Several days ago, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd devoted a column to Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood’s long history of Weinstein-esque behavior. It was called “Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood’s Oldest Horror Story.” Dowd didn’t break any news in the column (obviously), and she was just editorializing about what Weinstein meant and what he did. Within the column, there was this assessment:
Some who were importuned or pawed, like Angelina Jolie, stalked away and told studio executives that she would never work with the pestilent mogul. Others whom Weinstein asked to give him a massage in his hotel suite refused but continued to collaborate, like Gwyneth Paltrow, who put aside qualms to become ‘the first lady of Miramax.’
Which is pretty harsh. Once again, people find a way to blame Weinstein’s victims for his behavior. The questioning of victims’ motives: what were you wearing, why did you go to his hotel room, why didn’t you leave at that point, why did you continue to work with him? How about this: why did he harass and assault dozens – if not hundreds – of women for three decades? Well, Gwyneth’s mother Blythe Danner is firing back at Dowd:
Blythe Danner has her daughter’s back. The 74-year-old actress wrote in to The New York Times this week after columnist Maureen Dowd called out Gwyneth Paltrow for continuing to work with Harvey Weinstein — and ultimately winning an Oscar for her role in Shakespeare in Love, the movie he produced — after he allegedly sexually harassed her.
“I cannot remain silent while Maureen Dowd disparages my daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow, for the manner in which she chose to handle Harvey Weinstein’s attempt at a sexual encounter when she was 22,” Danner wrote in response to the columnist’s remarks. “Gwyneth did not ‘put aside her qualms to become ‘the first lady of Miramax’ back then,’ as Ms. Dowd would have it. She continued to hold her own and insist that Mr. Weinstein treat her with respect. She had learned from her father, the producer and director Bruce Paltrow, how to stand up for herself. Bruce received the first Diversity Award from the Directors Guild for helping women and minorities in our business. His daughter wasn’t the only woman he taught to fight for herself.”
The 74-year-old actress ended her letter with hopes for changes within Hollywood, as well as a call for the media to stop shaming the accusers.
“As a longstanding member of the industry, I am much aware of the many years of its prejudiced and unacceptable behavior toward women,” Danner added. “No one would argue that Harvey Weinstein isn’t finally getting what he deserves. But I hope that this is the point of no return where change will occur, not only in our industry but also others. I suggest that the pundits stop casting aspersions on the women who have confronted unwanted sexual advances in the manner each sees fit and concentrate on the constructive ways to prevent this behavior in the future.”
Yeah, I agree. While I rarely (if ever) defend Gwyneth about anything, what could she do? She was 22 years old, just starting out, and she thought of Weinstein like a family friend and mentor. Her actions or inactions should not be under the microscope, and she should not be labeled as “complicit” or a “colluder” just because she was victimized and trying to do the best she could.
Photos courtesy of Getty.