A Reflection on the Harvey Weinstein Accusations: Are We Finally Going to Change Something?

Unfortunately, I cannot say that I was surprised when it was released in the New York Times investigation a few weeks back that for decades, women have been sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein, one of Hollywood’s biggest movie moguls. Not because I have heard of any accusations against Weinstein before, but because sexual harassment happens all too often.

Last year, Casey Affleck made headlines when it came out that in 2010, two women working on a film with Affleck filed suits of sexual misconduct against him. The suit was settled and Affleck was sued. Manchester by the Sea, the film he starred in, was nominated for various awards last season, including an Academy Award for Best Actor in which he won.

Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock films such as The Birds and Marine recently claimed in her memoir that one of the world’s most iconic directors sexually harassed her while on set in the 1960’s.

In 1992, Dylan Farrow told her mother that her father, Woody Allen, had sexually abused her during his visit. She was only seven at the time. And there are more too. Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, and even our own President have been accused on similar measures.

Photo credit: ABC

So my question is simple: why do we keep allowing these people to work in Hollywood? Various people have come out after the Weinstein allegations saying they knew enough to do something. One of those people was Pulp Fiction director, Quentin Tarantino, who had worked with Weinstein before. In an interview reported by the New York Times, he said “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.”

When Casey Affleck won the Academy Award for Best Actor last year, people were furious, but maybe for the wrong reasons. Of course, the Academy shouldn’t be honoring a man who had been sued for sexual harassment less than a decade before. However, why was he cast in the role in the first place? Why are we still producing Woody Allen and Roman Polanski films?

I was truly shocked by the aftermath of the Weinstein allegations. He was fired from his own production company, his wife left him, and people in the industry continue to speak out against him. Maybe this is because he is such a large executive in Hollywood, or maybe we are finally starting to approach sexual harassment accusations differently.

Photo Credit: Variety

Something else that came out of these allegations was Facebook’s #MeToo campaign, where women were able to post that they too had experienced sexual assault. While seeing these posts and reading the stories was heartbreaking, it was a complete wake-up call that something has to be done.

Brushing off these claims by believing Hollywood is just a corrupt system is not acceptable anymore, and we’re finally starting to see that as more incidents come to light each year. The higher-ups in the industry are taking advantage of others, and that’s not something I am willing to just accept. People who have been accused of sexual assault should not be working in the industry, and this extends outside of Hollywood too.

Right now, I think the most important thing we can do is talk about it. Weinstein was highly covered in the news and as a result, was fired. However, we’re still dealing with actors, directors, and producers who still have promising careers despite sexual harassment claims. We’re finally starting to enter a time where these things are not taboo topics. If we’re able to talk about past and present allegations, maybe Hollywood will too.

In light of such an awful case, we have still been able to find some effective outcomes. How Hollywood deals with sexual assault may be a slow change, but luckily progress is being made. Hopefully, in the future, Weinstein will serve as an example for Hollywood, and people will be held accountable for their actions. But until then, let’s continue to talk about these recurring issues because they can’t be left in the dark.