The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hosts the Golden Globe Awards, may have provided the rocket fuel for Oprah Winfrey for President in 2020. Her acceptance speech for their Cecil B. DeMille Award struck the perfect pose for the Hollywood establishment. They have seen themselves as the uninterrupted social conscience of America for as long as they’ve made motion pictures.
That’s ridiculous. The pattern of sexual harassment and even rape allegations uncovered by the media should overturn the entire concept of Hollywood lecturing anyone on the morality of any subject.
Oprah drew rave reviews in the press for lauding the press. “We all know that the press is under siege these days. But we also know that it is the insatiable dedication and the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and injustice, to tyrants and victims and secrets and lies.”
It’s definitely true that the New York Times report on Harvey Weinstein began a great wave of uncovering sexual harassment in Hollywood. But the so-called “insatiable” press has been remarkably passive on this sexual-harassment front for decades. Sexual harassment in Hollywood is so prevalent it has its own name: the “casting couch.” The press knew this, has known this for decades. Why did it take until 2017 to say something?
Then Winfrey pulled a rhetorical muscle by hailing the victims, that “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” But it’s not a personal truth that Weinstein and many other men abused women with impunity for many years. If true, it’s just the truth. When exposed, the abusers put out statements saying these ugly acts were not “how they remembered” these occasions. Must everything in Tinseltown be morally relative? “Their truth” is a non sequitur.
Winfrey also insisted this sexual harassment is not “just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It's one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.” That’s slippery, an attempt to distract and diminish. This lecture should not distract the public from the sordid dishonesty of of the Hollywood Left, which sees itself as the cultural judge and jury of everyone else.
Then the truth came out.
The rapturous reception of Oprah’s remarks was followed on social media by old pictures of Oprah kissing Harvey Weinstein....just as last year’s DeMille award winner and Golden Globes moralist was Meryl Streep, who lovingly described Weinstein as “God” before everyone knew what she could not help but know.
The same Hollywood moralists tweeting out their #MeToo messages have failed to budge on the matter of Roman Polanski, who pled guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house in 1977, and skipped out of the country rather than face justice. Where was Hollywood then? Who lectured Polanski at the awards ceremonies?
In fact, in 2003, when Polanski won a Best Director Oscar for The Pianist, the video clearly shows a standing ovation for this criminal on the lam...and among those standing and clapping was that “moralist” Meryl Streep.
In 2009, Polanski was arrested in Switzerland for his crime, and a collection of marquee Hollywood names signed petitions of protest. One of the petition circulators was a powerful man named Harvey Weinstein. Nothing came of the arrest....except the eruption of another episode of Hollywood’s amorality.
The tsunami of hype for Oprah’s preaching shouldn’t wash away an industry’s culpability for sexually abusing women – and even children – seeking fame and fortune. That reckoning has only just begun.