There is no doubt that you’ve heard Harvey Weinstein’s name at some point in the past few weeks, whether it was in the news, on some social media platform, or by word of mouth. The story of the sexual assault allegations waged against Weinstein–a huge name in Hollywood–has blown up recently in the wake of new allegations coming out and the long overdue acknowledgement of years of grossly inappropriate behavior on his behalf. Victims of Weinstein’s assault and harassment have bravely come forward with their stories, inspiring impassioned reactions from across the world and a solidarity movement among those who have themselves been victims of sexual assault. VALLEY is here with a brief rundown of what’s been happening.
Who is Harvey Weinstein?
Harvey Weinstein is a film producer and co-founder of Miramax Films, an American company known for producing and distributing numerous popular films and television shows, including Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, and The English Patient. He is also the co-founder of The Weinstein Company, which is one of the largest mini-major film studios in America. He won an Academy Award and several Tony Awards for his work in producing various successful projects. When the sexual assault allegations were reported earlier this month, Weinstein was fired by his company’s board of directors and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is known globally for its Academy Awards.
The New Yorker and The New York Times first reported in early October that there were women who were accusing Weinstein of numerous instances of sexual harassment and assault. The large scale of these allegations was soon revealed, showing that they span over three decades and involve over 60 women who claim they have been victims of Weinstein’s non-consensual advances. An even more harrowing claim made in these allegations is that several executives and assistants who worked with Weinstein were aware or had been witness to these instances of sexual harassment, yet it has taken this long for the story to be publicized.
The World Reacts
Inevitably, the story about Harvey Weinstein became an international trending topic on Twitter and Facebook. People across the globe took to social media to express their responses to the news, and many celebrities and prominent figures also used social media platforms to make public responses.
Mark Ruffalo tweeted, “To be clear what Harvey Weinstein did was a disgusting abuse of power and horrible. I hope we are now seeing the beginning of the end of these abuses.”
Emmy Rossum tweeted, “DECADES of using power to intimidate women for sexual gain is reprehensible and inexcusable.”
Many celebrities also made statements saying that they had worked with Weinstein and were shocked to hear of this misconduct. Ryan Gosling said, “Like most people in Hollywood, I have worked with [Weinstein] and I’m deeply disappointed in myself for being so oblivious to these devastating experiences of sexual harassment and abuse.”
Jennifer Lawrence said, “I worked with Harvey five years ago, and I did not experience any form of harassment personally, nor did I know about any of these allegations. This kind of abuse is inexcusable and absolutely upsetting.”
The story has also inspired the viral spread of the “#MeToo” movement on social media.
Actress Alyssa Milano encouraged women in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein news to spread the hashtag across social platforms and use it to bring to light the widespread prevalence of instances of sexual harassment, abuse, and general mistreatment of women that occur on a daily basis. The hashtag trended worldwide, and has been tweeted and posted on Facebook hundreds of thousands of times.
Though this solidarity movement is empowering and encourages women to come forth with their stories instead of hold them back, it is alarming to see how pervasive the problem is. Hopefully there will at least be some light at the end of the dark tunnel that is this Harvey Weinstein story in the form of more attention to the issue of sexual harassment and assault.
The world reactions and the #MeToo movement just go to show that this is not something that can be treated as background noise anymore; it’s happening every day, and the voices of victims should not be silenced.
For more information on the Harvey Weinstein story, check out these links:
From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories
Statement From Harvey Weinstein
With shock and anger, Hollywood responds to the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal
Stars welcome Academy move to expel Weinstein over sexual assault claims