I still haven't read the original article, or the most recent New Yorker update, and other of the follow-ups. But it's impossible not to grasp the story right away. And it's pretty awful, even without me delving into all the details. For starters, it will be difficult to look at lobby plants the same way again... And in fairness, I've read or seen or heard more than enough details at this point that it's fair to finally jump in. And I've also heard the audio recording that the New Yorker released of Weinstein pressuring the young model. (Well, okay, I read the transcript as I listened to some of the audio and muted most of it. To put my reasoning in perspective, I honestly don't turn to look at traffic accidents as I pass them -- and this was a 10-car pileup. And it was creepy enough just reading the text.)
I'll also note one of my other hesitancies, and I'll try to explain it properly because not being able to explain it properly is a reason I've hesitated. And it's that, there's still a lot of "alleged" here. The story is true -- I am absolutely certain it's true. Not only from the details, audio tapes and overlapping charges, all that is plenty enough, but even augmented from the corresponding tales that other completely-unrelated women have told as part of daily life, it's true. Even in Harvey Weinstein's "apology" he acknowledges it's true, having a problem that he needs to go into therapy for and deal with. So, it's true. And further, it's been true for a long time. And it's sick and shameful. What I don't know (for many reasons, including at the top of the list that I simply haven't read nearly as much as others) are enough specifics, and so just personally don't feel comfortable presuming more out of my own limitations., And even being sure of "just" most (let alone almost everything), in this case, is plenty enough. So, while I'll jump in here now, belatedly (for the reasons mentioned), that will be for the larger picture overall -- ongoing, egregious sexual abuse from a position of power. I'll leave discussing all the specifics to others.
One thing I've read a great deal of is people pointing fingers at Hollywood and political circles and a lot of individuals and insisting "everyone knew." And I just don't think that's the case. What I think most people knew is that Harvey Weinstein was a manic bully who could explode at any moment and be cruel. I think many people also likely knew that he was a toad who tried to sleep with as many actresses as he could. But as crude as all that is, it's very different from knowing someone is a sexual abuser who may have assaulted women. And many is not most is not all. To be clear, I'm absolutely sure there were a lot of people who knew the absolute worst. And I don't believe all the people who have said they "didn't know." But I do believe most of them. Because people live on the outside of other peoples' lives and like to believe the beset of others and don't dive into the dark scummy reaches of hell. I myself knew Harvey Weinstein was an awful guy, because I have friends who've dealt with him. But they've only said what a cruel and manic bully he could be, when not being charming. As much as they knew Harvey Weinstein, they didn't know this.
And for the people who actually did know, I understand the criticism of them for not being public -- yet there's an unfairness, as well, because they may not have done nothing. They may have told others. They may have even told some in the press. But just because you "know" about a person doesn't mean you can file charges with the police. Or force a story to be written. Or go public with "someone told me." You can warn and spread the word. And for all I know, some did, or many did. And some likely didn't and just stayed silent. Nor do I know why the press didn't cover it, whether from lack of facts, or valid concern of libel lawsuits, or cowardice or a craven desire to curry favor. Even when a problem is stark clear-cut, all the surrounding environment may not be.
What should be clear, though, is when people ask why women (most especially) didn't speak out earlier, or even why those who knew didn't say more, just seeing the attacks and threats and scorn that gets heaped on the victims who have had to live with their buried pain for years, let alone at the messengers, as well, despite the numbers and evidence, it should be no wonder why these stories do stay hidden for so long, if not forever. And the disease is allowed to fester and continue, indeed grow.
In the end, I have no idea who knew and who didn't know. I have no idea who presumed the worst, and who didn't. I don't even have any idea who was aware that Harvey Weinstein was an awful guy and who only knew he was a guy who produced pretty good movies. Nor what people did or why. It's all a deeply important part of the story. But -- at the center -- Harvey Weinstein himself is the story.
(And lest anyone make the even-larger story just Harvey Weinstein, it's so much more extensive. It's as much Roger Ailes, and Bill O'Reilly, and Bill Cosby and Donald Trump and all other men in power who abuse that power with cruel sexual abuse, because this is just the smallest portion of the iceberg peeking out of the water. It's all wrong, it's all unacceptable, it's all vile. But anyone trying to make a quick turn and twist false equivalencies of symbolic political outrage loses their standing. One person's position on the larger stage was as a little-known figure raising money given by others. Another, for one example, was knowingly being voted president of the United States. Or very publicly running a news network. Or every night expounding his views to millions of viewers. But as for the action in question, which is the matter of importance on the table, whoever the person, it's all despicable.)
And for now, this story is Harvey Weinstein.
And being about Harvey Weinstein, rather than look at things the way most people have -- which is the details -- I'd rather not cover that same well-mined, sordid ground, and instead look at it from a completely different angle. Actually, an angle I tend to address here a lot, since I think it tells a great deal about the person's own self-view of what's they're in the midst of. And though separate from the specifics, it's as loud in many ways, being known and on the record, in one's detailed words. And that's his apology.
And yes, his "apology" was dismal. Honestly, given that he has said he plans to sue the New York Times, I wouldn't have expected a good apology, since admitting one's actions(which is a central requirement of a good apology) could problematically hurt his lawsuit. In fact, I'm surprised that his lawyers approved any apology.
(I'll also say that I wouldn't put cash money on betting that the does sue. After more galling stories come to the forefront -- and I'm absolutely sure they will, like a torrential thunderstorm -- I think the last thing Harvey Weinstein will want is his "day in court" to show how he was wronged by a newspaper. Especially since once he is in court and under oath, the door opens wide for all manner of cross-examination.)
It was an idiotic "apology" in addressing his ills. And that starts with blaming this all on growing up in the '60s. When that's your defense, you're best served by shutting up. The '60s was the era of women's liberation and peace and love -- not sexual abuse of women. Falsely damning an entire generation to cover your own sick failings says more about you than you probably wanted to let on.
Indeed, from this whole time of peace and love, his entire "apology" was so oddly soft and almost genteel, most especially given what he is accused of -- which ultimately got him fired from his own company. He at least does say he's sorry for those he hurt -- though nowhere does he mention those he hurt being women. And although he says he will try to do right by those he hurt, he doesn't say at all what on earth that means. Mostly, it's just that he knows he's been a jerk for a long time and has been trying to improve for the past 10 years. While it's good that he admits being a louse of a person rather than deny it all, it's that "10 years" part that struck me as an awfully long time to learn not to abuse women. But what undercut his "apology" and any sense of contrition or even understanding was the last paragraph which suddenly changes the subject entirely to talk about gun control in a bizarre effort to make himself look good. (Hint: it didn't work.) It was like a bad magician trying to use misdirection so that you didn't see the rhinoceros on stage. "Look! Over there! A butterfly!"
When an apology is that empty for something this significant, almost to the point of dismissive despite using some proper words, it shows a lack of concern which ultimately speaks volumes about the validity of what he is accused of. I'm sure it's incredibly difficult to publicly admit you've been monstrous. But it was far more difficult for those on the receiving end.
(The only person who should be grateful for such a bad apology is Donna Karan, because otherwise her own "mea culpa" would have had klieg lights shining down on it alone. Seriously, what on earth was she thinking when asked about Harvey Weinstein? This is Donna Karan, for God’s sake, a woman who has made her career not only on clothes, but specifically on dressing women and making them look as hot and sexy and desirable as possible…questioning if women are “asking for it” how they DRESS!!!!! It's not often that we are able to see someone possibly committing career suicide before our eyes and risking the destruction of her company, a company which is based on how women dress! And the best she can come up with in apology is, "I was taken out of context." Nah, it's on tape. We saw.)
And on and on and on. As I said, there is so much more than can be discussed about Harvey Weinstein and men in power and sexual abuse by those men and protecting the people who abuse others and Hollywood and politics and glass-ceilinged corporate life and money and just your basic everyday sexual abuse that goes on and on and on and ever on -- and all this said here by a guy, rather than women whose minds must be exploding, though hopefully with there being some pleasure that at least one large tree has fallen and the topic put front and center. Albeit yet again....
And here's the thing. I don't know if Harvey Weinstein's career is over from this. He makes money for people. And money adores money. We've seen plenty of people hit by scandal who are able to come back because someone thinks they can make money from them. Hey, sometimes they even get to be elected president. So, Harvey Weinstein might get some investors in the future. If he goes to jail over any of this...maybe that might be a bridge too far and the end. But even that's not certain. And all this, how society deals with what comes next, is as much a part of the story as anything.
I do think there's one especially-good thing about this story, though. At least it wasn't dismissed as just locker room talk...