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Why are women still being punished for calling out Harvey Weinstein?

Posted by
Jessica Rapana
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Harvey Weinstein found guilty of rape

A woman confronted the disgraced film producer at an event, and she was the one thrown out. So why are women still paying the price when it’s men who are in the wrong?

It’s been two transformative years since the allegations of Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behaviour was exposed, sending shockwaves through Hollywood and the rest of the world.

In the aftermath of the abuse allegations, with many of the world’s biggest stars coming forward to share their experiences, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rose McGowan, the disgraced film producer was fired from his film company and had legal proceedings filed against him.

Now awaiting trial in New York, Weinstein has denied all allegations and entered a plea of not guilty to charges of sexual assault.  In the meantime, he appears to be going about his daily life; despite being out on bail, he has been glimpsed in public a few times.

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This week he attended a pop-up talent show for young artists, where he was seen sitting at a table with several young women and two bodyguards. His presence did not go unnoticed. In fact, it was bravely called out by comedians Kelly Bachman, Amber Rollo and Zoe Stuckless, all of whom spotted the accused rapist in the crowd.

“I’m a comic, and it’s our job to name the elephant in the room,” Bachman said, in a viral video posted on her social media accounts. “It’s a Freddy Krueger in the room, if you will. I didn’t realise I needed to bring my own mace and rape whistle to Actors Hour.”

Now, make no mistake, it takes a lot of courage to stand up to a man like this. Not least at an event for young talent, which by its very nature requires putting yourself out there. What’s more, Bachman has shared that she is a rape survivor herself, and shared that when she spotted Weinstein she felt “really triggered and in a state of flight or fight”. Let that sink in for a second. And yet, in the clip posted by Bachman, it was her that the audience turned on, booing and shouting at her to “shut up”. Bachman responded: “Sorry, that killed at group for rape survivors.” 

During the intermission, Struckless and Rollo then approached Weinstein at his table. “Nobody’s going to say anything? Nobody’s really going to say anything?” Struckless screamed, in a video posted to her Facebook page. Rollo tweeted that she “went in and called [Weinstein] a fucking monster and told him he should disappear”. They were both asked to leave.

Addressing the incident, Weinstein’s publicist Juda Engelmayer later said Weinstein “was out with friends enjoying the music and trying to find some solace in his life that has been turned upside down,” adding: “This scene was uncalled for, downright rude and an example of how due process today is being squashed by the public, trying to take it away in the courtroom too.”

Okay, first things first, a line needs to be drawn here: this is about about young female actors expressing their discomfort with being watched by a man charged with five charges of sexual assault and accused by more than 80 different women of sexual misconduct, assault and rape. This was not someone trying to bar him from going to the supermarket or the doctors. If it’s “solace” that Weinstein seeks so badly, he needs to find a reading corner or hike a mountain somewhere.

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Despite the backlash, Bachman told The Guardian she was glad she had spoken up. “I felt like I had to say something. We shouldn’t be accepting that this monster can just come attend an industry showcase. I wanted to make people feel uncomfortable about it. And I just hope people stay uncomfortable about it.”

We hope so, too. All of these women should be proud for standing up to Weinstein, and everyone else who left them standing on their own should be ashamed.

Image: Getty

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Jessica Rapana

Jessica Rapana is a journalist based in London, and enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content. She is especially fond of news, health, entertainment and travel content, and drinks coffee like a Gilmore Girl.

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