Men are finally speaking about Harvey Weinstein. I tend to feel the same way about “the men” as I do about the women – no one is required to speak out about Harvey Weinstein, but I understand why someone who has had professional dealings with him would want to go on the record, especially if they’re going to condemn his actions. The problem was that there was too much conversation about how Harvey’s so-called “girls” needed to speak, and too little conversation about how Harvey’s so-called “boys” needed to speak. Women are not responsible for Harvey Weinstein and when women speak, they are speaking from outside the patriarchal systems that run Hollywood and the world, which is the same system that allowed Weinstein to hunt for victims. When men speak, they are speaking from within the patriarchal system that protects and nurtures them. So what are the men saying? Mostly boilerplate.
Leo DiCaprio: “There is no excuse for sexual harassment or sexual assault — no matter who you are and no matter what profession. I applaud the strength and courage of the women who came forward and made their voices heard.”
Colin Firth: “It’s with a feeling of nausea that I read what was going on while I was benefiting from Harvey Weinstein’s support. He was a powerful and frightening man to stand up to. It must have been terrifying for these women to step up and call him out. And horrifying to be subjected to that kind of harassment. I applaud their courage. By coming forward they’ve provided a jolting wake up throughout our industry. I hope it’s going to be a help to others, both in our own industry and elsewhere.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger: “Harvey Weinstein’s reported behavior is abhorrent and unacceptable, and it has no place in our society.”
Michael Eisner: “Fired Weinsteins because they were irresponsible, and Harvey was an incorrigible bully. Had no idea he was capable of these horrible actions.”
Jeffrey Katzenberg. Katzenberg was one of the power brokers who got an email from Harvey Weinstein last week, as the stories began to break. JK tells THR that he was floored by Harvey’s request that powerful men come to his side and back him up. JK sent him an email back, and Katzenberg gave the email to THR to publish in full – go here to read.
Director Ryan Coogler: You can read his full statement here. He says, in part: “I am disturbed and saddened at the news that several women have been victimized by a person I had come to know through the purchase of my first feature film. While I had no further business dealings with Harvey Weinstein, and no knowledge of this predatory behavior, my career did benefit from this brief involvement….I work in an industry that too many times has proven to not be a safe space for women. I make it a priority to ensure that there is gender equity and an inclusive work environment on every project I am involved with. However, just minding our business sometimes isn’t enough. It goes without saying, but I will state it now: Sexual harassment is a human rights violation, sexual assault is a human rights violation, rape is a human rights violation….As men we sit in positions of privilege. It is our responsibility to leverage our position, and be allies to the women in our industry. We need to do everything we can to make sure violations like these don’t continue to happen. The first step is to listen. Salute to the brave women who came forward. I could never imagine how difficult that must be.”
The only one that really seems authentic to me is Ryan Coogler, honestly. Coogler isn’t one of the most powerful writer-directors in Hollywood, and his professional experience with Weinstein was probably quite limited. I guess I believe Colin Firth, in that I believe he’s genuinely horrified that this man who nurtured his career for years was also abusing women during those same years. I want to believe Firth had no idea, but we’ll see. As for the others…it’s a bit rich to see Iger and Eisner sharpening their knives, just as it’s sort of odd to see Leonardo DiCaprio try to feign some sense of feminist outrage. Oh well. They tried.
Still no statements from Quentin Tarantino, David O Russell (LOL), Michael Moore, Ewan McGregor and a lot more.
Photos courtesy of WENN.