As the number of public accusations of sexual harassment, assault, and rape lodged against Harvey Weinstein climb, claims that those familiar with the former studio head did not know about his reputation become more and more difficult to believe. In a new Facebook post, screenwriter Scott Rosenberg offers his perspective on the disgraced producer, whom he worked for during Miramax’s late-’90s “golden age,” in the form of a confessional poem. In it, he sums up his knowledge of Weinstein’s murky sexual and professional history thusly: “Let’s be perfectly clear about one thing: Everybody-fucking-knew.” Rosenberg claims, “And do you know how I am sure this is true? Because I was there. And I saw you. And I talked about it with you. You, the big producers; you, the big directors; you, the big agents; you, the big financiers.”
Of course, what “they” knew and what Rosenberg and others thought they could do about it existed in a fog of uncertainty and ignorance, both genuine and, seemingly, more than willful. While Rosenberg says he had no idea Weinstein was allegedly committing assault or rape, he admits, “We were aware of a certain pattern of overly-aggressive behavior that was rather dreadful. We knew about the man’s hunger; his fervor; his appetite. There was nothing secret about this voracious rapacity; like a gluttonous ogre out of the Brothers Grimm.”
Now confronted with the industry’s shocked and disgusted reaction to the former studio head’s exposure as an alleged serial sexual abuser and rapist, Rosenberg wants to be clear he’s not buying it: “And to me, if Harvey’s behavior is the most reprehensible thing one can imagine, a not-so-distant second is the current flood of sanctimonious denial and condemnation that now crashes upon these shores of rectitude in gloppy tides of bullshit righteousness.”
However, the Con Air screenwriter also defends his own inaction, and the inaction of others, in the face of what apparently felt at the time like mere rumors. “We knew something was bubbling under. Something odious. Something rotten,” Rosenberg says. “But … And this is as pathetic as it is true: what would you have had us do? Who were we to tell? The authorities? What authorities?”
Says Rosenberg, the real flip side of the “slime”-covered coin was that, while Weinstein was surreptitiously leveraging his power to abuse women, he was also introducing writers, actors, and industry peers to a life of fame and fortune, in addition to facilitating successful films. “As the old joke goes: We needed the eggs,” quips Rosenberg. “Okay, maybe we didn’t NEED them. But we really, really, really, really LIKED them eggs.” Knowing what he knows now, the Venom co-writer hopes others in the industry feel as terrible as he does to have let sleeping dogs lie. “Harvey was nothing but wonderful to me. So I reaped the rewards and I kept my mouth shut,” Rosenberg says. “And for that, once again, I am sorry.” You can read his full post here.