When accused rapist Harvey Weinstein surrendered at a New York City police station on May 25, 2018, he wore a blue sweater and a smirk, and had two books tucked conspicuously under his arm: Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution by Todd S. Purdum and Elia Kazan: A Biography by Richard Schickel.
Kazan, who directed classic films including A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront, famously testified against friends and colleagues in 1952 during the height of the McCarthy Era, outing them as communists and destroying their careers. Despite all this, Kazan was awarded an honourary Oscar in 1999. History, it seemed, had decided that his artistic merit outweighed his lack of decency.
Weinstein’s smirk and choice of reading material sent a clear message: "I’m indestructible."
But that bravado appeared to be missing on Wednesday, when he shuffled into a Manhattan courtroom clutching a walker. His feeble appearance was particularly at odds with his reason for appearing before the judge — the accused sex criminal was there to answer charges that he tampered with his ankle monitor 57 times in just two months. His attorney Arthur Aidala claimed that the lapses in the monitor system were caused by technical glitches. He also explained that Weinstein was due to have surgery on Thursday for his back pain, but assured the court that the former producer would be back in court for his January appearance.
“There’s nobody in the world who wants January 6 to come more than him,” Aidala said. “He wants to have his name cleared for the world to know.”
The courtroom responded to this statement with laughter.
So where did the self-assured Harvey Weinstein of 2018 go? Perhaps he is suffering from the same debilitating illness that inexplicably landed Paul Manafort in a wheelchair during his trial, or accused rapist Bill Cosby to walk with a cane when he appeared in court. However it’s diagnosed, it seems clear that this particular disease primarily affects powerful men who have been brought low by their own despicable behaviour.
And with the news today that Weinstein's attorneys have reached a multi-million-dollar civil settlement that will allow him to avoid admitting to any wrongdoing, it looks like there is no cure at this time.