Hollywood Harvey

Valerie Keys, Contributing Writer

Editor’s Note: Valerie Keys is a sophomore at UNCW double majoring in Communication Studies and Theatre with a minor in Political Science. Valerie is also the head coach for UNCW’s Speech and Debate team, The Speechawks. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Valerie may be found on Twitter @ThatSoValerie. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to sld9240@uncw.edu. 

Prior to October 2017, Harvey Weinstein was arguably the most respected man in Hollywood. He founded Miramax with his brother Bob in 1979 and since, he has produced hundreds of movies, TV shows and collected an accumulation of net worth exceeding $240 million dollars.  Harvey Weinstein is a husband, father, artist and now an alleged rapist.

On October 10, some of Hollywood’s brightest stars including Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow informed the public of their forced sexual encounters with the producer. Since then, CNN has reported that over forty women have come forward with similar allegations. Erika Rosenbaum, a Canadian actress that starred in The Smurfs 2, is one of the victims that has come out. Rosenbaum told CBC in an interview that Weinstein lured her to his hotel, grabbed her by the neck so that she would facing the mirror and held her down while he masturbated behind her. The Smurfs star described Weinstein as “really taking something from me.”

The Twitter hashtag “MeToo” has gone viral with women and men of all ages telling the world their sexual assault stories. One of the first people to participate in this Twitter campaign was actor, Terry Crews. In a twenty part series of 140 characters each, Crews states that he was groped at a party by a Hollywood executive: “I decided not to take it further because it didn’t want to be ostracized because of the predator’s power and influence. I understand why women won’t let it go.”

In the United States, every 100 seconds someone is sexually assaulted. This means that there are 321,500 assault victims a year. These numbers accumulated from the Rainn Organization may seem large, yet they are an understatement, considering these consist of the number of reported assaults. The most common misconception about rape is that it happens in back alleys by strangers holding you at gunpoint. While this generalization is correct in some circumstances, the reality is that most people are sexually assaulted by people that they know. According to the Rainn Organization, 28% of assault criminals are strangers. However, whether the assaulter is a stranger, relative, or significant other, 99% of all predators walk free.

These numbers are terrifying in nature. We live in a society where it is more socially acceptable to repress our trauma than to express our feelings. Harvey Weinstein has been able to assault women for over twenty years because of his influential role in Hollywood. By threatening these actresses, secretaries and screenwriters with ruining their careers, he put them in difficult situations that would essentially scar them for life.

It is comforting to know that Harvey Weinstein has not been given the benefit of doubt in any way, shape or form. His wife of ten years has left him, he has been fired from his company, he was removed from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and his reputation as Hollywood’s Hottest Producer has been permanently tainted. However, it is disgusting and mortifying to think of all the men and women in positions of power who take advantage of those who look to them for guidance. We should be able to follow our dreams, pursue our careers and live our daily lives without Harvey Weinstein’s, Woody Allen’s, or R. Kelly’s exploiting of women and men.