Today, the New York Times published a report accusing Harvey Weinstein of decades of sexual harassment, and it’s only natural for reactions to run the gamut: Are you angry that an entire industry has seemingly allowed this to happen for so long? Are you wondering what will happen next?
That’s completely understandable — this is a major story that will have far-reaching effects. There’s just one plea I must make, and though it feels almost fruitless, I’ll shout it out into the void anyway: Please don’t use this controversy as a cudgel to attack an actress you don’t like.
I’m already seeing it on Twitter, as people search for lightning-rod women who’ve worked with Weinstein — like headline-making actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Blake Lively, and Jennifer Lawrence, who tend to be easy social-media targets — and all but imply that the actresses have fucked for roles. It’s not just that this is heinous slut-shaming and misogyny (though that’s bad enough). What’s really awful about this is that it takes a controversy that should lie squarely at one man’s feet and makes it about other women.
Listen, I’m as curious as anybody to see what the people who’ve worked with Weinstein will have to say about this, and what run-ins they may have had with him in the past. But we don’t know any of that yet! And it’s telling that men who have Weinstein associations are largely being let off the hook, while women — who already have to bear the brunt of all the bullshit that Hollywood has to offer — now have to deal with this insane innuendo.
We’ll soon learn much more about what has happened with Weinstein, I’m sure, and plenty of battle lines will be drawn within the industry — but something tells me that the responses of Weinstein-adjacent women will be far more scrutinized than those of male collaborators. Which is nothing new, unfortunately: When women offer excuses for working with Woody Allen, for example, it tends to get a lot more ink and admonishment than when men do it, and that’s even true of our coverage on Vulture. But if we want more actresses to come forward and call out mistreatment, we should work on treating them better, too.