Tag Archives: Harvey Weinstein

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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Thoughts On Joe Biden’s Run For the 2020 Presidential Election

For months, former Vice President Joe Biden was on the top of the leader board as the Democrat who had the best chance to defeat you know who come next fall. But he had yet to confirm or deny that he was running for President. Today, he confirmed that he is running for President.

I have to be honest. I have mixed feelings about this announcement.

One could argue that among the Democratic candidates, he is politically one of the most qualified to run the country. He has been in government for nearly fifty years, eight of those  years were as Vice President under Barack Obama. As a liberal Democrat, Biden checks off many of the boxes that liberal/Democratic voters look for in a Presidential nominee.

But still, there a few things that bother me.

His actions during the Anita Hill hearing don’t sit well with me. Granted, it was decades ago, the hope is that he has changed and learned from his mistakes. But it still bothers me that instead of giving this woman a chance to tell her story, she was treated like dirt.

The accusations of being too touchy with certain women. Granted, he did not go as far as Harvey Weinstein or Matt Lauer, but the fact that did not recognize the boundaries of personal space by these women sends alarm bells off in my head.

Do we really want another old White man serving the highest office in the land? It’s 2019, it’s time to give a woman or a person of color the opportunity to run this country. My fear is that many voters will default to Biden because he is the standard political leader instead of giving another candidate a shot at becoming President.

It’s only April, we won’t know for at least a year as to whom will win the nomination. But whoever they are, they had better be in for a fight, because you know who never backs down from a fight.

 

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Thoughts On The Joe Biden Accusations

Sexual assault and sexual harassment has been part of the human experience for an untold number of generations. Thankfully, things are starting to change for the better.

Though former Vice President Joe Biden has not formally announced that he will be running for President for the 2020 Presidential election, the polls over the past few weeks have labeled him as the front-runner among the Democratic candidates.

The hitch, in this potential Presidential run, is that he has been accused of inappropriately touching at least two women. Granted, the nature of the accusations are not as harsh as the accusations against Harvey Weinstein were, but it’s clear that Vice President Biden crossed boundaries that he should have never crossed.

I wish I knew where we could go from here to completely eradicate sexual assault and sexual harassment. We can only legislate and litigate to a certain point. The rest of the journey requires a societal level consciousness about where boundaries lay between men and women. Legislation and litigation is the easy part. Changing the way we view each other and respecting boundaries, that is going to take much more time and effort on the part of all of us.

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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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Add Another One To The List XI: Morgan Freeman

Sometimes it takes public shaming for things to finally change. The list of powerful or famous men accused of unwanted sexual assault has grown again. Morgan Freeman is the newest name on this dishonorable list.

Sixteen people have accused him of either sexual assault or inappropriate behavior. Four of those who have made such accusations are journalists whom Mr. Freeman has been interviewed by during press junkets. They have accused him of making inappropriate remarks during their interviews. Chloe Melas, who is the co-author of the CNN article linked to above, stated that Mr. Freeman acted inappropriately towards her while promoting his 2017 film, Going in Style.

Based on the evidence presented, I don’t think that Mr. Freeman went as far as Harvey Weinstein did, however, that does not exonerate him. Mr. Freeman’s actions and words are a symptom of a much larger cultural perspective that still views women as sexual objects, regardless of whether actions follow the words spoken.

As much as I respect Mr. Freeman for his career, sometimes we must make public examples of bad behavior to make it clear that such words or actions are unacceptable.  Unfortunately, the public example that must be made in this case is Morgan Freeman, whose lapse in judgement reminds us all that inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated and those who still act in such a manner will be punished appropriately.

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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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Thoughts On The Aziz Ansari Sexual Allegations

Since news broke last week that comedian and actor Aziz Ansari was accused of forcing himself on a woman, I have to be honest that this accusation is not so clear-cut for me.

By reputation, Mr. Ansari is far from the likes of Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein. He comes off as a genuine nice guy. I was honestly surprise when the woman making the accusation, known as Grace, seemed to putting him in the same category as Lauer and Weinstein.

My interpretation of the story is that it was a date gone horribly wrong. For whatever reason, Mr. Ansari believed that his accuser wanted to sleep with him, despite the verbal and non verbal cues that she allegedly says she was giving him.

The lesson I think we need to learn here is two-fold: first is that we have to stop teaching our daughters to only be caregivers. There is nothing wrong with that lesson, but we also need to teach our daughters that it is ok to speak up. Women were given voices for a reason, we need to use them. The other issue is that we need to teach our sons, especially when they get to age when they start to go on dates, on how to read the cues, both verbal and non verbal from their date. If their date is obviously uncomfortable or saying that they are not interested in having sex, our sons need to learn to read, understand and respect the wishes of their dates.

While the accusation against Mr. Ansari is not as extreme as others, it is still symptomatic of much larger cultural issue of how we treat our daughters compared to our sons and what we teach our daughters compared to our sons. To find a cure, we must diagnose the problem based on the symptoms. If the symptoms in this case are the treatment and education of our daughters compared to what their brothers are receiving, then the cure is equal treatment and respect for both sexes.

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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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What The F*ck Is Wrong With Harvey Weinstein?

Yesterday, it was reported that Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson was warned by Harvey Weinstein to not hire Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino for the film series because according to Jackson, “I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs,”.

The truth is that Jackson was eager to hire both women, but due to the fact that both Ms. Sorvino and Ms. Judd rejected Weinstein’s sexual advances, they were blackballed and Jackson was forced to cast other performers for the roles.

Pardon my french, but what the f*ck is wrong with Harvey Weinstein? It makes we wonder how breakable his ego is that he would prevent two talented female performers from working because they wouldn’t sleep with him? Weinstein is a bully; the truth about any bully is that they have deep emotional issues. They cover up those issues by being an a**hole to other people.

I am not a performer, nor do I have a desire to become a performer. But I have a sense of how difficult it is not only to start a career in Hollywood, but also how to sustain that career. I could apologize to both Ms. Sorvino and Ms. Judd, who are clearly gifted performers. But the word sorry can never do justice to the irreparable harm to their careers.

I can only hope that the culture of not just Hollywood, but America and the world will change. A woman will be seen for her abilities, in whatever career path she chooses and not for her body. She will be seen as a fully fledged human being who has the right to go to work without being sexually harassed and if she is harassed, it is her harasser who will take the blame and not the woman.

Hope is the key word here.

 

 

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