The Harvey Weinstein scandal continues to dominate the news cycle, with increasingly horrifying revelations and heartbreaking disclosures everywhere you look. Since our update yesterday, several additional actors and associates (including Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosanna Arquette, and Angelina Jolie) have divulged instances of harassment from the mogul, political donation recipients Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have condemned him, and frequent collaborators Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have disavowed him (and claimed ignorance of his acts, which has come into rather sharp dispute).
But most overwhelmingly, The New Yorker published Ronan Farrow’s deeply reported and deeply disturbing account of Weinstein’s crimes – literal crimes, including groping and rape, including a taped confession of an assault on model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, while attempting to perpetrate another. (She was wearing a wire and extracted the confession at the urging of the NYPD, but the New York district attorney’s office chose not to file charges. Weinstein allegedly donated $10,000 to the D.A.’s office shortly thereafter.)
Last night, The Weinstein Company’s Board of Representatives (all-male, natch) issued the following statement:
The Weinstein Company’s Board of Representatives – Bob Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar – are shocked and dismayed by the recently emerged allegations of extreme sexual misconduct and sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein. These alleged actions are antithetical to human decency. These allegations come as an utter surprise to the Board. Any suggestion that the Board had knowledge of this conduct is false. We are committed to assisting with our full energies in all criminal or other investigations of these alleged acts, while pursuing justice for the victims and a full and independent investigation of our own.
Read the end of that first graf again. “These allegations come as an utter surprise to the Board. Any suggestion that the Board had knowledge of this conduct is false.” Seriously, how fucking stupid do these people think we are? Decades of allegations, open-secret status in Hollywood (so much so that it was a throwaway joke at the 2013 Oscars), and at least eight payoffs of accusers, and they would have us believe that this board – which includes his own brother – was totally clueless, oh my goodness, knock us over with a feather. (And for the record, early accuser Rose McGowan has already deflated this notion.)
And they think they’ll be able to just send Harvey off to “sex addiction rehab” (as if any of this was about sex, and not power), rename the company, and carry on as if nothing happened. Something tells me that’s not gonna fly. Now, whether any of this changes the culture of the entertainment industry – or American life in general – remains to be seen.