Here we go again. Almost like clockwork, the topic that comes up more frequently on my blog than any other — The List! Men behaving shamefully by forcing themselves on women in ways that can’t be described on a family blog. The List (started around 2010) is bi-partisan, an “all sides now” ode to the many ways in which sexual harassment and assault appears to be some guys’ idea of a perk of power. Presidents, Democrats, Republicans, Television stars, Athletes, Corporate Titans and more…. if you’re a powerful guy who can’t keep it under control, you might be on The List! (Yes, on rare occasions, women can make The List, too, but the vast majority of perps are the male of the species.)
Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein is the latest sleazy guy to ooze his way onto The List. As reported in The New York Times, Weinstein’s abuse of women — actresses, employees at his company, who knows what others — stretches back decades. The powerful producer of such notable films as “Good Will Hunting,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “Shakespeare in Love” treated women like dirt and this problem was apparently an open secret in Hollywood for decades. Weinstein was fired on Sunday, but no pity for him, he will probably walk away with millions, just like the late Roger Ailes at Fox and Bill O’Reilly, also of Fox.
Republicans, eager to score political points over the gross misconduct of a well-known Democratic power broker, leapt on the Weinstein story and muted response from Hollywood and Democrats generally. (An exception is Meryl Streep who issued a statement denouncing Weinstein.) GOP operatives accused Democrats of hypocrisy, and President Trump felt the need to pile-on saying he was “not surprised” by the Weinstein charges while dismissing his own lewd remarks about women as mere “locker room talk.”
Look, guys, there’s plenty of shame and scandal on ALL sides and abusing women is not a political game. Whether it’s Bill Clinton or Donald Trump, Bill Cosby or Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harvey Weinstein or Bill O’Reilly, it’s all the same — men being predators, treating women like objects for their own pleasure, men demeaning women to assert power, men in powerful positions behaving in shamefully self-absorbed ways that decent, civilized people find intolerable.
Nobody should excuse any of this behavior. None of it is defensible. Weinstein’s board was right to fire him but we can only ask, what took them so long? And we have to ask, as we have so many times before, what is wrong with these people? Why don’t men in power know that, sooner or later, they will be found out? And what went wrong with their moral education that makes them feel they can be exceptions to any normal rules about sex and how they treat women?
Stay tuned, I am sure that there will be another installment of The List in the months ahead… sad, but true….