The Weinstein Conundrum

Why, exactly, did Harvey Weinstein get axed right now?

Sherlock Holmes once noted that the fact that the dog did not bark in the night during a crime he was investigating was a major clue.  The great detective deduced that the perpetrator had to have been a member of the household whom the dog accepted, not some unknown intruder.

The strangest aspect of the recent destruction of Harvey Weinstein, formerly a major pillar of the Hollywood artistic community and donor to the Democratic party, is that the social media dog, not having barked for at least three decades, suddenly started barking about him without anything apparently having changed.

This leads to a question: Having ignored his reprehensible abusive actions for decades, why are our media suddenly treating Mr. Weinstein like a Republican caught in a sexual scandal?

Sexual Assault: A Republican-Only Crime

It's not that our media and our elected representatives haven't known how to deal with sexual assault.  In 1998, the LA Times, which covers most of the Hollywood glitterati, reported that sexual assault could be punished when committed by Republicans:

Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.), isolated from even his strongest defenders in the Senate, bowed to mounting demands for his ouster and tearfully announced Thursday that he intends to resign rather than bring further disgrace to an institution that has been his life for 27 years.

... allegations that Packwood made unwanted sexual advances toward at least 17 women between 1969 and 1990.

This was the first time the US Senate had been involved in a sex abuse case involving a member, but they came to the right conclusion: Sen. Packwood's behavior was reprehensible and unacceptable, and he was forced out of office.

A few months later, impeachment was initiated against Bill Clinton on well-documented charges of perjury and of obstruction of justice: Mr. Clinton had lied about his sexual involvement with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky and tried to cover up evidence.

The Senate refused to convict him upon impeachment, even though there was ample evidence that he had behaved in much the same way as Senator Packwood who had been forced to resign; the vote was along party lines.  The Washington Post said:

[Paula] Jones's lawyers had collected the names of 21 different women they suspected had had a sexual relationship with Clinton.

Mr. Clinton wasn't the only Democrat whose abuse was ignored.  The Independent asks:

... how did President Kennedy get away with being both president and promiscuous?  ...

While it is almost inconceivable that journalists were unaware of his womanising, Kennedy had built up enough goodwill among editors to ensure it was discreetly overlooked.

The Independent could have pointed out that the American media have always been easier on Democrats than on Republicans.  The Daily Mail reminded us that President Kennedy's younger brother Senator "Chappaquiddick Ted" not only abused many women, he abandoned a young women to die of asphyxiation after running his car into a river:

Divers later estimated that if he had called them immediately, they would have had time to pull out Mary Jo. She had not drowned, but had survived in an air pocket inside the car - she was asphyxiated only when the oxygen ran out several hours later.

He staggered from scandal to scandal, reduced to fodder for lurid 'supermarket' tabloid newspapers.

Given that our media and our politicians let the "Liberal Lion" get away with manslaughter and overlooked Bill Clinton's abuse of women, why would Mr. Weinstein have expected anything to happen to him, particularly after Mr. Obama's daughter Malia was a summer intern at his company?

Weinstein Background

Mr. Weinstein was well-known in Hollywood circles:

  • If he liked a script, he could raise money to turn it into a movie.
  • Having raised the money, he influenced who would be cast in the various roles required by the script.
  • His movies tended to make a lot of money for investors and for ranking cast members.  This made people want to be in his movies.
  • He was skilled at lobbying for his movies and actors to receive Oscars.  Many Oscar winners have expressed their gratitude to him for helping them.

The scandal revolves around the fact that actors and actresses can not be evaluated in the same way as athletes.  By the time athletes are ready to start professional play, enough statistics have been collected that teams can decide objectively whether an athlete's skills match their needs.  When casting a part in a movie, however, the director either needs someone who can act the part in the script or someone whose personality matches the part closely enough that they don't have to act, neither of which can be demonstrated by statistics beforehand.

Whomever has final say on who will play each part exercises a great deal of independent judgment.  Competition can be fierce for parts which might offer future fame, fortune, and especially both.  The Economist explained:

"I spent a great deal of time on my knees," Marilyn Monroe once said of how she became a film star. "If you didn't go along, there were 25 girls who would."

A quote from actress Ashley Judd published in Time, October 23, 2017, page 6 testifies to his power:

How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?

Ms. Judd did not appreciate Mr. Weinstein's invitation to watch him take a shower, she says, but her major concern was to stay in his good graces because of his ability to advance or destroy her acting career.

The "casting couch" where women audition for parts predates Hollywood.  The Atlantic explained how Broadway casting decisions were made in the early 1900s:

"If you didn't sleep with them you didn't get the part," the dancer Agnes de Mille would later recall about the Shubert brothers. "The Shuberts ran a brothel: Let them sue me."

Although everyone who is anyone in Hollywood claims to have known for years that women who desired to play in Mr. Weinstein's moves had to pay him off in sexual currency, nobody talked about it until the New York Times finally broke the story on October 5.

American Thinker reported that Mr. Weinstein seems to have been following the longstanding tradition of liberals being able to get away with sexual assault:

Woman after woman, 35 at the last count, say Weinstein would lure actresses up to his hotel rooms; show up naked or in a bathrobe; demand sex and massages; and downright rape, as was the case claimed with a couple of European actresses.  Accusations are rolling out of the woodwork.  Weinstein masturbated in front of his targets, did disgusting things to the shrubbery, got actors to shut women down with threats that they'd never eat lunch in that town again, put reporters on the payroll to silence them, and contributed to left-wing causes such as Planned Parenthood - not to mention left-wing politicians such as Hillary Clinton [and Barack Obama - ed] - the better to get these groups to turn the other way.

The Economist pointed out that men and women occasionally arrive at arrangements of mutual benefit:

In 2005 a student at New York University asked Mr Trump's third wife, Melania, if she would have chosen to be with him if he had not been rich. "If I weren't beautiful," she replied, "do you think he'd be with me?"

In this case, Mr. Trump wanted Melania badly enough that he had to meet her terms and conditions.  Both seem to be well content with the terms of their exchange, and for many decades, it looked like a great many of Weinstein's actresses felt they had received good value as well.  Their silence persisted until their gains were locked in and the opportunity for risk-free revenge arose.

Total Hypocrisy

As Mr. Weinstein was being fired, criticized, and thrown out of the Academy of Motion Pictures, a Hollywood association where the glitterati preen in front of each other, critics have wondered what about Roman Polanski?

In 2009, Weinstein circulated a petition calling for the release of Roman Polanski. The Academy Award-winning director at the time had been arrested in Switzerland and was facing extradition, two decades after he pled guilty in 1978 to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, and then fled to Europe to avoid more jail time in the U.S.

Mr. Weinstein claimed that Mr. Polanski and the film industry were misunderstood, saying, "Hollywood has the best moral compass."  This certainly isn't a moral compass any sane person would desire: unlike Mr. Weinstein who hasn't even been charged with anything yet, Mr. Polanski was convicted in open court of drugging and raping a child.  At least the objects of Mr. Weinstein's attentions were full adults, not prepubescent star-struck teens!

Yet famous actresses like Kate Winslet, so quick to condemn Mr. Weinstein, are still happy to work with Mr. Polanski even though his actions are, by any normal definition, even more vile.  Not a one of them who's remained silent so long while reaping the rich benefits of Mr. Weinstein's patronage have any ethical leg to stand on: they chose to act the part of whores, for value exchanged, and knew it full well at the time.

Given that Mr. Weinstein's destruction-by-mob hasn't waited for him to be convicted or even charged with anything, why is legally-convicted child-rapist Mr. Polanski still honored in Hollywood?  What did Mr. Weinstein do that he hadn't been doing unpunished for decades, that Mr. Polanski didn't, which could bring about this sudden and utterly unexpected defenstration?

And Why Now?

Given that Democrats have been getting a free pass for abusing women for a half-century if not longer, why destroy Mr. Weinstein now?  We find the theory that his film company wasn't making much money unconvincing - studios have their ups and downs, and his connections were intact enough before the storm broke for him to try again as so many other Hollywood moguls have done over the years.

Another theory suggests Mr. Weinstein was intending to make a politically-incorrect movie lionizing Polish Jews who fought back against the Nazis, not a theme beloved of pro-Palestinian leftists.  But such movies have been made before to great acclaim; this theory seems implausible at best.

From where we sit, it looks far more likely that Mr. Weinstein didn't actually have anything to do with his downfall because his behavior, in and of itself, was perfectly acceptable to the Hollywood crowd.  He simply happened to be a convenient distraction, nothing more.

In this theory, his actions were publicized simply to distract our news media from a far bigger scandal.

Ever since the election, Democrats have been howling that Mr. Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to deny the presidency to Hillary, who had rightfully earned the job.

Now the Wall Street Journal reports that there was indeed collusion with the Russians, but it was the Obama administration who colluded, not the Trump campaign.

Russian efforts to influence the U.S. political system have fascinated the American media for much of the past year-but not this week. A sudden and likely temporary loss of appetite to explore collusion theories seems to have developed early on Tuesday.

The Journal was discussing a widely-ignored report by The Hill:

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin's atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Their next report said:

FBI informant blocked from telling Congress about Russia nuclear corruption case, lawyer says

The Journal summed up their take:

... the FBI director at the time was Robert Mueller, the same man now charged with investigating Russian interference in 2016.

This must certainly qualify as one of the great public-relations wonders of the world. ...  It's almost as if a president who lied under oath to derail a former employee's sexual harassment claim somehow managed to avoid getting mentioned in stories about one of his financial patrons being accused of similar offenses.

We have no trouble believing that the Democrats would throw any number of allies under the bus to protect the Obama administration from a scandal like that, in spite of all Mr. Weinstein's virtue signaling and his hiring Mr. Obama's daughter as a summer intern.  Time will tell - and, we hope, time will also tell if the "genius" Weinstein has the animal cunning of perverted buffoon Anthony Weiner, who took the elementary precaution of preparing a folder of documents, presumably incriminating many famous politicians, and labeled it "Life Insurance."

We could be wrong, of course.  It's possible that Democrats have seen the error of their ways and have decided that it's no longer acceptable for even big-time Democrats to abuse women.  How will we know?  When Bill Clinton's victims out him, and the media tells us how he was wrong all along to do this, and how wrong they were to cover for him.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

Every once in a while, i.e., about every 150 years in the US, there is not just a cultural change in the weather, but a change in the climate. I have suspected for some years now that the culture of secular hedonism that includes--but is not limited to--the sexual revolution has about run its course. I think that L'Affaire Weinstein is a sign of new times a'comin. Hope so!

October 23, 2017 12:30 PM

I guess you could say that the first stirrings of women's lib started 150 years ago. But it took half of the time since then to get enough traction to trash the culture. I don't think we have another 75 years to put things back to rights.

October 23, 2017 7:57 PM

IF we ever get an honest investigation in the "Uranium One" deal it will take down not only the Clintons, but the whole Obama Upper echelon. Our fondest dream, but one can only hope and pray.

October 26, 2017 5:36 PM
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