Not All Men. But, You Know. A Lot.

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

Under the deservedly blunt Guardian headline "Hollywood men silent over Weinstein allegations as women speak out," Sam Levin and Julia Carrie Wong report:
Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, and dozens of other women in Hollywood have condemned the producer Harvey Weinstein amid a growing number of sexual harassment allegations. Most high-profile men in the industry, however, have remained silent.

...Shortly after the New York Times story went viral last week, many prominent women in Hollywood lent their voices in support of the accusers. Patricia Arquette, Amber Tamblyn, Olivia Munn, Lena Dunham, Brie Larson, Constance Wu, Rosie O'Donnell, America Ferrera, Jessica Chastain, and others tweeted soon after it published.

...The actors Seth Rogen and Mark Ruffalo have spoken up, but most male celebrities with ties to Weinstein have chosen not to comment, even after Weinstein was ousted from his own company.

The Guardian contacted representatives of actors who have starred in Weinstein films, including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Colin Firth, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Russell Crowe, George Clooney and Ewan McGregor, along with the directors Tarantino, Russell, Ryan Coogler, Tom Hooper, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michael Moore, Rob Marshall, Robert Pulcini, Garth Davis, Doug McGrath, John Madden, Simon Curtis, Kevin Williamson, Martin Scorsese, John Hillcoat, and John Wells.

None commented, despite the fact that many have been vocal about gender equality in the industry and other social justice causes. Many have directly criticized Donald Trump amid similar accusations of sexual misconduct.
George Clooney eventually made a statement to the Daily Beast, in which he said Weinstein's behavior is "indefensible," but made sure to defended himself by saying: "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."

Except, you know, he also had this to say: "A lot of people are doing the 'you had to know' thing right now, and yes, if you're asking if I knew that someone who was very powerful had a tendency to hit on young, beautiful women, sure. But I had no idea that it had gone to the level of having to pay off eight women for their silence, and that these women were threatened and victimized." Welp.

And Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted this morning: "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."

One of the things I most hate when men finally do speak up is the ubiquitous sentiment, expressed here by Miranda, that "everyone" objects to sexual abuse. Like, obviously, duh. It's a way of suggesting that his silence until now (which he also blamed on having his staff curate his news) doesn't matter, because it should be self-evident that he objects, just like everyone else "with a beating heart."

Except not everyone objects to sexual abuse. Certainly not its perpetrators. Certainly not the people who helped keep Weinstein's abuse secret (from everyone but his victims and all of us who were paying attention). Certainly not the people who have been harassing the fuck out of any female survivor who has spoken out in solidarity with Weinstein's victims.

And certainly not the men who refuse to comment at all, even when asked directly. Or who do, reluctantly, but mostly just to have an opportunity to make excuses for themselves.

* * *

Note: Just after I finished writing this piece, Ronan Farrow's extensive article documenting his ten-month investigation into the allegations against Harvey Weinstein was made available online. Please be advised that there are multiple descriptions of sexual assault and harassment in the piece, which is incredibly difficult to read, but also an important document.

What's critically valuable about Farrow's piece is that we see, through survivors' own words, how the rape culture works — and how it is so devastatingly easy and for one man to manipulate its pieces to serve his disgusting agenda.

This article, because of Farrow's sensitivity to the subject matter and the safety he evidently provided to survivors who spoke with him, also makes abundantly clear that harm was Weinstein's objective. That he delighted in his sadism. That sexual violence is not a mistake.

I don't know how many times survivors speaking to a reporter for the corporate press have said they could see their abuser was turned on by their fear, but this is the first time I recall having read it.

My profound gratitude to the women who spoke to Ronan Farrow, and to him for the way he shared their stories.

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