The horrifying, seemingly never-ending revelations about alleged sexual abuses longtime Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein have raised a lot of troubling questions about who knew how much about Weinstein’s activities, and when. Directors who have worked extensively with Weinstein, such as Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith, have been made to answer for any knowledge they may have had about what Weinstein was doing, as have actors and even some politicians who received the mogul’s political donations.
Then there is the matter of those who worked directly for Weinstein, both at Miramax Films and later at the Weinstein Company. The reporting on Weinstein, including by The New York Times and The New Yorker, has referred repeatedly to female assistants who conspired to leave Weinstein alone with various actresses, while the Weinstein Company itself reportedly had language in Weinstein’s contracts that essentially allowed him to commit sexual harassment without being fired. Now, employees of the company have weighed in.
In a statement published Thursday on the website of The New Yorker, “select members of the Weinstein Company staff” address the scandal. In the statement the employees, none of whom use their names or indicate how many of them are contributors to the letter, express sympathy for Weinstein’s accusers. They also state that, while they were aware of Weinstein’s various negative qualities, including aggression, ambition, and even his reputation for womanizing, they did not know of his alleged crimes -- and vow that none of the signatories were ever among the Weinstein assistants who actively abetted the alleged assaults.
According to the letter:
"We all knew that we were working for a man with an infamous temper. We did not know we were working for a serial sexual predator. We knew that our boss could be manipulative. We did not know that he used his power to systematically assault and silence women. We had an idea that he was a womanizer who had extra-marital affairs. We did not know he was a violent aggressor and alleged rapist.
But to say that we are shocked and surprised only makes us part of the problem."
In this letter, the employees -- who acknowledge that the letter itself breaches their NDA agreements and ask to be released from them -- say many of the right things, declaring their support for Weinstein’s accusers and even acknowledging that “Harvey Weinstein is far from the only sociopathic bully we’ve exalted over the years.”
But therein lies the huge contradiction. If you worked for or even followed the career of Harvey Weinstein over the years, you may not have known that he (allegedly) abused women. But his negative reputation has been public record for years, if not decades. All of that behavior was of a piece with the abuse and allowed it to continue. For the employees to take this step now is admirable. But it's also way too late.
Source: The New Yorker