In the era of Donald Trump’s Twitter rampages, global crises and mass shootings, few stories are shocking enough to take over every media outlet and consume the American conscience. This week, a story was big enough to break through the clutter of current events and captivate the public. Unfortunately, this is not a positive accomplishment. Famed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault, rape, and the strategic manipulation and blackmail of dozens of women and previous employees. Harvey Weinstein’s story is one of a powerful man taking advantage of his status to prey upon those aspiring to make their way in an impossible industry. What is different about this story than many others, though, is that a colossal amount of new information seems to be released every day. The Harvey Weinstein story is one of the biggest and best kept scandals in recent history—until now.
Over 30 women, some well-known in Hollywood and some unknown, have come forward to talk about their encounters with Weinstein. No two stories are alike, and his strategic coercion of the helpless as well as brutal retaliation against those who did not give into him span far and across generations of women. Among the women to come forward are Ashley Judd, Cara Delevingne, Lauren Sivan, Kate Beckinsale, Angelina Jolie, and Tara Subkoff among many others.
One facet of this scandal that has been of interest to the social media world is Rose McGowan’s Twitter account being shut down in the midst of her speaking out against Weinstein. McGowan reached a $100,000 settlement in 1997 from Weinstein and took to Twitter to condemn him and advocate for those speaking out. Her Twitter account was shut down due to a rules violation, and it was later revealed that she had someone’s private phone number in a tweet, which ‘compromised the privacy of the individual.’ When McGowan’s Twitter account was shut down, there was severe public backlash, and many accused Twitter of being on the ‘wrong side’ of a one-sided controversy. Many also pointed out how strict the platform was to enforce the rules while McGowan spoke against Weinstein while the platform has done nothing to halt Donald Trump utilizing the platform to threaten nuclear war. Twitter’s response to these accusations is that Trump’s tweets are newsworthy and of interest to the public.
Amazon is the latest company under fire in association with the Weinstein scandal. Rosie McGowan (via Twitter) called out Amazon in a Tweet saying, “@jeffbezos I am calling on you to stop funding rapists, alleged pedos and sexual harassers. I love @amazon but there is rot in Hollywood.” McGowan states that she told the head of Amazon Studios, Roy Price, that Weinstein raped her when she found out the producer had been enlisted to help produce a script she had sold to Amazon. Price responded that it hadn’t been proven. In addition to his refusal to take action on her rape allegations, McGowan states that Price also made inappropriate comments towards her. All of this has resulted on Price being put on a leave of absence effective immediately.
Weinstein was one of the most prominent people in the Hollywood film industry, and his name was sure to go down as one of the most powerful and prolific producers in history. Weinstein’s ability to strategically maneuver the press, hundreds of employees and aspiring actresses, as well as some of the biggest companies in the world into strategically lying to suppress a widely known truth, is not only shocking, it exposes how much power the elite truly have. It is easy as an outsider to wonder how Weinstein could have gotten away with this for so long despite how widespread and acknowledged his tendencies were within the industry. This goes to show how much more work we as a society have left to do when it comes to holding sexual predators accountable for their actions, even if they are powerful.