Over the past several weeks, allegations of sexual assault and rape directed at Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein have abounded, with actresses including Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie among the accusers.
Harvey Weinstein was born in New York City on March 19th, 1952. Founder of Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company, he has worked as executive producer on multiple award-winning films, including the Lord of the Rings and Spy Kids Trilogies; his work earned him an honorary CBE in 2004 and an appointment as a knight of the French Legion D’Honneur in 2012.
On October 5th, a story was published by the New York Times about the 65-year-old producer. It documented accusations of inappropriate behaviour on Weinstein’s part, including the promise of career favours in exchange for sex. The Times’ investigation stated that nearly thirty years’ worth of allegations against Weinstein were uncovered.
That same day, Weinstein released a public apology whilst simultaneously disputing the New York Times report.
On October 10th, another report was published by the New Yorker in which more women recounted Weinstein making sexual advances towards, sexually harassing or, in some cases, raping them. Dozens more employees, assistants and executives were stated to have known of his behaviour. In the report, one executive directly claimed that his behaviour was ongoing for decades, disregarding the consent of the women he targeted.
Over the following week, over a dozen women stepped forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment and, in some cases, rape. This has resulted in multiple organisations taking action against Weinstein; BAFTA, The Oscars and the Producers Guild of America have all voted to expel him, while his own Weinstein Company fired him.
Almost three weeks on from the publication of the Times’ report, Weinstein is under criminal investigation in the United States and the United Kingdom, and over fifty women have accused him of various forms of abusive behaviour. Hollywood stars such as George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio have denounced him, as have the Democratic Party in the United States, of which he was a long-time donor.
The stories which have emerged about Harvey Weinstein have also served as a catalyst for #MeToo, a social media campaign encouraging women in all industries to speak out about inappropriate behaviour towards them, both past and present.
While this story is far from finished, the sheer number of alleged victims and the ongoing campaign to expose this kind of behaviour in all forms of life suggest that change-in one form or another-is inevitable.