Tag Archives: Harvey Weinstein scandal

Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment Book Review

Since the beginning of human history, men have used sex to gain power over women. But thanks the hard work of generations of women, the power imbalance is starting to even out.

In the new book, Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment, by Linda Hirshman, explores how women have fought back against sexual harassment and have slowly began to win the war.

Ms. Hirshman starts her book in the 1970’s, when women began to talk to each other and organize against men who took advantage of their female subordinates. She then moves forward in time highlighting a number of accusations of rape and/or sexual harassment against prominent men and the women who were brave enough to go public with the accusations. The list includes the 1991 Clarence Thomas Hearings and the accusations by Anita Hill, the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton Scandal, and the multiple women claimed that Harvey Weinstein took advantage of them sexually.

Reckoning is a perfect title for this book. While telling the story of these brave and bold women, Ms. Hirshman inspires the reader to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. She also pulls no punches, calling out politicians on both sides of the aisle, women who stay silent and men who continue to perpetuate this heinous act.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Add Another One To The List XII: Les Moonves And Chris Hardwick

Since last fall, the backlash against rich and powerful men accused of sexual assault and/or harassment has been swift and powerful. Men who thought they could get away with such acts without repercussions are finally being forced to admit to their crimes. The newest men added to this dishonorable list is CEO chairman Les Moonves and  comic/podcast host Chris Hardwick.

Last week, Mr. Moonves was accused of using the casting couch to fill his sexual needs in return for work. In June, Mr. Hardwick was accused of abusing and blacklisting an ex-girlfriend.

The accusations against Mr. Moonves are still fresh. Only time will tell if he receives the same statement as Harvey Weinstein or if he is exonerated. As of this week, Mr. Hardwick has been cleared of the charges.

I feel like at this point, our collective response should not be all fire and fury. But that also depends on the severity of the charge. The response to the accusations against Aziz Ansari should not be the same response to Harvey Weinstein.  But that doesn’t mean that they can get away with it.

The message should be clear. Sexual assault and harassment by both men and women will not be tolerated. Those accused of such acts and found guilty will receive a punishment that fits the crime.

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RIP Anthony Bourdain

The black dog, as Winston Churchill put it, has struck again.

On Wednesday, the dog claimed the life of designer Kate Spade. This morning, the life the dog took was that of chef, author and television personality Anthony Bourdain. He was 61.

He was found in his hotel room in France where he was filming a future episode for his CNN series, Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.

Depression and mental illness is not a joke. At best, the person suffering lives as best they can. At worst, they take their own life, causing their loved ones to ask questions that can never be answered.

My heart breaks for those who knew him on a personal level, especially his young daughter and his girlfriend, Asia Argento. Ms. Argento is one of the woman who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault.

I know what it is like to live with the black dog.  It sits on my lap all day, every day. If your reading this post and you also have the black dog sitting on your lap, please get help. If not for your sake, but for the ones you love.

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Karma Is A B*tch, Harvey Weinstein

The casting couch is not a new concept in Hollywood.

Harvey Weinstein took the casting couch to a new level. Yesterday he was arrested and charged with rape.

According to Benjamin Brafman, Weinstein’s lawyer:

“Mr. Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood,” he said. “Bad behavior is not on trial in this case.”

While it’s true that the casting couch has existed long before Weinstein climbed his way up the Hollywood power ladder, he certainly took advantage of it.

Karma is a b*tch, as is justice. Only time will tell if Weinstein is found guilty of the charges laid out against him.

If there is a silver lining in this case, it is that men who use their power in any industry are being sent a strong message about how they view and treat their female employees. Treat them with respect and dignity or face the consequences.

 

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It’s Not About The Clothes-It’s About Power And Perception

One of the myths of rape is that the victim was asking for it. She was probably wearing an outfit that was revealing and maybe she was also a little drunk.

Unfortunately, this disgusting myth has become ingrained in our overall culture. It’s an excuse that allows the rapists to get away with their crimes and blame the victims.

A woman could be wearing almost anything and be raped. She could be wearing anything from a nuns habit or a burka to the tiniest of bikinis and that wouldn’t mean damn thing to the rapist.

In short, it’s not about what she is wearing or not wearing-its about perception and power. The perception is that women are second class citizens and there to be a sex object for a man whenever he feels in the mood for sex. The power comes from the perception and his view that he is better than his victim.

Earlier in the year, as the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, designer Donna Karan defended Weinstein and blamed the victims. Respected actress Angela Lansbury made a similar statement the end of November. Both women have since rescinded their statements.

Make no mistake, there have been amazing strides in both the feminist movement and recognizing the true nature of rape and sexual assault. But for every step taken toward true equality, there are men and women (which gets my goat like few things can) who blame the victims instead of blaming the perpetrators and making it clear rape/sexual assault are wrong and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

 

 

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Add Another One To The List Part III: Nick Carter, Russell Simmons And Jeffrey Tambor

The list of prominent men accused of rape/sexual assault/unwanted sexual advances has grown to add three more men: Russell Simmons, Nick Carter and Jeffrey Tambor.

Former teen pop singer Melissa Schuman from the pop group Dream has accused Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter of raping her more than a decade ago. Carter denies the allegations. Actor Jeffrey Tambor, the star of the television series, Transparent, will be leaving the show after two women have accuse him of sexual harassment. Music mogul Russell Simmons has been accused of assaulting model Keri Claussen Khalighi when she was in her late teens while movie director Brett Ratner, who was also in the room, did nothing to stop Simmons.

Sexual assault and rape are nothing new to humanity. These heinous acts have been going on since the beginning of our species.  My hope in publicizing these acts and shaming the accused is that our society will finally make a change for the better. Whether it is a movie mogul or the manager of a fast food restaurant, men in power will think twice about dangling career opportunities in front of their female employees in return for sexual favors.

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Add Another One To The List Part 2: Charlie Rose

When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in October, the nasty truth of our society and how women are treated was brought into the harsh light.

The newest member of this quickly growing list is respected journalist Charlie Rose.

Eight women have accused Mr. Rose of making unwanted sexual advances toward them.

As painful as the newest revelation is, I  believe that is absolutely necessary.  This is an evil in our society that must be confronted.  This is not simply about the power imbalance, but it is also about how women are seen and treated. The first step in resolving a problem is admitting that there is a problem. Now that we have been forced to admit that there is a problem, we must resolve the problem. Unfortunately, it will be easier said than done.

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Add One More To The List: Al Franken

When the news broke last month that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault by a number of women, it was only the tip of the iceberg. The newest member of this not so honorable club is Al Franken, Saturday Night Live alumni and current senator from Minnesota.

In 2006, while on a USO tour, Leeann Tweeden accuses Mr. Franken of forcibly kissing her and having a picture taken of them while she slept. The picture is of Mr. Franken pretending to fondle her breasts.

Should Mr. Franken resign from? Honestly, I don’t know. In an ideal world, I would say yes, but considering that an empty seat in the Senate would create an imbalance that would tip in favor of the Republican, I say no.

At least unlike other politicians accused of similar acts (Donald Trump, Roy Moore), Mr. Franken has apologized and promised to make amends. But unlike his predecessors, there is pictorial evidence that is irrefutable.

The problem continues to be that women are still seen as sexual objects without thoughts, feelings and ambitions. Until the day when the concept is eradicated for good, then we will continue to be seen as and treated as sexual objects.

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Happy Belated Birthday Carrie Fisher

Yesterday would have been the 61st birthday of actress, writer and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher.

Originally known to audiences as Princess Leia Organa from the Star Wars films, she was the daughter of the late singer Eddie Fisher and his first wife, actor/singer, the late Debbie Reynolds.

I could write about what her legacy is to the millions of Star Wars fans around the world and to the millions who are suffering from mental illness, but that’s been done. I want to remember as a woman who was not afraid to call out the bullshit, especially in Hollywood. Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke two weeks ago, the floodgates of women who were sexually assaulted, not just by Weinstein, but other men in Hollywood have come forward. One of these men assaulted a friend of hers and Carrie responded as only she could.

In honor of Carrie, I give you Star Wars Rap Battle: Han Solo vs Princess Leia.

Happy Birthday, Carrie. You are gone, but never forgotten.

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Thoughts On The Harvey Weinstein Scandal Part III-Is it a generational thing?

Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last week, he tried to defend himself. He claimed the following:

“I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”

I have mixed feelings about this statement, though I think it is still bullsh*t.  The 1960’s and 1970’s were a time of change in America. Women were starting to not just enter the workplace in greater numbers, but they were also starting to work in fields and positions that previously were open to men only. At the time, some men might have chafed at  working with women on an equal level. I call it bullsh*t because we are not living in either the 1960’s or 1970’s anymore.  But he seems to think so.

Weinstein is trying to defend himself, but his defense does not hold water. His defense does not hold water because not only did he know exactly what he was doing, but he also is not the only male to have grown up in the 1960’s and 1970’s. There is a whole generation of men who grew up in the era, I doubt every single one of them used their professional positions to procure sexual favors from female subordinates.

It is also not a generational thing because this kind of abuse has been going on for time immemorial. It’s time we admitted it, faced the truth and stopped this abuse once and for all.

 

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