Harvey Weinstein, the corruption of Hollywood and our true nature
In October 2017 the spell that surrounded movie producer and power broker Harvey Weinstein broke. His decades long history of exploitative, predatory and sexually abusive behaviour was laid bare. The man known as “king maker” was undone, and the rampant culture of abuse and degradation in Hollywood exposed to the world.
Weinstein’s day of reckoning was set in motion when thirteen women spoke about sexual abuse at the hands of this man. In opening up publicly, these women laid the path for others to follow, admitting that they too had been sexually harassed and some of them sexually assaulted by the man – more than 30 women have come forward as of the 15th October 2017. Testament to his powerful hold on the movie industry and the corruption of the networks that thread through it, the “open secret” of his abuses was kept for three long decades.
After each incident of abuse, the women felt utterly manipulated and bullied. She remained silent, too afraid of his apparent invulnerability and capacity to “crush” them, and too protective of their careers to speak up.
They have been devastated by the assaults Weinstein perpetrated on them. They have been devastated by the system that has protected and lauded the perpetrator.
It has been revealed that at least eight settlements to women had been made, on the condition that they remained anonymous and silent. There is evidence that senior executives at his companies were aware of his actions and the payouts to women. Some staff had in fact been strategically used to make the women available to abuse. Other staff simply turned "a blind eye” to what was happening. On the 10th of October the company board made a statement they had no knowledge of Weinstein’s conduct.
This man, portrayed "as a liberal lion, a champion of women and a winner of not just artistic but humanitarian awards" has been thoroughly exposed as an abuser, supported by a vast network of connections and a widespread organisational and legal powerbase. It is hard to argue with the epithet predator that has been repeatedly applied to him. The women who allege they have been abused have been lauded for speaking up. Public condemnation and outrage against Weinstein, fuelled by an enthusiastic and righteous media, has been swift and voluminous. His denial of guilt has fallen on incredulous ears.
His once impenetrable network has crumbled. Support from his colleagues, business partners, admirers, once courted politicians and peers, has been speedily and publicly withdrawn.
Weinstein’s own Production Company has sacked him.
His wife has left him.
The University of Buffalo have taken steps to revoke the honorary degree they bestowed on him in 2000.
The Academy of Motion Picture and Arts Sciences took the unprecedented step of expelling him.
BAFTA and Cannes have decried the man’s behaviour, with the BAFTA group stating, “We hope this announcement sends a clear message that such behaviour has absolutely no place in our industry.”
British politicians have demanded that the Prime Minister revoke an honorary title he received for achievement in the arts and sciences.
There still remains general wonderment at how so many abused women and aware bystanders could have remained silent for so long. In essence their silence condoned the large scale abuse conducted by a single man.
The rationale for this seems very flimsy now that the spell has been broken. However, it is easy to understand that men like Weinstein wield enormous power. It could be said that they are highly successful psychopaths, and knowing their potential for career building and destruction, people capitulate; simply give themselves away to the potential threat. This story reflects a deep schism in the way we are trained to hold ourselves in life – in the face of bullying we are educated to capitulate and shut up, rather than hold our personal integrity and our rights over our own body more precious than any threat.
If we level the finger of blame at Weinstein alone, or make it about Hollywood or the abusive movie making industry, we miss the point that there are Weinstein’s everywhere in this world. Not all of them are widely known. Most are small time players, but their modus operandi is the same; to abuse any amount of power they hold over vulnerable people. And they are very clever about who they target – going for those with the least inner and outer resources to call on…
If we stay lost in the drama of the hunt for the villain, lost in pity or contempt for the victims, we will fail (as we have repeatedly done to date) to stop a cycle of abuse far older than Hollywood.
We must open our eyes to the whole playing field, and every player on it…
… We have a man, so desperate, so empty and so lost to himself that not even a self-made throne at the pinnacle of a great career can fill the void inside. All he has for respite and alleviation is the body of any beautiful young woman under his power.
… He surrounds himself with lackeys and procurers, so seduced by his control (masquerading as power), that they lose any semblance of morality and decency. They become servants of his machine, doing its bidding to the detriment of the people it consumes in its process.
…The young women, so intoxicated by the tantalising promise of fame, so blinded by stars in their eyes, that they go against their self-protective instincts and make themselves vulnerable to the rapacity.
These are the women who have been held up as society’s role models, representing in film the ideals of feminine independence, power and beauty. All the while, and gripped by fear of repercussion and desperate to 'make it', they have held absolutely no value for themselves and their bodies.
They have been silenced by shame and over threat to their careers, but who asks them, is this career worth it? No doubt there are young men exposed to exactly the same levels of abuse, also silenced by shame.
… Then there are the people who have profited financially, professionally and politically because of this man: the boards of directors, associates and actors. They have absurdly claimed ignorance of the repeated conduct taking place behind closed doors… in spite of the payouts that no one had the courage or insight to challenge.
… And finally, we the cinema-goers: we fork out our money to be entertained by the product of an industry based on exploitation and abuse, thereby we fund its perpetuation. We have paid for this grotesque charade, showered adulation on the man, and the women who are fodder for his insatiable appetite. We have provided the gold for the “king maker” to build his degenerate empire.
Everybody knew it was happening, and the fact is we all know.
Weinstein was behind glamorous fundraising activities for liberal politicians. He endorsed (and how can we not say hypocritically) women’s rights. He was lauded for contributions to the arts. We all fell for it, betraying a wilful alignment of all humanity, all of us, to the superficial story – the fairytale we wish and hope was true.
The people who have fawned over Weinstein for decades are frantically backpedalling, feigning ignorance and horror. In doing so they reveal the hypocrisy this society runs on. We all condone it, as long as the superficial gloss fulfils our needs. Very few people have had the courage to observe this phenomenon and call it for what it is.
It is the horrific outplay of our choice to be deliberately ignorant of the energetic integrity and energetic responsibility that we are all equally capable of.
Until we understand this, we run the risk of this episode being repeated, over and over again.
If this tale demonstrates anything, it is that we have lost more than we can imagine when we stopped placing value on our capacity to deeply read people and situations, and know their intents. Our capacity to know who is safe, honest, decent and true, and who is not, has been sacrificed on the altar of career success, maintaining the abusive status quo, seeking fame or the belief that we cannot speak if we do not have incontrovertible "proof".
The capacity to be aware and to know truth is innate. It is our clairsentience – the ability to read the energy behind everything that happens in life. The fact is that in this scenario everybody knew what was going on – the awareness was there, people knew Weinstein’s intentions – they simply chose the comfort of their job security over admitting the truth. Thus they all failed to ensure that it did not happen to anyone else.
It also reveals the profound and devastating harm of creating a society that promotes the fantasy as it utterly neglects the innermost of its every citizen. This is the part of us that condemns neither Weinstein, his colleagues, the women he abused, nor our own part in the whole. It understands that every woman and man was degraded in this situation: the women, the enablers, the potential witnesses who failed call it out, the corrupt system of Hollywood and inevitably Weinstein himself.
From awareness, and without fear or favour, we must resolutely call and hold each and every one to energetic account.
It is only through the light of the Soul and its profound living wisdom that this situation can be fully understood and hence ultimately healed. It offers the perspective that reads through the otherwise inexplicable abusiveness, blindness, neglect and hunger for recognition to the core of the issue – the damaged being underneath the actions. It knows, beyond doubt, that deeper still is the capacity within us all for respect, care and love for self and all others, and our capacity to live energetic integrity and energetic responsibility for and with each other.
Make it about Weinstein and all we have are short-term solutions, and the inevitable wait for another abuser and their victims to be unmasked in the seemingly endless cycle of abuse, corruption and gender power play.