I guess I struggle with the equivocation of the “you can’t hate on Weinstein and not on Trump” sexual harassment situation for a few reasons, none of which involve excusing either of the two men. What I do know is:
A) It is easy to make salacious allegations like these,
B) Certainly not all women do, but there are a subset of women, a significant minority, who will come on to a powerful man (or even have sex with them) to get what they want, and
C) There are other forms of opportunism at play, and
D) As long as these things remain in the court of public opinion, all the public has to use to form an opinion is circumstantial evidence. Not all circumstantial evidence is equal, there are gradients of substance and believability.
There is no denying there are similarities but there are significant differences as well. I’ve been asking myself several questions:
1. What do the women gain by accusing Weinstein?
As far as I can tell, nothing. In Hollywood, it might even damage them. Justice maybe – but until he is charged and prosecuted for a crime or loses a civil suit, this is nothing but PR.
2. What did the women have to gain by accusing Trump?
If they could derail his election or his agenda, they would gain the public adoration of the progressive left and possibly opportunities bestowed by progressive segments of society (i.e. by people like Weinstein in Hollywood). Same as Weinstein, if he isn’t prosecuted or loses a civil suit (after he gets out of office), he’s presumed innocent as should be Weinstein.
3. What about the timing?
It is apparently an open secret that Weinstein has been doing this for decades and getting away with it – because “that’s just how it works in Hollywood”, but why report it now? My guess it was the intersection between the increasing amount of evidence leaking out and the decreasing levels of the Weinstein company’s success and power. The New York Times evidently had a story ready about this in 2004/2005, 12-13 years ago, and it got quashed. How about Trump? Clearly the accusers and their facilitators were up against a timeline, the election was coming. Other than that, there had been no public accusations – the first one went all the way back to the early 80’s where Trump supposedly fondled a woman on a commercial flight. Trump was actually touted as a “man about town” in the New York Press. Trump has been a public figure for as long as Weinstein – why wasn’t Trump’s alleged proclivity for harassment an “open secret” right in the backyard of the New York Times?
4. How about the accusations?
Trump was accused of “unwanted kissing and groping”, Weinstein of soliciting sexual favors in return for contracts, voyeurism and actual rape. Trump made crass remarks to Access Hollywood and is accused by people not in the limelight, Weinstein is alleged to have committed some pretty serious crimes by some well-known actors and actresses – very, very public figures are these people. Their livelihood depends on being accepted by Hollywood and the American public…their “brand” is important.
5. What are the motivations of the people enabling and facilitating the accusations?
With Trump it was the Axis of Evil between the celebrity harassment ambulance chaser Gloria Allred and her daughter, Lisa Bloom, who rounded up a herd of accusers. With Weinstein, it is individual industry people, actors, and actresses, in fact, Bloom had acted as an advisor to Weinstein for the past year before the heat got too much and she resigned. Allred is a yuge feminist progressive and donor to the Democrat party. Now that she smells publicity and money and Weinstein is no longer a viable help to progressive causes, she has chased the Weinstein ambulance and is lining up accusers. Might there be an agenda at play where Trump is concerned? Sure – and it is a far clearer agenda than the one against Weinstein.
6. Credibility of the accusers?
As noted, the Weinstein accusers have little to gain and a lot to lose. The Trump accusers are just the opposite, they have much to gain and little to lose. Who has the most credibility? That’s a matter of individual opinion because actual evidence in both situations is not really that clear – but based on the win/lose aspect, I would tend to believe Angelina Jolie and Rose McGowan over Jessica Leeds and Temple Taggart (that’s right, who?).
I’m not taking a side by saying that sexual harassment is OK or that these guys don’t deserve what is coming to them but I do see significant differences in the situations. The media is trying to equivocate and conflate the two to argue they are the same. All I am saying is that I do see differences between the two that should be considered as these things play out in the fullness of time. The guilty should be punished, no matter who they are.