The Shame of Harvey Weinstein and Where Hollywood Goes from Here

Editor's Note: The following has been adapted with the author's permission from its original publication on Carolina Culture Warrior. To be fully transparent, the author is a Walt Disney Company shareholder (as previously disclosed).

Hollywood, California is considered the entertainment capital of the world with characters and names such as Walt Disney, Audrey Hepburn, Mickey Mouse, and The Loony Tunes belonging the pantheons of cinema. 

There are any number of equivalents in television, even if some were more opinionated than others. At the end of the day, Hollywood has largely succeeded due to its mission of entertaining people. 

In recent times, however, most of Hollywood is being viewed with the same contempt as Congress and the media. One huge reason centers around repeated cases of those in power taking advantaged of vulnerable people.

Instead of helping aspiring actors, actresses, producers, writers, and the like strive for success, recent events have shown the dark side of these relationship (e.g. the concept of the casting couch).

Enter Harvey Weinstein, who co-founded both Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company. Over the last 30 years, Harvey and his brother Rob have seen degrees of success that few people could imagine. Most notably, they brought home a series of prestigious awards for films such as Pulp Fiction, No Country for Old Men, and Shakespeare in Love.

But now, we’ve learned during those past 30 years, Weinstein allegedly sexually harassed and even raped multiple women. His own company eventually mustered up the brains to fire him, but it faces some serious financial trouble as a result of Weinstein’s actions.

One other topic worth examining is Weinstein’s impact on Democratic politics. For example, he was a top liberal donor, giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, as well as Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential bid. 

These Democratic donations even reflected on the Oscar contenders he backed, most of which were ideologically-driven, as pointed out by Brent Bozell and Tim Graham in a column about a movie The Imitation Game:

Whether the new focus on gay rights can capture enough votes to help The Imitation Game pass its Oscar competitors is to be determined. The appeal sounds strange since some movie reviewers, like Ed Gonzalez at Slant magazine, complained the movie didn’t crusade for gays and their sexual longings enough: “It’s surprising that it refuses to penetrate Turing’s carnality and allow Cumberbatch to truly wrestle with the torment of the man’s sexuality.”

And what of the artistic merits of the film? Who cares.

All this hard work makes the Oscar race look like just another cynical election that can be won at the last minute by a positive or negative advertising and publicity campaign. We’ll soon know if Weinstein’s campaigning legend will continue to grow.

Alas, that legend has largely been shattered. Weinstein was a big participant in the annual smear campaign against Middle America around awards season. Earlier this year, this space criticized a miniseries he produced for the History Channel called Six, which portrayed members of Seal Team Six as murderers and war criminals:

[T]he series graphically shows a U.S. Navy SEAL killing an innocent Muslim from Michigan in cold blood as well as committing numerous war crimes. There is no question that this show will probably incite hatred towards our military, but it doesn’t seem that Weinstein cared.

So, with a combination of disdain for certain people and the new sexual allegations, the chickens have not only come home to roost for Harvey Weinstein, but quite possibly for other Hollywood executives and directors as a systemic problem has boiled to the surface. 

It’s worth emphasizing that everyone makes mistakes – especially when it comes to stories like this, but those mistakes have eroded ticket sales, declines in television ratings, and lost television gigs.

Both fans and employees of the entertainment industry should think about what Harvey Weinstein was alleged to have gotten away with and the broader issue of sexual harassment. Clearly, the industry trends left with a sick set of morals (see the issue of abortion), and it is high time to look at alternatives to Hollywood movies and television.

Harvey Weinstein
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