Hollywood is in chaos, and all because of one man: Harvey Weinstein.
Multiple allegations of rape, sexual harassment and trading sex for movie roles have forced one of the most powerful men in show business out of his company and begging for help and forgiveness.
But the ripples extending from the wake of Weinstein’s dramatic fall extend much further than his business and personal relationships and so far show no signs of abating.
From the women he allegedly abused, to the associates who allegedly knew about his behavior all along but stayed silent, to the A-list actors and actresses who depend on him for their career-making roles, many of the biggest Tinseltown titans are wondering what their lives — and show business itself — will look like in a post-Weinstein town.
Who knew what, and when? While nobody has come out to say they knew Weinstein was abusing and attacking women, there have been hints over the years that all was not well at Miramax and The Weinstein Company.
In 2013, Seth MacFarlane joked during the Academy Awards nomination press conference that the five best supporting actress nominees “no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.” His co-presenter Emma Stone uncomfortably laughed at his punchline.
Nathan Lane recounted an altercation with Weinstein when the film producer threw him against a wall at Hillary Clinton’s birthday party.
Ewan McGregor alleged on Wednesday via Twitter that it was a known Hollywood secret writing, “It’s about time this came to light and he is getting [his] just deserts. Heard rumours over the years but this is awful. Bye Bully!”
Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein’s accusers, shared a screenshot of an undated exchange she had with several people in the past. She captioned the post, “Bob Weinstein is a POS. They allllll knew.” Bob, is the brother of Harvey, who recently denounced his brother as a “sick man.”
Asia Argento, who accused the former movie mogul of rape, said she reenacted the alleged sexual assault in a 1999 film. She claims Weinstein saw the scene and joked about it.
The hand wringing
Many of those close to Weinstein have spoken out against their former friend, all while claiming ignorance of the extent of his behavior.
Ben Affleck lashed out on Weinstein on Tuesday. He wrote on social media, “The additional allegations of assault that I read this morning made me sick. This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to others. We need to do better at protecting our sisters, friends, co-workers and daughters. We must support those who come forward, condemn this type of behavior when we see it and help ensure there are more women in positions of power.”
Matt Damon was accused of trying to quash a scathing piece about Weinstein but he claims he is innocent. In light of Weinstein’s allegations, Damon said he was surprised, telling Deadline: “I did five or six movies with Harvey. I never saw this. I think a lot of actors have come out and said, everybody’s saying we all knew. That’s not true. This type of predation happens behind closed doors, and out of public view. If there was ever an event that I was at and Harvey was doing this kind of thing and I didn’t see it, then I am so deeply sorry, because I would have stopped it. And I will peel my eyes back now, farther than I ever have, to look for this type of behavior. Because we know that it happens. I feel horrible for these women and it’s wonderful they have this incredible courage and are standing up now.”
George Clooney echoed Damon’s sentiments of shock to The Daily Beast. “I’ve known Harvey for 20 years. … But I can tell you that I’ve never seen any of this behavior — ever.” He added, “It’s indefensible. That’s the only word you can start with. Harvey’s admitted to it, and it’s indefensible.”
Leonardo DiCaprio said on Facebook, “There is no excuse for sexual harassment or sexual assault — no matter who you are and no matter what profession. I applaud the strength and courage of the women who came forward and made their voices heard.”
Colin Firth revealed to The Guardian that Weinstein was intimidating, saying, “He was a powerful and frightening man to stand up to. It must have been terrifying for these women to step up and call him out. And horrifying to be subjected to that kind of harassment. I applaud their courage.”
Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars in the upcoming Weinstein production, “The Current War,” released a statement: “We need to collectively stand up and support victims of abuse such as the brave and inspiring women who have spoken out against him and say we hear you and believe you. That way others may be emboldened by our support to come forward and speak. But we shouldn’t wait until there are any more stories like this. We, as an industry and as a society at large need to play our part. There has to be zero tolerance of any such behavior in any walk of life. We owe that to these women’s bravery in coming forward.”
Hollywood without Harvey
While Hollywood reels, many are trying to come to terms with short- and long-term effects of this scandal on the entertainment industry. Experts predict more accusations may come to light.
“The days of the Hollywood establishment bullying and browbeating reporters into burying stories about serial bad behavior are over. There are simply too many media outlets, too many ways to disseminate information, and not enough gatekeepers,” said Scott Pinsker, a branding and communications expert. “What was once whispered behind closed doors will become headline news. … Nobody believes that Harvey Weinstein is the only predator in Tinsel Town. More heads will roll.”
Kevin Blatt, a celebrity crisis manager based in Los Angeles told Fox News, the Weinstein drama is just the beginning of what will be more accusations against powerful men in Hollywood.
“The short-term effects are that many powerful studio execs, casting agents and people in power in Hollywood will be forced to govern themselves accordingly. The long-term effects? There will be many industry women looking to expose those who wronged them in the past. This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Blatt predicted.
But not everyone is convinced the abuse of power will end.
“Absolutely nothing will change long-term in Hollywood. It’s not a town of men versus women. It’s a town of the powerful versus the desperate,” said Hollywood film producer Colin Goldman. “To believe the Weinstein scandal changes everything is to believe it’s the first-ever story of those in power abusing those who want something from them very badly. It’s happening again, somewhere, right now, today in the industry.”