by Jonah Wright, art & culture editor
Harvey Weinstein was one of the great names in modern Hollywood. He created Miramax Films and the Weinstein Company and, according to Time, is worth an estimated $240 million dollars at the least. The entertainment mogul has produced over 300 films and television shows that have influenced Hollywood for decades, including “Pulp Fiction,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and the “Lord of the Rings” franchise Harvey Weinstein was one of the great names in modern Hollywood. But he is no longer.
On October 5, The New York Times released an article titled “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.” The exposé revealed Weinstein’s long history of sexually harassing and abusing models, actresses, and many other women. The allegations range from unwanted flirting and verbal requests to rape.
Other stories have appeared in news sources across the world. The New Yorker wrote a particularly insightful piece titled “From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories” by Ronan Farrow. It chronicles in detail many of the alleged victims’ accounts, most coming from anonymous interviews of actresses and models who came into contact with Weinstein. It is a graphic, revelatory, and deeply personal look into the people affected.
The article also details people on his staff who enabled his actions. Assistants and executives in his company set up private meetings with models and actresses and then turned their heads. Weinstein’s actions have been an open secret in Hollywood circles for decades.
Film director Quentin Tarantino, who has worked closely with Weinstein on many projects, said in an interview with the New York Times, “I knew enough to do more than I did… There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”
Tarantino is one of many of Weinstein’s co-laborers who ignored his actions and are now releasing condemning statements. There was even a joke made about it in the 2013 Oscars. Host Seth MacFarlane congratulated the best supporting actress nominees and said that they “no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
A cover-up of this proportion has led many to believe that this kind of sexual harassment is prolific in the entertainment industry. Weinstein is not the first man in Hollywood to abuse his power. Award-winning directors Woody Allen and Roman Polanski have both been accused or convicted of statutory rape. Leaders in the entertainment industry taking advantage of young performers has become a cliché. Too many women are being abused and silenced by powerful men like Weinstein.
Many students at Moody feel called to help women who have been sexually exploited, and there is a major dedicated to that mission. These students, and others who are passionate about reaching unreached people groups, should consider entering a post-Weinstein Hollywood as their mission field.
On the heels of the Weinstein scandal, Moody hosted Mission’s Conference. The theme was H.E.R., which focused on honoring, empowering, and releasing women to do what the Lord has called them to. The main speaker, Carolyn Custis-James, spoke of a patriarchy that has demeaned women since the fall of humanity. While the topic of the patriarchy was spoken about more historically and globally, Weinstein’s actions reveal an unhealthy patriarchy here and now.
Students often feel convicted to reach the lost after Mission’s Conference but have no idea where to go. There are not enough missionaries entering the hostile environment of the entertainment industry. Imagine the global impact of a redeemed Hollywood. Men like Weinstein have been the face of the entire art of cinema since its invention. Redemption is long overdue.