Throughout 2017, a common topic surfaced involving the prevalence of sexual harassment in Hollywood. Last year, we were shown evidence that many different “inspirational” celebrities were incredibly corrupt and twisted. But how did all of this start? How did the door in Hollywood get opened in the first place? This can all be traced back to the massive number of allegations leveled against Harvey Weinstein.
Before all of the allegations that he faced, Weinstein was one of the most powerful people in Hollywood. Weinstein was a co-founder with his brother Bob of film company Miramax. Weinstein was also a chairman of The Weinstein Company, which was founded after the Weinstein brothers left Miramax. Because of this, Harvey Weinstein was involved in the production of hundreds of movies, ranging from low budget slasher films like “The Burning,” to blockbuster films like “Django Unchained.” Weinstein was a giant in the film industry, but that all came toppling down with the allegations he faced.
On Oct. 5, 2017, The New York Times published an article detailing decades of sexual harassment from Weinstein. Among the women who came forward were actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd. The accusers describe various acts of sexual harassment and abuse of Weinstein’s power in Hollywood. Numerous women described how Weinstein forced women to massage him and watch him naked. They also said that Weinstein would help advance their careers in return for the sexual favors. During the first day of this controversy, Weinstein issued an apology. In that apology he acknowledges that he “caused a lot of pain” and announced that he would be taking a “leave of absence” from The Weinstein Company and would be working with a therapist. Weinstein’s lawyer also told The Hollywood Reporter that Weinstein was preparing to sue The New York Times because of the article.
Three days later, on Oct. 8, it was announced that Weinstein was sacked by the board of The Weinstein Company, effective immediately. The board of The Weinstein Company said the decision was made “in light about new information on misconduct.” Over the course of the next few months, many more women who experienced sexual misconduct and assault from Weinstein came out and told the public about how he had violated them. The exact number of accusations vary, but most publications believe the number to be between 80 and 90. It is alleged that Weinstein assaulted and harassed these women over the course of three decades, back to the late 1980s.
The allegations toward Harvey Weinstein started a movement of women speaking up and sharing their experiences of sexual assault and harassment at the hands of various men in Hollywood. Many men in different facets of Hollywood would be accused of sexual harassment and assault for the rest of 2017. One of the most well known cases would be with Kevin Spacey. On Oct. 29, actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making sexual advances toward him in 1986, when Rapp was just 14. As many as 15 other people came forward and accused Spacey of sexual abuse, including eight cast members from Netflix’s “House of Cards.” In response to this, Netflix cut all ties with Spacey, and postponed the filming of the sixth season of the program.
Weinstein and his actions can be described as a watershed moment: a significant turning point in history. Weinstein’s actions led to the inception of the #metoo campaign, a campaign that encouraged survivors of sexual abuse to share their experiences, which triggered the cascade of allegations that we are hearing about right now. Without the courage of the original accusers, we would not know that many of the celebrities we know and idolize have participated or have been victims of this terrible behavior. Right now, we can only hope that Hollywood and the collective of stars can handle everything in a much better way.