Me Too Movement And The Weinstein Production
The end of October is a time of comical fear and childish excitement; however, the glittering world of Hollywood was introduced to a new fright-fest on the 5th of October 2017 when Ashley Judd identified the Boogeyman.
The Me Too movement began when film producer, Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment and cases of rape by numerous actresses, former employees, and anonymous women. Since the first accusation in autumn 2017 Weinstein has had over eighty allegations against him. The revelation of these treacherous actions was a catalyst for other women and men to come forward and voice their own encounters with other celebrities such as Kevin Spacey and Woody Allen. However, since his initial allegation, The Weinstein Company co-founder has come forward to the New York Police Department in May 2018 and has been charged with rape and two cases of sexual misconduct. Nonetheless, the question must be asked: what should the sentencing be?
“I would like to thank Harvey Weinstein”, Gwyneth Paltrow, a victim of the producer, thanked in her 1998 Oscars speech for best actress. This phrase has been used by numerous actors and directors at the Academy Awards. Weinstein was a God among men in Hollywood, and with that privilege comes power.
Power in Hollywood has been used and abused by various men for entertainment and self-pleasure. Though Weinstein’s victims were female, it did not stop him from manipulating other men and women, such as Quentin Tarantino and Colin Firth, to keep his misdeeds a secret by threatening many with money and unemployment. Weinstein did not just create victims; he created unwilling accomplices and abused his ‘Godly’ power to manipulate almost all those involved with him.
Stepping away from the shining, glistening gold of Hollywood and falling through the rabbit hole to our dull, grey world, sexual misconduct is a significant problem throughout our society; however, the media focuses on older men who have harassed young children and teenagers, or large continuous cases that attract an audience. An example of the latter is the sentencing of Larry Nasser. Nasser is a former doctor for the United States national gymnastics team and was sentenced in January to between forty to one hundred years in prison on the account of seven sexual harassment cases. These cases, however, also link to the other media focal point; as all seven were of minors. This begs the question: why is there not more public acknowledgment of cases of this happening to the older generation? In the United States alone, around 321,500 people over the age of twelve are sexually abused or a victim of rape with the majority being between the ages of eighteen to thirty-four years old. However, only 310 of every thousand are reported to the police and only six offenders face imprisonment A reason these cases are not publicized is that, in most cases, there is a lack of evidence, and therefore; the allegations remain as they always were: allegations. A case relating to this reason is the rape allegations against Gossip Girl actor, Ed Westwick, that were dropped in July 2018 as there was a lack of evidence, witnesses, and communication within the case. These are problems that arise in many sexual misconduct cases: Hollywood or not.
A significant problem with the cases in Hollywood is that there are multiple victims globally with different laws and jail times. Even the different states of america have their own laws. In New York, the state in which Weinstein has been charged, the sentencing is determined by deciding on the length of the sentence between the minimum of two years to the maximum seven years and any possible fines by evaluating the crime; the consequences leading up to the crime and any possible previous criminal activity. However, after the sentencing, the state can change the sentence due to behavior or other cases that could affect the defendant. This is an indefinite system that does not promise the victims justice. Meanwhile, across the state in California, the state guarantees that the guilty party will serve a one to two-year sentence, taking into consideration the consequences and criminal record, and suffer a 10,000 dollar fine This is an established system and offers the victims closure. However, this is not the state Weinstein is being sentenced to; therefore, being a significant problem in Weinstein’s multiple cases as if he is charged in a different state, there could be two significantly different sentences.
A significant factor, that is highly important to Weinstein’s case, is that his contract at ‘The Weinstein Company’ allowed him to be protected from these allegations. For the first felony, the producer was fined a quarter of a million dollars, and for the following felonies, this amount would double and triple until it reached a million dollars. Nevertheless, these fines are hardly a dent in the co-founder’s bank account as Weinstein was on a salary of 2.6 million dollars with a twenty-five percent claim of the company bonus and 500,000 dollars of exclusive air transport each year. However, these fines never affected his account as Weinstein would often deny the claims and leave it for the board to clean the mess. Weinstein had an opportunity to solve his problems through protection.
While the Me Too movement is a powerful moment for progress in society and feminism, some women are concerned about the impact it has on men and their well-being. Around thirty-six percent of women are somewhat concerned about the impact false accusations have on men and thirty-five percent about the sentencing of the minor case she matching that of major cases. A problem with the speed of social is that people can create elaborate lies to follow a trend. These false accusations can affect men’s mental well-being with 75% of suicide victims in Britain 2017 being male due to embarrassment and fear of speaking about their mental health. I would like to acknowledge that while men have been the majority of offenders, a woman can easily be too. In August 2018, actress and Weinstein victim, Asia Argento, was accused of paying off a young man after she allegedly sexually harassed him. Argento promptly denied the allegation, much like many others accused.
I would like to address that I focus on Harvey Weinstein as he was the man that triggered the Me Too movement. I believe that all accused offenders should face the consequences of their crimes if proven guilty, and acknowledge, that due to this movement, cases have been revealed in other cases. However, none as big as the movement’s catalyst.
In my opinion, I believe that Weinstein should be sentenced to at least half of the maximum penalty of each offense that is trialed with enough sustainable evidence to have him incarcerated consecutively, if not the maximum sentence. In simple terms, I hope that the state of New York can find enough evidence so that Harvey Weinstein does not see another street pavement, let alone a red carpet.
In conclusion, I believe that Harvey Weinstein, and all who are proven guilty, should serve the maximum sentence in prison and is cast away from the Hollywood spotlights and that by addressing this issue, this behavior and these actions shall no longer be tolerated. As a young woman aspiring to be an actress, the confidence of these inspirational women gives me hope that when I join this industry, I will never have to say the words: Me Too.
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