Tag Archives: Harvey Weinstein

Cry Those Crocodile Tears, Harvey Weinstein

After a millennia of women being viewed merely as sexual beings to be used for men’s pleasure, things are finally starting to change for the better.

Former Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Wednesday.

He can cry all of the crocodile tears he wants. He knows what he did. He knows that he forced himself on those women, dangling career prospects and make all sorts of threats if they did not give into him.

Cry those crocodile tears all you want, Harvey Weinstein. Your going to rot in jail.

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Justice NOT Served: Harvey Weinstein and the Houston Astros

When we are children, we are taught right from wrong. We are taught that cheating and stealing is not the way to succeed. We are also (hopefully) taught that when we get to an age in which we start dating, that we respect the romantic and sexual boundaries of our partners.

The verdict in the Harvey Weinstein trial was delivered today. Of the five counts of rape and sexual assault, he was found guilty of the lesser counts. The three higher counts, which would have put him away for the rest of his natural life, he was found not guilty of.

In my opinion, justice was not served. He may get somewhere from five to twenty five years in jail, but that is not enough. It will never be enough. Even if he gets the maximum sentence possible, it does not compare to the emotional jails that the women he forced himself on will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

When the Houston Astros when the World Series in 2017, it was a time to rejoice. After the destruction that Hurricane Harvey left in it’s wake, the city, the team and the fans needed something to put a smile on their faces. Recently, it was revealed that the team cheated by stealing signs.

Winning the World Series is not something that is done easily. I can only imagine the blood, the sweat and the tears that it takes to be within reach of the title of “World Series Champions”. It dishonors the fans, the league and every other team that worked their butts off who could have only wished to have played in World Series. It’s not enough to have fired management. The team should be forced to give back their rings, their trophy, their substantial pay raises and forfeit their win.

It has been said that justice is blind. In the cases of Harvey Weinstein and Houston Astros, she was also deaf, dumb and somewhere else.

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The Assistant Movie Review

The first job out of college is never what we think it will be.

In the new movie, The Assistant, Jane is a recent college grad. Living in New York City, she is working as an assistant to a well known and powerful Harvey Weinstein like movie executive. The lowest employee on the totem pole, she does the work of many low level assistants: she makes coffee, accepts the mail, answers the phone, etc.

But something is off about her boss. She sees a number of women come and go from his office. Her concerns lead to her to Wilcock (Matthew MacFadyen) in human resources. But HR is not exactly helpful. Can Jane continue to do her job or will her conscious get the best of her?

Written and directed by Kitty Green, the narrative is told in a real world, 24 hour narrative. The feeling of the film is very visceral. Lacking music until the very end, the sounds of an office fill up the space. Where music usually steps in to tell the story, the sounds of emails coming in, the phone ringing and typing takes the place of music.

If there was one thing that I noticed about the story is that the actions of the unseen but heard movie executive is not exactly a secret within the company. What is disturbing is that the employees either laugh it off or make side comments, but don’t do anything about it. Only Jane has the nerve to call out her the misbehavior of her boss.

This film is jarring, powerful and a seething indictment of sexism in the workplace.

I absolutely recommend it.

The Assistant is presently in theaters.

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Best Books of 2019

To say that I am a bookworm is an understatement. As you might expect, I’ve read quite a few books this year.

Without further adieu, my list of the best books of 2019 is below.

  1. The Women of the 116th Congress: Portraits of Power: This book is #1 because it represents how far American women have come and how far we need to go before we are truly equal. In celebrating the success of these female politicians, the authors are paving the way for the next generation of women to represent their country.
  2. The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught In Between: This compelling and true story of one small town and it’s Jewish residents during World War II is as compelling as any fiction novel of the Holocaust.
  3. Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II: Telling the story of Audrey Hepburn‘s childhood during World War II, this book is a must-read for both movie junkies and history nerds alike.
  4. Summer of ’69: History is not just facts in a book. It the lives and experiences of those who lived through that period. In telling the story of one specific family, the summer of 1969 comes alive.
  5. Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators: The revelation of Harvey Weinstein’s actions two years ago was appalling and world-changing. In bringing his actions to the light, the authors are giving his victims what should have been theirs in the first place.
  6. Unmarriageable: A Novel: This adaptation of Pride & Prejudice set in Pakistan proves why Austen’s novels are universally loved and rebooted time and again.
  7. The Mother of the Brontes: When Maria met Patrick: The previously untold story of Maria Bronte (nee Branwell) is a fascinating story of the women who would bring Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte into the world.
  8. Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman: It takes guts to be yourself. It takes even more guts when being yourself means that you are no longer part of the community you grew up in.
  9. She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement: The reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein scandal knew what they were up against. They also knew how important it was for the public to know the truth.
  10. The Winemaker’s Wife: Love and betrayal are enough to handle. Add in war and you have this marvelous novel set in France during World War II.

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Cry Me a River, Harvey Weinstein

Sexual assault and sexual harassment, especially in the workplace, is sadly nothing new.

When the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal hit the press two years ago, it was nothing short of earth-shattering. After a millennia of women not being heard about sexual misconduct by their male bosses, it was revelation.

Yesterday, Weinstein sat down with several newspapers and complained about his ruined reputation.

His childlike defense was the following:

“I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago. I’m not talking about now when it’s vogue. I did it first! I pioneered it!” he bragged.

Cry me a river. He knew what he was doing. He knew that he was literally dangling work over their heads in return for sex. He is only crying foul because he got caught and lost everything.

I have a message for Mr. Weinstein. Grow up, grow a pair and admit what you did. An adult admits when they did something wrong. A child not only refuses to admit their error of their ways, they blame others and cast themselves as the victims. Care to guess which one Mr. Weinstein is?

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Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators Book Review

When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in 2017, it did not break out of thin air. Getting the story to the public took time, effort and going against powerful people who would do almost anything to keep the story out of the news.

Ronan Farrow was one of those reporters. In his new book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, Farrow walks the reader through the process of reporting the story of the Weinstein scandal and the major barriers that were in his way. Back in 2017, Farrow was working for NBC. What started out as a routine investigation blew up into a news story that revealed a dark side of our culture that few were willing and/or able to expose.

Though this book is non-fiction, it reads like a spy thriller. The scary thing about this book goes well beyond what Weinstein did. The scary thing is that he had accomplishes who actively helped to bury the story. To my eyes, it says that men like Weinstein still hold all of the cards. The women he attacked and intimidated are powerless.

However, there is a glimmer of hope. There are good people in this world, like Ronan Farrow, who despite the challenges, are willing to stand up for what is right.

If only there were more like him.

I absolutely recommend it.

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She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement Book Review

Throughout history, there has been an obvious power imbalance between men and women. Especially when it came to sex.

When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in 2017, it forever changed the way that rape and sexual assault are viewed. But bringing that story to the front page was not easy. In the new book, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement, New York Times writers Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey recount the months long and difficult process of bringing this story to the public.

For decades, there were whispers within Hollywood about producer Harvey Weinstein. But as soon as reports surfaced of allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, they were put down as mere rumor. That is until Kantor and Twohey started digging. That digging opened a Pandora’s box of truth, lies and the people who would do almost anything to close that box again.

This book reads like a fictional thriller instead of a real story. It is a heart pounding roller coaster ride until the very end of the book. We know how the story ends, but there were so many blockages for Kantor and Twohey that I started to wonder if justice would finally prevail. When I finally finished the book, I was relieved that Weinstein was finally getting what was coming to him.

The thing that strikes me about this book and this story is that it is universal among women. The women who come forward in this book tell the same story, with minor details changed for their specific narrative. They range from Hollywood A-listers to fast food workers to teenage girls assaulted by their drunk male classmates. If nothing else, I think that this book and others of this nature are a starting point for a conversation that is more than overdue.

I absolutely recommend it.

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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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