The Producers Guild has instituted a lifetime ban on Weinstein from holding membership in the organization. “This unprecedented step is a reflection of the seriousness with which the Guild regards the numerous reports of Mr. Weinstein’s decades of reprehensible conduct,” the guild said in a statement. “Sexual harassment can no longer be tolerated in our industry or within the ranks of producers guild membership.”
Did you spot the gaffe?
“can no longer be tolerated” – In other words: We always knew about this and tolerated it, but no longer. An admission of complicity. It’s not clear, however, if this is a confession or a slip of the tong/keyboard.
Besides, it is unhelpful overkill to insinuate that after such a life, repentance is impossible. I wouldn’t hold my breath until Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump give courses on how to spot and corner a serial sexual abuser, but it is another thing to declare it impossible.
They also intimate that this problem is not just Weinstein and a few others, but wide-spread. Yet, hardly any other Hollywood figures have been accused besides Weinstein. If this scandal is anything like the Catholic Church sex scandal, we haven’t seen anything yet.
Actor Kevin Spacey, claiming to be “beyond horrified,” tried his hand at publically issuing “the sincerest apology” about being accused of a constitutional rape attempt of a 14-year old beginning male actor, 32 years ago.
But then he messed up three-fold.
- He claims not to remember – instead of saying that he would start searching his brain.
- He says that he was drunk, practically deflecting any blame.
- Simultaneously, he now comes out as gay. That is the gravest of the three things he said and he is widely attacked for it – and rightly so.
Famous people coming out still deserve admiration and credit but not when they use it to claim that “the orientation did it” or to change the conversion from sexual abuse accusation to their own oppressed status. Meanwhile giving ammunition to present gay haters and to the old prejudice as if gays are typically child molesters. He throws gays under the bus associating gay sexual orientation with pedophilia and rape.
In any case, it took only one accusation to end his career because of how he reacted. There is a lot to learn about how to do this better. And I’m not the only one teaching. See also *IHave (admissions), #IWill: promises to improve.
In the UK they don’t have Hollywood so the head fall in the political arena.
Public men resign or are fired for putting their hand on someone’s knee without consent once decades ago, no trial needed or possible anymore. Is this a very high standard, or is this because there’s much more down the line?
In the Netherlands, #metoo also caught on. The discussions there, however, are completely different from in the English-speaking world.
A well-known Dutch media man accused another one of attempted rape when he came to work at a TV program. Yet, the accused denies and the story of the accuser sounds not believable at all, and not just to me. This is very tricky, because denial of accusations could be an aggravation of the abuse. The victim being raped all over again. Yet, “trial by media” is no alternative for the real courts.
Therefore, the discussions in the supposed culture of tolerance deal more with who is telling the truth and there are two sides to every story, and with discussing the discussing, than that massive scandals are coming to the fore. Even looking at how these discussions go in other countries are in focus. (Use Google Translate for reading the links.)
In the Dutch debate is being mentioned repeatedly that:
- For sexual transgression one need to insist on sex while at that moment the other doesn’t want it while one is aware of that. Thinking back and regretting sex does not make it a violation.
- An initial permission does not override the other changing his/her mind. So, you need to watch out all the time if the one you have sex with still is willing.
- Bodily sexual signs (erection, moistness) do not mean willingness.
This is so complicated.
Decades ago the slogan in the Netherlands was “When a girl says no, she means: no.” (Try to teach that to Fred Aster. All these old movies are pure harassment with a smile.) Maybe it’s time for a new slogan. “Before being intimate, each should sign that they want that. Those written agreements should stay within reach so that each can take it back at any time. Proceeding without further agreement could come to haunt you.”
Meanwhile the debate continues and much useful information comes up. Why victims complain so late, and take it seriously. On the other hand, many women start saying that celebrating victimhood brings a powerlessness that no one needs. One even suggested on TV: Maybe being accosted by a powerful man is just something to learn to deal with over the years.
With all these discussions on theory and principle and hardly any allegations, is there then no serious sexual exploitation or intimidation at work in the Low Countries? Or is even the tip of the iceberg there still under water?
What may help is that in Europe there is no statute of limitations for sexual offenses against minors.
The Netherlands’ culture has become secular. Young people can have sex whenever they want and more and more of them (boys and girls) decide to stay virgin until they meet their first partner in life – not to squander sex on passing friends. Just like many don’t do drugs, don’t visit prostitutes or use porn because it’s legal. (Yet, alcohol’s a problem.)
Another thing that is special in the Netherlands is that the norm there is: only guilty when convicted, and once received their punishment, they paid their debt to society, and we should let it go, let them reintegrate.
Not all is rosy. The World Economic Forum just announced that the Netherlands in unequal-ness between men and women fell from place 16 (last year) to place 32.
In Israel also no avalanche of sexual revelations. Maybe because on average, women here tend to be a bit more “bitchy.” Or perhaps because the laws against sexual harassment here are very strict (if she feels violated she was!). Or possibly it’s because we’ve seen it all before, when our former president needed to resign and went to jail for rape. Someone now reports a case of 54 years ago. Is that all there is? (Not implying that doesn’t sound bad.)
And a substantial section of Israeli society has no mingling of the sexes. That often works preventative and also makes sexual abuse stand out because any physical contact, staring at or seclusion with is outside the norm. (Not saying that rape is impossible within the marriage, sadly.)
A major problem with the whole #metoo campaign is that it gives food to the old myth that most abusers lurk outside, while we know from therapy that most sexual abusers come from inside the family home. Stranger danger has long been put in its place. #metoohome is in order.