In March, Nona Willis Aronowitz published an article titled "Meet the Woke Misogynist" on Splinter. Aronowitz pointed out that, in an era when feminism has turned "fashionable," there's often reason to be wary of men who list off their feminist credentials just a little too enthusiastically.
Aronowitz's article proved to be somewhat prophetic. Over the past several months, dozens of men across all industries have been accused of sexual misconduct. Many of these alleged assailants, such as Al Franken, have track records of supporting feminist causes. And you know who else has a similar track record? Harvey Weinstein, the accused sexual predator whose alleged actions sparked an avalanche of women coming forward in Hollywood, Washington, D.C., and beyond.
Today The New York Times published another damning report about Weinstein titled "Weinstein's Complicity Machine," outlining in great detail the myriad connections the producer formed in order to protect himself and silence his accusers. Although the entire report is absolutely worth reading, one thing that stands out is Weinstein's use of political connections as a way to gain points from feminists.
It's no secret that Weinstein was a longtime donor to Democrats. He had also formed a relationship with Barack and Michelle Obama, whose daughter Malia interned at the Weinstein Company.
In the wake of the allegations against Weinstein, Hillary Clinton, along with senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker, all announced they would donate money they had received from Weinstein to various charities. But, according to today's New York Times report, Weinstein also used these political connections as a method of intimidation. "I know the president of the United States. Who do you know?" Weinstein reportedly told those who dared attempt to expose him.
The outlet also uncovered emails about a documentary he planned to work on with 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. A strong connection to Clinton – who was playing "the woman card" during her campaign – was the ideal way for Weinstein to further establish himself as a feminist ally. New Yorker editor Tina Brown and actress Lena Dunham say they attempted to warn Clinton's aides about Weinstein, but her lawyer reportedly ignored the warnings and simply expressed that he was "hopeful we can get a good price" for the documentary.
As we now know, Weinstein's behavior was an open secret in Hollywood. But thanks to his carefully formed network, Weinstein spent decades viewed as a feminist ally in the public eye. And there's a reason the word of the year is complicit: His image could have been shattered and he could have been exposed years ago if people in entertainment, politics, and the media had been brave enough to call him out.