After a New York Times exposé revealed longtime Hollywood honcho Harvey Weinstein to have been hushing up decades of sexual assault accusations against him, the man was promptly fired from his own Weinstein Company. Several notable A-listers who’ve collab’d with Weinstein in the past have since spoken up condemning his alleged crimes.
Actresses including Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Glenn Close, Rose McGowan and Jessica Chastain have all spoken out against his “appalling” and “disgusting” sexual abuse history. Now, Lena Dunham, who was one of the first to respond to the Times article, has called on Hollywood’s leading men to speak up in a new Times op-ed she wrote.
“Ignoring bad behavior remains the signature move of men in Hollywood. I hear stories from victims themselves at a rate that feels positively dystopian,” she writes. “Last year, I was sexually harassed by a director of a show, not my own, and not on a set, and the response by the powers that be was to defend him, question the women ferociously and take ages before letting him go from the network. It was a move based less on his skill than on some ancient loyalty. It’s that kind of behavior that normalizes this abuse of power.
The accusations against Mr. Weinstein, so clearly outlined and so completely horrifying, seemed impossible to dispute or ignore. I naïvely expected that the reticence that Hollywood’s powerful men have shown, the collective refusal to take sides in he-said she-said narratives, would be crushed in the face of this open secret being revealed definitively. The reason I am zeroing in on the men is that they have the least to lose and the most power to shift the narrative, and are probably not dealing with the same level of collective and personal trauma around these allegations. But here we are, days later, waiting for Mr. Weinstein’s most powerful collaborators to say something. Anything. It wouldn’t be just a gift to the women he has victimized, but a message to the women who are watching our industry closely. They need a signal that we do not approve of the abuse of power and hatred of women that is the driving force behind this kind of behavior.”
Some, though not many, men from the industry have, indeed, spoken up. George Clooney, a longtime film collaborator of Weinstein’s, told The Daily Beast “It’s indefensible. That’s the only word you can start with. Harvey’s admitted to it, and it’s indefensible. I’ve known Harvey for 20 years. He gave me my first big break as an actor in films on From Dusk Till Dawn, he gave me my first big break as a director with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. We’ve had dinners, we’ve been on location together, we’ve had arguments. But I can tell you that I’ve never seen any of this behavior—ever.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda also spoke out today against the exec’s record, saying:
I’m as appalled and repulsed by the Weinstein news as anyone with a beating heart. And forever in awe of the bravery of those who spoke out.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) October 10, 2017