Hollywood has been rocked by the recent scandals alleging Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey systematically harassed and, some have accused, raped models and actresses who were involved with his film company.
The scandal has created a hashtag campaign that has alleged other male stars, including superstars Jeremy Piven, Dustin Hoffman, and Ben Affleck, of being involved in that seedy part of Tinseltown. It hearkens back to similar scandals involving alleged pervert Woody Allen and convicted rapist Roman Polanski.
The question on everyone’s mind is, how was an alleged scumbag like Weinstein able to hold onto so much power for over a decade? There were clear and obvious signs of his alleged impropriety.
On a side note, I do not blame the victims. They were in a terrible situation and I have nothing but empathy for them.
Many have pointed to a variety of reasons that such powerful men in the industry were able to hold onto their paper thrones for so long. Far left feminists are doing the stereotypical blame game, going after this mysterious patriarchy and toxic masculinity we keep hearing about. Some men in Hollywood are acknowledging their willful ignorance while others are denying any knowledge.
I see four things: 1. Powerful men tend to give a lot of cash to those who are also in power and they protect each other. 2. The abuse of non-disclosure agreements made it easier to threaten the victims. 3. There is a sense of being amoral that goes with being a person of the far left. Once you close the door to morality, anything goes. 4. There is a sinister underbelly to the entertainment industry that creates a ‘casting couch’ environment. My acquaintance, former Pussycat Doll Kaya Jones says that it is true of the music industry as well.
In my opinion, there is a fifth option that nobody wants to hear, but it needs to be said.
Artistic snobbery played a small, but significant part in keeping alleged scumbags like Weinstein, Spacey, and Allen in their positions of powers. When someone is an artist, they are given extra ‘sensitivity’ because their fellow insiders see them as making truly great artwork.
As Ashley Judd shrieks about an airport security guard calling her ‘sweetheart,’ but says she supports Weinstein, while also accusing him of trapping her in a hotel room, there is a problem that goes beyond friendship. It is a sign that there is deep seeded isse with the culture and what it sees as truly great.
Everyone recognizes there is a scale on how excellent a movie truly is. Some movies are obviously better than others, but no one person has a monopoly on ‘art,’ especially in the film industry.
One film that has come-up in the wake of Weinstein’s scandal is Shakespeare In Love. Star Gwyneth Paltrow accused Weinstein of harassing her on set, though she later thanked him at the Academy Awards.
I have seen Shakespeare In Love. I can tell you, it’s not that impressive of a film. While the performances are good, the film is historically inaccurate and just another typical rom-com that happens to be about the most well-known playwright in Western history. So what?
Meanwhile, when I bring up films like Marvel’s The Avengers, I can hear the angst from the “artistically sensitive” people in the room. They thumb their noses at superhero films, but a historical melodrama, that’s the stuff.
Most are not artists themselves or if they are, they so want to be part of the Hollywood in-crowd they throw off their individuality to seem cultured to the artistic snobs.
With that in mind, is Kevin Feige’s direction for the Marvel films or JJ Abrams direction for Star Wars any less artistically creative than the kind of films The Weinstein Company was putting out when Harvey was at the helm? Of course, it’s not. You may not like it, but it is just two different types of genres, but the culturally elite snobs do not see it that way.
As a result, men like Harvey Weinstein were putting out film after film, earning award after award from the Academy and other award ceremonies. At the same time, a film like The Dark Knight only gets recognized because of the death of star Heath Ledger, despite its critical and commercial success.
When the culturally elite community are telling specific entertainment industry members that they are the only person making ‘great’ films, of course, that makes it easier to make powerful friends who want to preserve “artistic” endeavors.
People had been warning about Weinstein’s alleged behavior since the 90s, but it did not matter much since the elite thought his art was the best. They were holding him in power because their snobbery saw him as one of the few artisans projecting the big screen.
This Hollywood ‘art’ community put people like Polanski on a peddle-stool and even continued to give him awards after he was being found guilty of drugging and raping an underage girl.
That did not matter to actress Meryl Streep who gave Polanski a standing ovation at an Oscar ceremony and likewise has denied any knowledge of Weinstein’s alleged wrongdoing. Before the scandal broke, she called him ‘god’ at the same Golden Globes where she won a participation trophy, uh, lifetime achievement award.
A single person should not have the backing, financially and artistically, just because he or she is producing what the elite call ‘art.’ This type of snobbery keeps people in power when in fact there are a wide range of other filmmaker who are putting out a different type of films.
Yes, critics and the cultural elite may hate them, but they are not the ones buying the tickets. It is the audiences. Like anything, ‘art,’ whether the elite like it or not, is subject to the free market. Pretending like it is not is artificial, disingenuous, and shallow.
This artistic snobbery played a role in keeping alleged scumbags like Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, Ben Affleck, and so many others in power because they knew no matter what, they would get a pat on the back, a wink, and a nod from the so-called cultural elite.
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