Forget Harvey Weinstein, remember his movies
Charlie Kenney | Thursday, October 12, 2017
The sexual assault and rape allegations that have come out against Harvey Weinstein are egregious and inexcusable. No two ways around it.
The number of victims is too great, the elements of the stories from the different women who have come forward are too similar and the nature of the assaults is too disgusting and too criminal to excuse in any way. Yes, Mr. Weinstein may not be convicted yet, and he may have unequivocally denied, “any allegations of non-consensual sex,” but by no means is he innocent until proven guilty. Audiotapes, confessions from former employees and multiple investigative articles prove Mr. Weinstein’s guilt — a jury doesn’t have to.
Mr. Weinstein has stepped in line behind numerous other powerful men in Hollywood who have been accused, and in some cases convicted, of harassment, assault, rape and other sexually-based offenses. Roman Polanski, Casey Affleck, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen and others have all been confronted by allegations that they definitively or allegedly used their status to sexually assault and manipulate women. The entertainment industry is an industry that has an incredibly apparent issue with sexual assault and one that needs to be directly addressed instead of being brushed under the carpet yet again. Headlines with names of old men, young women and sexual assault can’t be allowed to continue to bombard our newspapers and websites.
All of the men who have preceded Mr. Weinstein in these crimes have not only had their reputations damaged by their actions, but also their art. Woody Allen’s timeless comedies have been boycotted by numerous groups, women’s groups have attempted to shut down award shows over their involvement with Roman Polanski and Casey Affleck received a barrage of hatred during his illustrious award season campaign for “Manchester by the Sea.” People have chosen to abandon classic and critically acclaimed films in exchange for solidarity with the victims of their stars and for personal belief. They are often right in doing so. A film can become a pathetic shadow of its former self when allegations or convictions of sexual assault are brought against its creators.
With, Weinstein, however, the case is slightly different. Weinstein is not a director, an actor or a cinematographer; he is a producer. He buys the rights to films, selects the casts, handpicks the directors and essentially makes sure the movie gets made. He has been tremendously involved in movies for nearly the past 30 years, but to say that he makes films or that he is the creative force that brings them into being would be a bit of a stretch. This is where the problem arises.
Political activists, cinephiles and women’s rights advocates everywhere already have and will condemn movies produced by Mr. Weinstein’s two companies, Miramax and The Weinstein Company. It’s protocol in this type of situation: A man in Hollywood gets accused of sexual assault and his movies get condemned, losing their luster.
If you boycott movies produced by Miramax and The Weinstein Company, however, you boycott all of the directors that envisioned those movies, all of the screenwriters that dreamt them up, all of the actors and actresses that brought them to life and every member of the post-production team that put them on the screen. Boycotting Weinstein movies is also boycotting the movies of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged victims, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosanna Arquette and Angelina Jolie; it is boycotting the films of Quentin Tarantino that empower females and minorities in an overly white-washed and male-centric Hollywood; and it is boycotting the production companies of six Oscar best picture winners including “Shakespeare in Love,” “The King’s Speech” and “No Country for Old Men.” Condemning the films of Mr. Weinstein is condemning the beautiful work of hundreds of other people, who would and have denounced their former producer’s actions.
Harvey Weinstein’s actions, if true, are unforgivable and undoubtedly will leave an irremovable scar on the entertainment industry. Change needs to occur in the entertainment industry, and this incident is just another reminder of that. Diversity needs to increase in every sector of the industry, sexual assault needs to stop going unpunished and power needs to stop being used as a means of manipulation. Film is a beautiful art, one that should be free of the vices that seem to be embraced in so many other parts of America, but it isn’t — not yet at least.
One way we can embrace the beauty that has been created in film and hopefully move forward, however, is by watching Miramax and The Weinstein Company’s films — watching them for everyone but their producer. The films show what beautiful things the Hollywood system can produce, and can hopefully produce in the future without a producer like Mr. Weinstein.
Hate Harvey Weinstein, hate him as much as you want, but watch the movies he was able to make happen and love them if you want to.