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Harvey Weinstein And the Politics Of Hollywood


Harvey Weinstein And the Politics Of Hollywood

Jonathan Cook

Why women need to organize.

It should hardly surprise us that a rich man who had the ability to give desperate young women a shot at stardom preyed on them. The Hollywood employment system is capitalism in microcosm, at its rawest and most naked.


This is a good idea, Jonathan Cook; however, you don’t know that even as you wrote this,–these ‘A-list’ and other women aren’t organizing just such a unified action and organization. And I object to the term you used–“bemoan” or “bewail” when referring to their reports of their abuse by this man’s power in Hollywood. The point is that they spoke out and joined others, in now a wave of reports.
This sick and hurtful behavior is endemic in our culture, not only in Hollywood. There is power in union, yes, and change can happen. The African American woman who coined the term “Me Too” in 2007, asking women to voice their experience of the ubiquitous sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation of women now sees it rise again as a growing social trope. May it bloom into real discussion that can focus on changing power and economic relations between men and women.


There already are several Unions in the movie industry. The Screen Actors Guild is well known and perhaps could be the reporting structure. These complaints are common throughout the working world…just “bigger” if in Hollywood. The path one must take if sexual abused is well known and, of course, should be more readily available. And yet, we have our Secretary of Ed rolling back the mechanics of reporting and investigating abuse on college campuses.


It’s now standard doctrine for BLM activists to articulate: black people cannot fix this problem, because we didn’t create it - white people need to fix the problem they cause. The same truth holds in the case of institutional misogyny. Women can only protest - it’s up to men to fix the problem they cause.

America just elected a serial abuser president. Men’s hatred for women, and even women’s self-loathing, is ubiquitous here. I just saw a disgusting movie called Elle, from a male director, based on a book by a male author, which received almost uniformly glowing reviews from male film critics - who didn’t notice the film made no effort to understand why the female protagonist enjoys being raped and beaten, instead inviting the audience to laugh at her. They call it a “dark comedy.”

My sister was raped by an intruder decades ago, and it ruined her whole life. This shit isn’t funny.


This is a first article I have read on this topic that tries to go a bit deeper than the surface, and beyond a particular Harvey. But even this one, in my view, is not going deep enough. Harvey and his dynamic and history with these actresses are a symptom of a rapacious amoral system that engages many participants. For me it is the highly concentrated monopoly system of the movie industry that is the root cause of all this. This system (a) gives a particular Harvey extreme decision making power, (b) generates obscene amounts of money for actresses, which in return, makes some of them put up with all sorts of indignities (and for a long amount of time), etc etc. If the movie industry were not regulated to favor monopoly power and control of the markets, and if these actresses (and Harvey) would be paid just as in any other profession, that is, if we had another model altogether, the power plays and the stakes would not be any different than what they are in any other profession. As what is being revealed by these episodes, are very different standards from what most of the society employs. It is unimaginable, in most professions, that a job applicant interviews (i.e. auditions) in a hotel room and on a one on one basis. So, we can beat on Harvey’s gross and despicable acts - and I am not justifying any of it, but does that solve the problem?


Well, I usually like this guy, but he’s contradicting himself. He mentions the weakness of identity politics, but then he wants to organize on … the basis of identity politics! (“Why women need to organize.”) Well, Johnathan, there are a lot of males being sexually abused in hollywood too, particularly young ones; and sexual abuse is hardly the only form of abuse in that industry. They all need to organize to defend themselves from a rapacious class whose members quite often got there using tactics which only people with serious character disorders could employ.