Conservative journalist Michelle Malkin took to Twitter on Tuesday to ask two tough questions of those who are pushing the "nobody knew about Harvey Weinstein the sexual predator" narrative really don't seem to want to answer.
One wondered why it took so long for certain big-name stars to open up about their experiences with Weinstein. The other pointed to an actress who was telling her colleagues "Don't work with this guy" for nearly two decades to no apparent effect.
The first of Malkin's tweets reacted to Jake Tapper's characterization at CNN of one actress breaking her two-decade silence well after those mentioned in the original New York Times story on Thursday broke the matter wide open:
It does seem convenient for Paltrow to come clean now about her encounter with Weinstein over two decades ago when she was cast in a role which the Times, in a separate item published Tuesday, acknowledges took her"from actress to star ... (as) the lead in the Jane Austen adaptation 'Emma.'"
According to Paltrow, Weinstein, in the Times's words "warned her not to tell anyone else about his come-on." Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time, also effectively agreed to that condition, because, quoting Paltrow, "I thought he (Weinstein) was going to fire me."
Lots of women unfortunately give in to career ambition and fear. In other instances, the need to feed their families overrides otherwise good judgment. But Paltrow continued to keep her mouth shut for decades as the rumors continued, and even as her net worth reached an estimated $60 million in 2016.
Malkin's second tweet went after two specific big names who have claimed they had no idea of what Weinstein had been doing:
Streep and Clooney have both claimed utter ignorance, but Clooney's has an added twist: He admitted to having "heard rumors about it for years" —
“I’ve heard rumors, and the rumors in general started back in the ’90s, and they were that certain actresses had slept with Harvey to get a role. It seemed like a way to smear the actresses and demean them by saying that they didn’t get the jobs based on their talent, so I took those rumors with a grain of salt.”
Gosh, George, how many "certain" actresses were the subject of such "rumors," and didn't the number of them, which started at least two decades ago and apparently never let up (or at least Clooney never said they did) get a bit too large for them all to be examples of genuinely consensual sex?
Other actors, including Ben Affleck, who have been either been claiming utter ignorance or not commenting on what they did or didn't know are being shamed on Twitter by Rose McGowan, who publicly tweeted to Affleck, referring to an event which apparently happened many years ago, that (language sterilized) "'GOD****IT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT' you said that to my face."
Malkin's points are timely — and, as would be expected of her, consistent.
In April, the conservative pundit and broadcaster put up a two-minute video which should be required viewing for everyone entering the workforce:
Transcript (bolds are mine):
MICHELLE MALKIN: I am a woman who has worked in the media industry for 25 years, in newspapers, television, and on the Internet. I've worked for big corporations and for family-owned companies and independent start-ups, and founded two of my own websites.
I'm hear to tell you that there is nothing stopping women from blowing the whistle if they don't like how they are treated.
The most important career advice I give to young women is to learn to say "No."
The world won't end if you walk away from an awkward or ugly situation, and if you head for the doors if managers won't support you.
I speak from experience. My conflicts with various media bigwigs and personalities, both men and women, who crossed the line with me, are well-known. I don't wait years to call people out, and I do it out in the open, not behind closed doors.
If you've been sexually harassed and you choose to keep quiet about it, because your career ambition is more important to you than your self-respect, blame yourself.
If you've been insulted or dissed by colleagues, and you choose to suffer in silence, because getting on air is more important to you than defending your own integrity, that's on you.
If you go along with the corporate ladder-climbing game and collect your paycheck and smile for the camera while you sit across the table from someone who you later say is a creeper or pig or jerk, don't expect sympathy three, or five, or ten years later when you suddenly feel compelled to share a tale of hurt feelings to ingratiate yourself with your new bosses.
And if you lie about sexual harassment or rape for fame, money, revenge, or political score-settling, you are the lowest form of female crapweasel on the planet.
Don't blame the patriarchy or institutional sexism for your own choices and failures and falsehoods.
Get off the victim bandwagon and hold yourself accountable. That's what true feminist empowerment is all about.
There will be those who will criticize Malkin here for steering clear of the often uneven balance of power in the workplace with harassers and their victims.
But what if every honest, hardworking person in the workforce took Malkin's advice? If every predator knew that every target rejecting their unwanted sexual overtures would exhibit zero tolerance for such behavior and report it to human resources or perhaps even law enforcement (and if law enforcement did its job, which in Weinstein's case appears to have been yet another systemic failure), that uneven balance of power wouldn't matter much, would it?
Speaking of selling out to a supposedly uneven balance of power, it should never be forgotten that the New York Times itself, as Curtis Houck at NewsBusters noted Monday, had a substantive story on Weinstein's sexual predations in 2004 — and gutted it.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.