When news broke Thursday that film mogul Harvey Weinstein allegedly sexually harassed women over three decades, it felt all too familiar. Men in positions of power have long gotten away with abuse, and there are many reasons why. They often have an in-house infrastructure that maintains their power which ranges from complicit subordinates, to apologist higher-ups, to a toxic workplace and/or social culture. All of these strings have a common rape culture-y thread: "they asked for it," "they're lying," "that guy would never hurt anyone." As one agent put it to Vulture, "He asked for a few massages? Waaah! Welcome to Hollywood!"
Weinstein later lambasted The Times' reporting in an interview with Page Six Thursday evening, adding that he's going to sue the paper for $50 million. This even though Weinstein offered a sort of confession in a statement he gave to The Times following the original article's publication. "I came of age in the '60s and '70s, when all the rules about behaviors and workplaces were different. That was the culture then," he wrote. "I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it." Then he inexplicably quoted Jay Z and ended on his promise to fight the NRA. His lawyer said Friday this did not imply an admission of sexual harassment.
Whether Weinstein survives remains to be seen. Some in Hollywood think a comeback is possible. But this isn't just a Hollywood story — it fits a larger pattern including the tales of Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly. That's because this year is not like the others. Ever since Trump was elected to office in the wake of a sexual assault scandal, there has been something of an uprising among women who are disgusted by him and men like him.
Roger Ailes. L.A. Reid. Travis Kalanick—there's a powerful man for almost every sector. And although once upon a time men like this got away with fomenting a culture of toxic masculinity, that veneer appears to be cracking. The following is a list of the titans who have fallen this year. In these cases, their accusers — who were mostly women — were heard.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).