

Turns out in the end, they’re just as rotten as the rest of us.

Matthew Gagnon

About Matthew Gagnon

Matthew Gagnon, of Yarmouth, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. Prior to Maine Heritage, he served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hampden, he has been involved with Maine politics for more than a decade.