Harvey Weinstein’s crimes are disgusting, but not surprising

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Harvey Weinstein has dominated media headlines lately due to an increasing onslaught of accusations made against him regarding many alleged acts of sexual assault.

I wish I could say that finding out about this news shook me to my core, but it didn’t. Reading about his repugnant behaviour detailed in a gripping article from The New Yorker, was difficult, but not unprecedented. Listening to a recording where he starred in an Oscarwinning performance as the entertainment industry’s leading scumbag, left me fuming, but not surprised.

People acted aghast when Bill Cosby, America’s beloved, jovial comedian, was accused of being a serial rapist. There is a Wikipedia page dedicated solely to these sexual assault allegations, with a victim list of over 50 women’s claims. He is currently awaiting a second trial date that is set for March 2018.

Jian Ghomeshi, a popular CBC radio host, was charged with four counts of sexual assault. A large portion of the public turned the blame onto the victims and he was eventually acquitted of all charges.

I could keep naming men in the entertainment world who have abused their positions of power, fame and money in order to assault, rape and harass the women around them without repercussions, but that would be a depressingly long list.

Weinstein’s heinous behaviour, despite it being commonly known and a prominent rumour within the bubble of the Hollywood elite and many of his coworkers, was disregarded for over twenty years.

As such, he was able to establish an incredibly successful career and company. He managed to slip through the suspicious fingers of newspaper publications like the New York Times with the alleged assistance of nice-guy actor Matt Damon.

There will be deafening cries of “not all men!” which is an obvious, yet lamely contrived attempt to derail the issue at hand. Of course not all men are capable of or willing to commit these atrocities, but it does not take away from the fact that they happen and they happen far too often without the proper fallout and scrutiny.

Reactions to Weinstein have been mixed, from emboldened voices detailing their disgust over his actions and others sharing their own personal accounts of sexual assault in and out of Hollywood, to non-apologies from male actors who hollowly state that they had no idea he could do such horrible things.

There are no “buts” or “what ifs,” there should be no fucking debate over what the person was wearing when it happened to somehow insinuate that showing skin is an automatic plea for harassment. I could walk down King Street stark naked right now and it wouldn’t give anyone the right to touch me without my consent.

Then, there are those who stand atop soap boxes of hypocrisy, doubtful naysayers who steadfastly want to believe the best in a proven sexual predator, over the numerous accusations made against him and an audio recording that verifies this behaviour.

In a proclamation of the utmost irony, Woody Allen has come forward as one of those doubters, saying that he worries that it will start a “witch hunt” that extends to all men, ones who could face charges for simply winking at a woman in the workplace.

A creepy weasel like Allen who has his own fair share of skeletons in the closet should know better than to voice the only opinion you would expect from an asserted sexual predator like himself.

I have seen calls for women to dress more modestly from a fashion designer to a noted feminist and successful actress. This rests behind the disturbing notion that there is somehow even a shred of justification in what Weinstein has done and the damage he has inflicted on numerous women who were merely trying to make careers for themselves in such a venomous, precarious business.

I’m going to say it now, loudly for those in the back, that there is no excuse for sexual assault. Ever.

There are no “buts” or “what ifs,” there should be no fucking debate over what the person was wearing when it happened to somehow insinuate that showing skin is an automatic plea for harassment. I could walk down King Street stark naked right now and it wouldn’t give anyone the right to touch me without my consent.

These allegations are an unfortunate commonality in the society we live in. The denial that surrounds these crimes when they come to light is always disheartening. It contributes to the idea that the accused are to be pitied, above being held accountable for the crimes they commit.

As Emma Thompson stated in an interview with BBC News, I don’t think you can describe him as a sex addict, he’s a predator.

Sadly, she is right and Weinstein is not the first, nor will he be the last sexual abuser to come out of Hollywood.

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