The term ‘Weinstein effect’ has been used to describe the numerous accusations against the now disgraced Hollywood magnate Harvey Weinstein. It has since snowballed into the #MeToo movement, which has resulted in a surge of survivors of sexual assault to come forward with accusations of their own. The Me Too movement is the brainchild of civil rights activist Tarana Burke, and was later popularised by actress Alyssa Milano on Twitter in 2017. It has many vocal members, including Rose McGowan, Uma Thurman and Terry Crews, all of whom have come forth with their own accusations against the powerful men and women of Hollywood.
It has been a year since the movement gained traction, so why talk about it?
Over the weekend, I stumbled upon an article about Kevin Spacey’s new movie ‘Billionaire Boys Club’ – the movie made 126 dollars (523.13 RM) on opening day. No, that is not a typo. This, coupled with him getting the axe on the show ‘House of Cards’, it is possible the disgraced actor has left our screens for good.
On the other hand, Louis CK, who admitted to the allegations of his sexual misconduct late last year does not seem to have had a huge impact on his work life. He had maintained a low profile since these allegations, yet very recently made a quiet return to the world of stand-up. He was welcomed at Comedy Cellar with a standing ovation. In contrast, some of the women who came forward and spoke out against him faced backlash and threats from the comedy community.
In response to the backlash about his return, many of his fans ask- how long should he suffer the consequences? In brilliant op-ed by Roxane Gay for The New York Times, she says:
‘How long should a man like Louis C.K. pay for what he did? At least as long as he worked to silence the women he assaulted and at least as long as he allowed them to doubt themselves and suffer in the wake of his predation and at least as long as the comedy world protected him even though there were very loud whispers about his behavior for decades.’
In Hollywood, the accused do not face nearly as much backlash as the accusers. The highly public nature of the situation makes it easy for the world to rip apart every aspect of it. The wealth and fame of the accused makes them untouchable. It has allowed for men like Louis CK and Brett Ratner to continue their work with little repercussions, while their victims are left to face the music. To excuse their behaviour on the grounds of ‘good acting’ would be to erase the years these men spent harassing and trying to silence their victims. It sets a tone for how the rest of the world deals with sexual assault and rape allegations. As Roxane puts it,’ they have fallen from grace, but they have had mighty soft landings’.