At an appearance this week at a comedy club designed to showcase young actors, two women were thrown out for confronting and objecting to Harvey Weinstein's presence. Hollywood has a short memory when it comes to its abusers. Weinstein believes he will be exonerated, make a comeback and that women ultimately will still pay the price for his actions. And sickeningly, he might be right
Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault or harassment by more than 80 women. He is currently out on $1 million bail after pleading not guilty to rape, a criminal sex act, sex abuse, and sexual-misconduct charges for incidents involving two women in May 2018. His decades-long abuse of power is the reason the #MeToo movement gained momentum.
He is a symbol of the way influential men can abuse their power, unchecked and even aided by those around them. Hollywood has a history of protecting these men. Of shaming their victims into silence. Hollywood also has a history of forgiving them. Of using the 'artist' argument to belittle the seriousness of the crime.
Related: My experiences of minor sexual assault will stay with me forever
But Weinstein's crimes were and have been so horrific that we all thought, surely not Weinstein? Surely there's no forgiveness of such a predator?
Then Wednesday night happened.
Hey all, I know I’m late to the conversation here. I don’t usually use twitter but it seems like that’s where a lot of this conversation is happening. Last night I confronted Harvey Weinstein in a bar along with a number of other artists. Heres the thread (1/?) #HarveyWeinstein pic.twitter.com/L8Oee5hAO7
— Zoe Stuckless (@revoltchild) October 25, 2019
According to numerous social media accounts of the night's events, comedians Kelly Bachman and Amber Rollo, and actor Zoe Stuckless were attending Actors Hour at Downtime Bar in Alphabet City when they spotted the disgraced producer in the crowd. At the event, he was more-or-less acting as if nothing had happened; flanked by several companions, male and female, and his group was sitting at a private, pre-set booth at one of the only tables in the low-lit, small room.
When actor Zoe Stuckless confronted Weinstein at his table, they, not Weinstein, were asked to leave.
“This guy was leading me out the stairs,” Stuckless told BuzzFeed, “just repeating ‘due process, due process’ to me.”
“I thought he would have not been allowed to go to an event to support actors and artists, when he’s ruined so many actors’ and artists’ lives,” added Amber Rollo, another comedian who confronted Weinstein.
Several people called him out, with one, Kelly Bachman, addressing him from the stage.
“I didn’t know we had to bring our own Mace and rape whistles to Actors Hour,” Bachman said as part of her act.
— Downright Rude (Amber Rollo) (@ambercrollo) October 24, 2019
Booed and heckled
She was booed and heckled by various men in the crowd and repeatedly told to "shut up."
Perhaps what's the most disappointing is that a female organiser allowed Weinstein to attend.
Alexandra Laliberte, who organised the event, said that rather than turn Weinstein away when he turned up at the event, she thought the community could address him. “I welcome all walks of life into my space,” she reportedly told Buzzfeed.
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Too little, too, late
Actors Hour has apologised for what happened and has said the disgraced producer will not be allowed to attend again, but for many, these words have come too late.
“Then and there, I should have shut down the event or given her the microphone to vocalize her feelings, but I was in total shock and I let my fear and inexperience paralyze my decision-making ability,” she wrote. According to Variety, Laliberte said she allowed the disgraced movie mogul to attend this week’s event because no one objected after he attended the last one.
calls for "civility" are often used to protect the powerful. fuck any venue who will let in a rapist & kick out talent for calling them out.
where was harvey weinstein's "civility" while he was raping?
predators deserve hostility.
fuck you, Downtime Bar & Actor's Hour, NYC.
— Jenny Yang (@jennyyangtv) October 25, 2019
Harvey Weinstein statement called me "downright rude." You know what's rude? Rape. GTFOH
— Downright Rude (Amber Rollo) (@ambercrollo) October 25, 2019
Felicity Huffman went to jail before Harvey Weinstein.
— #EvanRachelWould (@evanrachelwood) October 25, 2019
Weinstein’s representative reminded the public in a statement, the producer has not been convicted of a crime. But the fact that a venue apparently welcomed him into an event for young actors – the circle that Weinstein targets – then punished someone who objected, is a reminder of something that’s become apparent at this point in #MeToo:
Powerful men, despite the severity of charges made against them, are often welcomed back into their old circles after only a brief departure. As if nothing had ever happened.
Why should Weinstein be left to feel comfortable while out in public? Were any of the 80 female victims "comfortable" during their alleged assaults?
The women who stood up and confronted him are brave.
And if we don't have these women challenging men who abuse their power, nothing will change and #MeToo will be in vain.
We cannot – we must not – ever let this happen.
Main photograph: @Complex
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