It's been less than two weeks since The New York Times published its damning report titled "Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades" and, if there's one thing that's become crystal clear, it's that Weinstein's alleged behaviour was an "open secret" in Hollywood.
In a powerful article published in The Hollywood Reporter today, Gilmore Girls producer Gavin Polone addresses the fact that Weinstein was aided and abetted at every turn — and his accomplices must be held accountable.
Polone recalls that in December 2014 he penned a separate column for The Hollywood Reporter calling on journalists to "investigate a certain unnamed important film executive for his alleged repeated sexual assaults." Polone writes that he received many calls and messages regarding the perpetrator. The most common response: "It’s Harvey, isn’t it?"
"Most of those to whom I spoke around the time that column was published had never met Weinstein, or, if they had, didn’t know him well. I don’t know the man either. And yet, we all heard the stories of his ugly conduct. And if we heard, one would have to believe that almost all of his associates, friends and intimates also heard," Polone writes. "And if they knew and ignored such consistent and extreme actions, or worse yet, helped to protect Weinstein by facilitating settlements or killing news stories relating to his activity, thus shielding him from prosecution and ejection from this industry, then they are absolutely complicit."
More and more women are speaking out about Weinstein's actions, and criminal investigations are underway in New York City and London. But Polone makes the incredibly important point that the Weinstein scandal is not just about one person: It's about the many people who played a role in covering up Weinstein's alleged crimes. If we don't acknowledge that the problem is bigger than Weinstein himself, it's hard to imagine making any progress whatsoever when it comes to preventing future abuses of power.
"As more and more stories of Weinstein’s alleged crimes are uncovered, it is important that they not obscure the fact that others, possibly many others, abetted, through their actions or inactions, Harvey’s spree of depravity," Polone writes.
And he doesn't stop there: Polone names the individuals and organisations "where the investigation of All of Harvey’s Men should begin." He calls for an open and impartial investigation of Bob Weinstein, other powerful executives at the company, the New York DA's office, and news agencies that quashed stories about Weinstein.
"It is inane to wallow in incredulity about what Harvey Weinstein and others did and then do nothing. Now is time to act," Polone concludes.
Weinstein and Weinstein alone is responsible for his actions, but we need to take a long hard look at powerful men who aid and abet other powerful men in order to maintain their statuses, careers, and lifestyles. Those who are complicit must also be held accountable. By using his platform and power to bring attention to this issue, Polone has shown what it looks like to truly be an ally. I hope that powerful men in Hollywood and other industries follow his lead, because it's hard to imagine that things will improve if men continue to stay silent and look the other way when women are victimised by those in power.