On March 28, 2015, the NYPD conducted a sting operation targeting the film mogul, Harvey Weinstein. 22-year-old Ambra Battilana, a Filipina-Italian model, had gone to the police regarding Weinstein’s misconduct. She agreed to record their next interaction at Manhatten’s Tribeca Grand Hotel, with officers nearby ready to intervene should he do more than simply implicate himself. The recording was released exclusively to the New Yorker, and written about in an article by Ronan Farrow.
Due to these developments, Harvey Weinstein has been fired from the Weinstein Company. He started the film business in 2005 with his less media-friendly brother, Bob Weinstein, after leaving Miramax (which they had also founded in 1979). Here is their full statement:
The Weinstein Company’s Board of Representatives — Bob Weinstein, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg and Tarak Ben Ammar — are shocked and dismayed by the recently emerged allegations of extreme sexual misconduct and sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein. These alleged actions are antithetical to human decency. These allegations come as an utter surprise to the Board. Any suggestion that the Board had knowledge of this conduct is false.”
Sexual allegations of this kind have been a problem for many of these large, male-dominated industries, the military included. Controversy is bound to arise as you have accusations on all sides: that “the alleged victim is lying for alternative reasons” or conversely, “the aggressor is using their bureaucratic, financial and social power to keep everything quiet.” It’s hard to know who to believe with limited information and such emotionally charged subject matter. No matter how public or private a matter, empowering law enforcement with more, accurate information is only going to help these situations.
According to the Pentagon, sexual abuse in the military reached an all time high in 2016. The Pentagon stated that most of these allegations were regarding attacks on men by other men. According to the DOD, over 1 in 4 women and 1 in 3 men were assaulted by someone in their chain of command. They also mentioned that 58% of women and 60% of men face retaliation of some kind should they choose to come forward. 81% of the military victims never end up reporting the crime. The U.S. military was reminded of such behavior earlier this year, as the Marines faced a scandal regarding nude photos on Facebook groups.
Back in Hollywood, these allegations have brought on a barrage of similar claims across the board toward other powerful members in the Hollywood community, as well as current celebrities reporting instances of sexual abuse and molestation in their burgeoning years of film. Even the bodybuilder and star of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” Terry Crews has expressed deep concerns, as he himself was groped by a high level Hollywood executive who just grinned as he did it. Crews was “going to kick his ass right then,” but felt that a 240lb black man “stomping out a Hollywood honcho,” would have only put him in jail, so he remained silent.
Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.