Over at Steve Sailer’s comment section someone suggested the present sexual inquisition began not with Harvey Weinstein but with Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and “the host of the Five”, and I don’t know what’s worse, knowing who the “host of the Five” is or not. Maybe that’s why he goes unnamed. I responded.
The comparison is lame. Weinstein’s scandal launched the present inquisition overnight, whereas those other guys–political figures always at such risk–all fell in typical if spectacular fashion.
As a putatively non-political but powerful figure, Weinstein enjoyed as we see a much higher degree of license, despite the open secret of his behavior and his connection to the Clintons. They’re reporting today about warnings HRC’s campaign received regarding Weinstein, with Lena Dunham claiming to have told them he’s a “rapist.”
Weinstein’s transitioning into politics would be expected to raise this risk for him. Dunham and others were operating on this reasonable assumption. Having a cable news network at his disposal didn’t save Ailes, but Harvey had the Clintons. More importantly he had a movie studio.
So the guy who’s been getting away with murder all of a sudden goes down and the damn bursts, sexual offense is redefined and broadened, applied retroactively and sparing no one.
The original take-down of Weinstein may have happened simply because his rival/brother saw he was weak after studio revenue started falling off (and Hillary lost the election) and struck. Now this thing is out of anyone’s control.
I’m less interested in why Weinstein now than why the sexual inquisition now, only after Weinstein. Have we simply reached a tipping point? Or, were women primed for it by the “pussy hat” hysterics in response to Trump? I don’t see how they could not have been. Still, O’Reilly and Ailes went down as one-offs. And Harvey sparked a conflagration. Maybe it’s just because Hollywood is the more combustible part of the media, as his antics and energy demonstrate. He went down in the middle of that and it wasn’t very far to the next randy abuser or patsy as the case may be.
And, Hollywood being Hollywood, for nearly every one of these charges there’s a play at work, someone settling a score or someone being taken down. The rules changed overnight and all of these people are armed with bludgeon. Further there’s the encouraging effect of all those examples. Once it gets going and women see they don’t have anything to fear and maybe something to gain (aside from whether or not their charges are genuine) it feeds on itself.
Once Weinstein fell it was as if an ogre had been toppled. They must’ve thought this guy invincible (including Hillary). There’s a “look, it bleeds” aspect to the reaction, cowed people suddenly liberated and running rampant.
That needed to happen in Hollywood, and for it to happen Trump had to happen–specifically, the epic own goal that is the “pussy hat” movement in reaction to–what?–Trump’s tape revealing the depravity and sexual license of show business.
And they say there’s no God!