The world now “knows” that Harvey Weinstein, the movie mogul who has had incredible success in re-inventing himself and his
companies to maximize profits while sexually abusing women at will, it seems, has gone to sex rehab. What would Amy Winehouse have done with that one? . Of course, we must say “it seems” because we live in a litigious world and Harvey, although he’s settled multiple sexual harassment suits, is still “innocent.” Never thought I’d use the word innocent in a sentence discussing sexual predators. And Weinstein says he has made “mistakes” but what does that mean? He approached the wrong women who wouldn’t keep quiet? Who knows. It’s all spin.
Hollywood has had its fill of letches-in-powerful positions as studio executives, directors, and producers. All those sweet young things who knew the way to San Jose, for the most part, probably ran up against one or more. Most, if not the majority of them, found themselves in places and with people to whom they weren’t attracted but who demanded sexual favors from them.
They were young, ambitious and wanted careers. Some of them probably had a great deal of talent we’ll never know about because they denied the wrong demon his or her request. Careers ended before they were begun. That fear alone kept the entertainment world’s predators safe from public scrutiny and legal consequences. Besides, who would believe them? They were “famous” (a line Harvey supposedly used and Trump used “millionaire”). Look at Roman Polanski and the rape of a 14-year-old girl. What about the allegations against Hugh Hefner? Then, of course, there was Louis B. Mayer and the others.
Harvey claims he “made mistakes” and now he needs “help.” I suppose some may see that as a mark of him wanting to redeem himself and his career if not his studio (he was fired). One wonders how this has affected his wife, four daughters and one son. Undoubtedly, it is a stain on the family no matter how you try to spin it and spin it Harvey will.
The spin with rehab may have begun. But I’m reminded about how effective therapy for anger management was for O. J. Simpson. Therapy or sexual rehab with sexual predators may not be effective at all in the long run. I can hear the professional squeals of disagreement now.
I’m not an expert on those who abuse their power to satisfy their sexual appetites but what I do know is that the ones I’ve heard about don’t regret it and continued to do it. They weren’t in the world of entertainment, either. One psychiatrist at a hospital claimed that his rape of female patients in his office was “therapy.” Another psychiatrist, who groped women’s breasts, said he was “entitled to a physical exam.” A woman psychologist said her sex, in her office, with a young male patient, was also “therapy.”
Sexual predators, male and female, are in any field you’d like to name from politics, the religious life to medical professionals and everything in between. The one thing they all have is power over someone in one form or another. And they count on the power of secrecy, too. Secrecy that their victims will be ashamed, intimidated or frightened that a pound of flesh will be extracted from them.
Today, another actress forward with a tale of an unwanted sexual interaction with Harvey Weinstein and I suppose there will be others. The police in Great Britain are looking into allegations regarding him and women in their country and, who knows, there may be more on the European continent.
I recall going to a professional seminar a long time ago. The presenter said something quite prophetic. Sex offenders begin somewhat benignly and then they escalate their activity just as serial murderers do. The pleasure is in the danger that is involved and the more danger, the greater the satisfaction.
Harvey certainly knew about the danger factor, but no consequences for him, he believed. The danger lay with the victims who endangered their careers. But I have to ask a question that must be vexing a lot of you, too: How can the Miramax company board claim they didn’t know about his activities? Didn’t someone have to sign off on all those settlements? Did Harvey Weinstein pay all these settlements out of his own pocket or were they reported on the balance sheet as some other type of expense?