It has been quite a week for actor Rose McGowan and film director Harvey Weinstein. Pulp Fiction mogul Weinstein has been fired from the company he founded after allegations of sexual misconduct going back decades. Scream actor McGowan is one of those who challenged Weinstein’s alleged behavior, and reportedly she received a $100,000 payoff when she made sexual harassment claims against Weinstein in 1996. In just a few days Weinstein has gone from hero to monster, his membership of BAFTA has been suspended, and according to the Guardian, the organizers of the Oscars will meet Saturday to consider suspending Weinstein from the Academy.
Since news of Weinstein’s sacking broke, famous names have been falling over themselves to recount their own experiences with Weinstein. As reported by the New York Times, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette, and many others are now lining up to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and even rape.
As reported by the Guardian, Italian actor Asia Argento alleges that Weinstein raped her, and French actor Léa Seydoux claims she had to fight Weinstein off. Former Fox News host, Lauren Sivan, alleges that Weinstein trapped her in a closed restaurant and masturbated in front of her.
Many of the women who are making allegations against Weinstein claim that actors like Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck were well aware of Weinstein’s behavior. As reported by Variety, Rose McGowan’s Twitter account was even suspended when she called Affleck “a liar” for denying any knowledge of wrongdoing by Weinstein.
The allegations against Harvey Weinstein are shocking, but another even more shocking account is emerging. Weinstein’s behavior was an “open secret” in Hollywood. He has allegedly been abusing women for well over 30-years, and yet seemingly no one, other than Rose McGowan spoke out.
According to the Daily Mail, one of Weinstein’s former assistants has now spoken out to admit that she was aware of his behavior and that she was “surprised” that the allegations had not been made public sooner. The sad fact is that Weinstein was allegedly allowed to carry on abusing women because of a conspiracy of silence.
Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow both claim to have been sexually assaulted by Weinstein around the same time as Rose McGowan made her allegations against Weinstein. Neither spoke up until now. How many people would have been saved from Weinstein’s advances had Jolie and Paltrow joined McGowan in complaining about him in 1996?
Where were Jolie and Paltrow’s moral courage, self-respect, and sense of outrage when it really mattered? Sadly the allegations against Weinstein are far from unusual. The cases against Bill Cosby, Jimmy Saville, and many other public figures tell us that sexual abuse by the rich and famous is sometimes left unchecked. People fear that they won’t be believed or that their career will be destroyed by powerful abusers.
When people like Rose McGowan speak out they are silenced, sometimes they are paid off, and too often, abusers are allowed to quietly move on to their next victim. If the allegations against Harvey Weinstein are true, actors like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and Gwyneth Paltrow should be hanging their heads in shame. They had the ability to support Rose McGowan. Together they could have stopped Weinstein. Instead, they put self-interest above self-respect and allowed Weinstein to carry on as if nothing had happened.
[Featured Image by AP Photo/File/AP Images]