Sex, lies, and audiotapes
NEW YORK—Everyone loves a sex scandal. The more pious-minded will, after wallowing in all the salacious details, sniff and claim the moral high ground by condemning the principal or principals involved—perhaps to expiate their guilty pleasure.
Lately, they have had much to feast on: Harvey Weinstein, powerful Hollywood producer and co-founder of Miramax and the Weinstein Company, and his troubles arising out of his alleged sexual harassment and worse, of young women, mostly aspiring actresses, some of them now A-list stars, such as Gywneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, and Angelina Jolie. The man seems to have had a disquieting propensity for groping and propositioning women (like the Orange Man in the White House) and often enough, having sex with them. Having the power he could, and did, have his way with them.
In one particularly egregious instance, in 2008, according to the former actress and screenwriter Louisette Geiss, he requested her to watch him masturbate, claiming it would advance her career. Did he believe it would give her some skin in the game?
Long before they came to light, Weinstein’s extracurricular activities were well-known in Hollywood. In the City of Celluloid Dreams, the man was a nightmare. He had the kind of addictive love that dared not speak its name.
A friend of mine, who from 1990 to 2000, used to work at New Line Cinema—archrivals of Miramax—and who wishes to remain anonymous tells me that even then Harvey Weinstein was perceived as a man “with no moral scruples whatsoever.” He was also notorious for his abusive treatment of his employees: “He’d shame them publicly.” When I asked him about the charges of sexual harassment and even rape, he laughed, and said it was an “open secret” in the industry. “He would pay out generous settlements” to some of the accusers, essentially buying their silence.
In 2015, an Italian-Filipina model, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, met with Weinstein in a New York hotel room, ostensibly to discuss employment, whereupon he fondled her breasts—which she reported to the police right after. They helped her set up a sting operation. The next day, wearing a wire, she went back to his hotel room, staying in the hallway, all the time recording their conversation. He admits to groping her, saying it was something he was “used to.” He pleaded with her to come into the room, just for “five minutes” advising her, ominously, not to “ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.” Gutierrez left, with the recording. New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. decided not to prosecute, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to file charges—even though the police detectives were convinced they had a solid case.
Only when The New York Times and The NewrYorker came out this month with separate, detailed articles on the man’s predatory habits did the proverbial shit hit the fan. (Interestingly, the author of the New Yorker feature is Ronan Farrow, the estranged son of Woody Allen, himself accused by his daughter of abusing her when she was a seven-year-old.)
To all the myriad charges, Weinstein’s spokesperson has responded: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.” The spokesperson went on to say that Weinstein never retaliated against any of the women who rejected his advances.
Now comes a reminder that the OM (Orange Man) in the White House faces similar charges of sexual assault by several women. Summer Zervos filed a defamation suit against OM (maybe that should be DOM) last January but the case only made its way to the courts this past September.
During the presidential campaign last year Zervos claimed that DOM kissed and groped her in 2007 at a Beverley Hills hotel, when she met with him to discuss possible employment by his organization, joining a chorus of women who accused DOM of similar harassment. In response the then-candidate called her and the other women “liars.”
Now for DOM to call someone a “liar” is rich, rather like a Mafioso accusing the very person he’s just scammed as a “crook.”
Weinstein may be a sexual predator, but no one has questioned his and Miramax’s acumen in producing films that stood out in the marketplace, such as The Crying Game, Pulp Fiction, and The English Patient, and in winning Oscars, e.g., Shakespeare in Love and The King’s Speech.
Such is not the case with the chief resident of what Senator Bob Corker has termed the “daycare center,” otherwise known as the White House.
What exactly has the DOM achieved?
On the foreign policy front: Zero. Take his intent to dismantle the deal with Iran that has halted its development of nuclear weapons. He obviously reduces the chances of arriving at a similar deal with North Korea regarding its growing nuclear arsenal. Why would Pyongyang put any faith in such a deal when the one with Iran is in danger of unraveling?
Like other deluded but powerful and narcissistic males, DOM likes to get his rocks off any way he can, whether this involves invading another country—or someone else’s space.
Copyright L.H. Francia 2017