And the Harvey Goes to . . .

So unless you have been away from civilization, the internet, the news, the radio and the watercooler, you probably have heard about Harvey Weinstein. Now I’m usually pretty careful about forming opinions in the first month for reason’s I’ve noted in the past, but the number of accusations (now over forty) of sexual harassment and even a few about sexual assaults (along with an audiotape by the NYPD) makes it hard to believe he is not guilty of serious indiscretions, even if some of the specific accusations may be false. It seems to me, though, this shows something about where we are as a society, or rather, the hypocrisy of the spectacle. This isn’t exactly new; rumors of the casting couch and sexual misdeeds and assaults are very old in the industry, going back to Louis B Mayer, Harry Cohn, Darryl Zanuck, and Howard Hughes, all major studio heads during Hollywood’s golden age.

What is new is the outcry and the response from within the industry; Barbara Walters blew off the accusations of Corey Feldman about Hollywood being full of sexual predators who preyed on child actors,[1] and his friend Corey downward spiral started with sexual abuse as minors. But there are convictions that would seem to corroborated that this is a problem in Hollywood, and that Walters was wrong not to suggest further investigation. Jason James Murphy, a Hollywood casting director, cast children in School of Rock and Super 8, before it was realized that he had previously been convicted of kidnapping and molesting an eight year old boy.[2] Worse, Victor Salva, director of Disney’s Powder and the Jeepers, Creepers line of films has worked with teens despite a conviction for sexual acts on a 12-year old during the filming of Clownhouse.[3] Leonardo DiCaprio’s former manager, Bob Villard, was convicted of child pornography, and the sexual assault of a 13 year old boy.[4]  Brian Peck, a convicted pedophile, who has worked as a vocal coach with children for both Disney and Nickelodeon,[5] but his conviction did not prevent him from working with his friend, Bryan Singer on X-Men 2.[6] Talent scout Martin Weiss,[7] and Nickelodeon production assistant Michael Handy,[8] used roles within the industry to molest children. Yet, when a documentary on childhood sexual abuse in Hollywood, An Open Secret was given limited release, and was opposed by a major Hollywood union, [9] apparently Barbara Walters was not the only person who thought investigating the problems of Hollywood was unimportant.

There are also charges leveled against Bill Cosby, also a case where many women over the years have made the same basic accusation; yet industry outrage is a recent phenomenon. The industry has continued to support Roman Polanski who has been accused of rape by four separate women.[10] He plea bargained a case in Hollywood of having sex with a minor – a 13 year old girl, who he plied with champagne containing quaaludes[11] – but when he found out that he might actually have to serve time in a prison, he fled to France before sentencing. In 2009, when the Switzerland considered extradition to the United States, more than a hundred Hollywood celebrities signed a petition (circulated by Harvey Weinstein) to have him released,[12] and Whoopi Goldberg stated on the view, “it wasn’t rape-rape,” and continued to defend this point, even after it was pointed out that Polanski had used drugs on his victim.[13] Interestingly enough, Whoopi’s defense of Weinstein is very similar to Weinstein’s own discussion of his deeds.[14]

There is also a sense in which the ourtrage is limited to one’s own situation. Rose McGowan who worked with Victor Salva on Rosewood Lane. In an interview with the Advocate,[15] she made the statement she knew nothing about his conviction and it was none of her business, but this is not the attitude she expected from Jeff Bezos on Weinstein working on an Amazon production. Apparently her allegations of rape should be taken more seriously than those of a twelve year old boy, or for that matter a court of law. Similarly, Asia Argentino signed the petition to free Polanski,[16] it seems in her estimation the assault on a thirteen year-old girl was less serious than an assault on herself. There is then, a sense of, “justice for me, but not for thee,” that occupies the discussion.

Allegations have been leveled against Woody Allen, Ben Affleck, Bryan Singer, and Oliver Stone, but I have tried to avoid rumors, (as the Old Testament stated no one was to be punished on the word of one witness alone), and stick with points were people have been convicted. Harvey Weinstein in 2009 stated in an interview with the L A Times, concerning the petition for Roman Polanski that “Hollywood has the best moral compass. . . “[17] Interestingly enough, his own letter on the subject presents himself as a man of his times.[18] I say this is interesting because the modern popular ethic moves not from the Bible or some other standard, on an assumption that there are no moral absolutes, only community standards. Weinstein is treated as if an absolute, and not merely a community opinion has been violated. In short, his argument that he is simply living out the culture of his own youth is completely consistent with the ethos of the modern American left, but the leftists decrying him are inconsistent with it. That is, they argue that sexual harassment is absolutely wrong, but when confronted with their own sins, they immediately will cite that not everyone believes in moral absolutes.

Now it is true that there have been notable scandals in American Evangelical churches, but for the Evangelical the problem is when we fail to be consistent with our epistemic source for defining ethics, the Bible. For Weinstein, it is the opposite, he is in trouble precisely because he is living up to the Darwinist ethic that views all moralities as subjective along with Hollywood’s view of love as of spontaneity and emotions, of giving into desires, and that is precisely what Weinstein has done.

Political commentator Mark Levin has suggested renaming the Oscars the Harvey’s, and it makes sense, but the Harvey’s may serve a better use, noting when someone in Hollywood is living up to “Hollywood values.” This year, the Harvey should go to Harvey Weinstein.

 

[1] http://worldofwonder.net/fbf-barbara-walters-tells-corey-feldman-youre-damaging-entire-industry-warns-hollywood-pedophila last accessed October 15, 2017.

 

[2]http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/17/business/la-fi-ct-casting-director-20111118 last accessed October 15, 2017.

 

[3] https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-pedophile-director-embraced-by-hollywood Last accessed October 15, 2017.

[4] http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/08/business/la-fi-ct-hollywood-molesters-20120109/2 last accessed October 15, 2017.

 

[5] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3115792/Pedophile-X-Men-actor-convicted-sexually-abusing-Nickelodeon-child-star-working-underage-kids.html last accessed October 15, 2017

[6] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3115792/Pedophile-X-Men-actor-convicted-sexually-abusing-Nickelodeon-child-star-working-underage-kids.html  Last accessed October 15, 2017

[7] http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/02/local/la-fi-me-molester-pleads-20120602  last accessed October 15, 2017

 

[8] http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/08/business/la-fi-ct-hollywood-molesters-20120109  Last accessed October 15, 2017

[9] http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/open-secret-aims-expose-child-predators-hollywood-article-1.2249251  Last Accessed on October 15, 2017

[10] http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-entertainment-news-updates-roman-polanski-accused-of-raping-german-1507133265-htmlstory.html  Last accessed on October 15, 2017

 

[11]http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/roman-polanski/story?id=8705958 Last accessed on October 15, 2017

[12] http://www.indiewire.com/2009/09/over-100-in-film-community-sign-polanski-petition-55821/  Last accessed on October 15, 2017, the petition itself has been taken down.

[13]https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=whoopi+goldberg+it+wasn%27t+rap-rape&&view=detail&mid=1DA0F795D27E0C65B20F1DA0F795D27E0C65B20F&FORM=VRDGAR  Last accessed on October 15, 2017

[14]Ibid.

[15]https://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/features/2011/08/11/rose-mcgowan-my-life-l-word  Last accessed on October 15, 2017

[16] http://www.indiewire.com/2009/09/over-100-in-film-community-sign-polanski-petition-55821/  Last accessed on October 15, 2017, the petition itself has been taken down.

 

[17]http://articles.latimes.com/2009/oct/01/entertainment/et-polanski1/2  Last accessed October 15, 2017

[18]https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2017/10/05/harvey-weinstein-scandal-read-his-full-apology/738093001/  Last accessed October 15, 2017