In the beginning of October, the cover was fully blown off Harvey Weinstein. That is to say, the general public finally agreed, as a whole, that Weinstein is a massive sexual predator. In a ground breaking New Yorker piece, Ronan Farrow details a ten month investigation that led to uncovering dozens of women that reported Weinstein had sexually harassed them over the course of his career as a big-wig movie executive. According to reporting by NBC News, there are now 59 women who have accused Weinstein, including an Italian model who says Weinstein raped her. Weinstein is now under investigation for sexual harassment and assault and has been removed from his position in the Directors Guild.
Yesterday news broke that around 40 women have accused director James Toback of sexual harassment including going up to random women on the street, asking them for auditions and then harassing them. “Stranger Things” star Finn Wolfhard fired his agent because another actor claimed they had been sexually harassed.
After reading this you may say it’s a bad time to be a sexual harasser in Hollywood and the era of these horrible individuals is over. Unfortunately, that is very far from the truth. Throughout the comedy world there are rumors that Louis C.K. might be a closet sexual harasser. Fox News has also renewed Bill O’Reilly’s contracts after settlements were reached with the victims of sexual assault. Not to mention the “#metoo” campaign showing how deep and widespread harassment, assault and rape are across the country.
Yet none of these accusations or reporting are actually that new. Weinstein has been settling harassment cases since the ‘90s. Director James Gunn has been writing about Toback’s crimes and trying to bring them to light since 2012. This stuff has been happening forever. It is only now coming to light because people’s attitudes are finally changing.
It is unfortunate to say, but the acts of these men do not represent some kind of wild outliers in society. If the “#metoo” campaign is anything to go off of, they represent the norm. According the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women will be sexually assaulted in their lives and one in 17 men will be sexually assaulted in their lives. That’s 20 percent of women and just about five percent of men. Those numbers are completely ridiculous. So why, as a society, have we not actually done anything to address the problem?
Problems are some things best addressed from the top and if you look at the top of everything in this country you see the same thing; old, white men. These old, white men have all the power in the world, power that allows them to get away with everything and anything. We see it at all levels where someone holds power over someone else. It’s not a Democrat or Republican problem. It’s a power struggle problem and in our society the power is with the old white men.
At the top we see it from our president and vice president. One of them bragged openly about sexually assaulting women and then blew it off as locker room talk. The other one said he doesn’t do one-on-one meetings (like dinner) with women because he might not be able to control himself. What the hell does any of that mean?
The easiest solution would be to ostracize every single person who commits such acts and make sure they face real justice, but seeing how the white elite control everything, that’s not going to happen. That means there is no simple solution except to keep being loud and keep speaking out. Hopefully, one day we, as a society, will actually be better for once and horrible people like Weinstein and Toback will never have the opportunity to hurt someone again.
Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email email@example.com. He tweets at @amar_batra19.