Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood Whataboutism

Hollywood has evidently decided that the appropriate way to deal with the black eye that is producer Harvey Weinstein is with an eraser. That’s right. An industry blog, Deadline, reports that his company, The Weinstein Company, is looking to erase Weinstein’s name from the credits of movies and television shows he produced, and the Company itself is looking to rebrand itself as “TWC.” Using the eraser instead of a magnifying glass is how Hollywood, and liberals more generally, have decided to deal with inconvenient stories, from Weinstein to Hugh Hefner.

What might a magnifying glass expose? Rampant hypocrisy among those who have spent the last two years, especially since the release of the infamous Donald Trump Access Hollywood tapes, lecturing Americans on misogyny and sexual morals. Erasing the legacy of Harvey Weinstein is a lot easier than admitting the truth: Weinstein’s proclivities were the biggest open secret in Hollywood. It was so much of an open secret, in fact, that mention of it was made five years ago on the sitcom, 30 Rock. The Daily Mail reports:

The joke was aired as part of season six, and saw Jane Krakowski’s character speaking out about how she wasn’t afraid of anyone in show business, dropping in Harvey Weinstein’s name. She said she had turned down sex with the movie mogul on three occasions—out of five according to MailOnline. ‘Oh please, I’m not afraid of anyone in show business,’ she tells Tracy Morgan’s character Tracy Jordan. ‘I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions… out of five.’

Since the bombshell New York Times report was published last week, celebrities have slowly started to share their Weinstein stories. As with Fox’s Gretchen Carlson, who accused Roger Ailes of harassment, one accusation has paved the way for the rest. Weinstein’s and Ailes’ victims were freed to speak out because the men who victimized them were no longer able to wield their power in exchange for silence. So why have the normally self-righteous writers of Saturday Night Live (SNL) been reluctant to skewer one of their own?

This shouldn’t come as a surprise; recall how, with the recent death of Hugh Hefner, Hollywood liberals were theoretically free from his influence and could be honest about his and Playboy’s legacy. Yet, while it’s generally frowned upon to speak ill of the dead, there were surprisingly few people who were willing to be frank about the impact Hefner had on American society (conservative columnist Ross Douthat of the New York Times was a notable exception). Instead, obituaries about Hefner mentioned how, after first launching Playboy magazine by publishing nude images of actress Marilyn Monroe, Hefner was laid to rest next to the blonde bombshell in the same cemetery.

There was nary a think piece from the feminist camp about the “relationship” (if you can call it that) between Monroe and Hefner. Hefner purchased the nude images of Monroe from a third party and never asked the actress for her permission before publishing them. Because he had paid for the pictures of Monroe, Hefner believed he had total ownership of them, regardless of the impact their publication might have had on the Monroe. This was Hefner’s modus operandi for the rest of his career: women were to be controlled and used for their bodies, and his profit.

Even in death, Hefner decided to use his money and power to exercise control over Monroe. After the plot next to Monroe’s grave went up for sale, Hefner decided to buy it so he could be buried next to Monroe’s eternal resting place. And so, even in death, Monroe, a woman Hefner fixated upon but had no personal relationship with, couldn’t escape this misogynist. Why can no one in Hollywood acknowledge how profoundly disturbing Hefner’s obsession with Monroe was?

After the Weinstein news broke, writer Laurie Stark remarked on Twitter:

The overwhelming response thus far from celebrities, many of whom were well aware of Weinstein’s predatory behavior before this week, has either been silence or whataboutism when it comes to President Trump’s own issues with women. Jimmy Kimmel tweeted an unedited version of the Access Hollywood tapes at Trump’s son in response to Trump, Jr.’s questions about when Kimmel would cover the Weinstein scandal on his show, and John Legend did much of the same whataboutism with Trump instead of addressing Weinstein head on.

If Americans weren’t already tired of being lectured by celebrities about morality before, they’re certainly done now. If a serial sexual predator was able to walk among them freely for decades (and not the only one or for the first time) without repercussions, it’s no wonder their cries of “But Trump!” are falling on deaf ears. Hollywood: heal thyself.

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