Entertainment industry suffers from Weinstein malaise

By Wendy Min Source:Global Times Published: 2017/10/31 22:58:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Sifting through Harvey Weinstein's photos, you see his connections with the elite, the powerful and the stars. Now, all those who knew him have kept a distance.

In a statement in his defense, Weinstein put the blame on the culture he grew up in. Workplace in the 1960s was different and so were the rules. You would think that we should have progressed a little but this is not the case. "Erotic," "babe," "doll," "sexy" and "sex sells" will never die down in this industry filled with glitter and flashing lights. 

Exposing him is often dubbed that "watershed moment" - a term so often used by other actors who have now come to the defense of these poor women. However, his behavior has been known for decades. If you insist that everyone who he has worked with had no clue about it, you are lying. From agents to producers to directors to other actors, their often indifferent acknowledgement and silence reflects the overall culture of the entertainment industry.

Weinstein is not the only evil producer out there resorting to bullying, harassment and intimidation … promising young stars of fame through "hop-in-bed-to-get-noticed" and giving them the casting couch. The alleged sexual assault of a minor by Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey is another proof.

In the age of social media where victims can speak up through a simple hashtag #metoo and where media jumps at such stories, empowerment means that many have finally felt comfortable in coming forward.

I find a few things in this drama laughable. First, I laugh when actors like George Clooney claim that they had no idea about his behavior and allegations so they are visibly shocked by it.

Ha! You owed your success to Weinstein. You and the many turn the other way to get famous. You hope to take advantage of Weinstein's networks so that you can become one of the elite and now, when he is exposed, you try to be that compassionate moral compass.

Maybe I'm being a bit too harsh! Since when, faced with formidable and well-resourced people who determine your career, it is human nature to just stay quiet and only speak up when the bandwagon arrives?

Second, I find it laughable when some see the fault in the women because it is them who have incited men to act this way. Real men don't take advantage of others then place the blame elsewhere.

Third, when some claim that Weinstein is racist because he only targets Caucasian women, I'd like to remind them that he is rather a multicultural pervert whose victims span the globe.

Actors need to establish intimacy with the character they portray, with colleagues, with themselves and with the audience. This connection, whether emotional or physical, is at the core of their profession. When they are required to be open and intimate, boundaries are blurred and a "casual" culture is infused.

Sometimes, you need to roll with the punches, go with the flow, have some fun and take it easy to get around in this industry, even if it means facing abuse. Those with resources and connections know all too well the inner workings of this industry, and if they feel like it, they can manipulate this to suit themselves.

The impunity of powerful men and acting blind to all these abuses only keeps this sleazy culture alive. Watershed moment? It's more the tip of the iceberg and a long chain of dirty laundry that people selectively choose to forget.

Yes, Weinstein is a powerful predator with tricks up his sleeves and he can have his way, but he is not the only one out there using bullying, threats, abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation to have his way in and around Hollywood.

Outcries will continue to be heard and though one has fallen, many other predators are lying dormant. No watershed and no change … just a mere symptom of the hopeless state when money, fame and power are at play.

Hands are loose, people are abused, perpetrators remain at large and these stars are still worshipped by adoring fans ...... pft!

The author is a freelance writer. She was born in China, raised in Australia, educated in China, Australia and France. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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