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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Harvey finds out who his real friends are

I don't think I've ever seen a fall from grace (excluding those which involve murder) quite as quick as Harvey Weinstein's. The piling on has been fast and furious, to use the title of one of the few movies Weinstein had no hand in.

Now that Harvey's show biz career has gone the way of OJ's and Bill Cosby's, and now that he no longer has any power, everyone and their sister has come out to say that either (a) they, too, were a victim, or (b) they are oh-so shocked and offended to find out that Harvey was actually a serial sexual harasser.

At this point I'm almost more sympathetic to Weinstein than I am to his various accusers.

Rose McGowan got a settlement from him back in 1997, signed a nondisclosure deal, and subsequently got cast in at least three more Weinstein movies. But now she's violating the terms of her deal. And she's lashing out not only at Weinstein, but also at all those who've remained silent for years, conveniently forgetting that she, too, was one of them.

Jane Fonda has expressed her dismay, adding that Weinstein never hit on her since he "preferred the younger ones because they're more vulnerable." (No Jane, he preferred the younger ones because they're more physically appealing, though you were a beauty in your days as Hanoi Jane.)

Minka Kelly has chimed in to say how terrible it was that Weinstein offered her trips on private jets and luxury vacations if she would be his girlfriend. (I'm not sure exactly what the crime was, there.)

Anyway, you've seen the headlines; the list of Weinstein's accusers currently stands at 30 and counting.

Then there's Hillary, who released a vaguely worded statement expressing surprise at Weinstein's behavior and condemning that type of behavior. Hillary is obviously an innocent idealist who had no idea that these kinds of pay-for-play schemes go on, otherwise she would never have accepted Weinstein's political donations.

Some of the men who've castigated Weinstein for his behavior are equally hypocritical. Ben Affleck and Oliver Stone chimed in with criticisms, but it turned out that both of them had acted similarly.

I'd be impressed if just one guy were to say, "Listen, we all knew what he was up to. He had a reputation as a pig, and from what I saw, he lived up to it. Let's face it, with that mug there was no way he was getting laid without using his clout, so he used it. A lot of guys would have done the same. But, the guy treated me well. He produced my script, and even let me direct. So he was a mentor to me, and for that I'll always be grateful. I can't condone some of the other things he did, but I try to treat people as they treat me, and he treated me well."

I'd be even more impressed if an actress were to say, "Sure, I slept with him. I had to, to get the role. He didn't spell it out that blatantly, but it was always sort of understood. I was young and poor and needed the work. So, I held my nose and let him do his thing. Frankly, I'm glad I did. Look at the career I've had since. I'm rich, and famous, and even have a reputation as a good actress. And if I weren't doing this, I'd be waiting tables somewhere. Do you have any idea how many beautiful young women come to Hollywood because their friends told them they should be actresses, and never get anywhere? One thing I'll say for Harvey, he was good on his word -- he gave me the part. You have no idea how many guys will lie to get you into bed. At least Harvey delivered. Sure, he was a grotesque pig, but overall, I'm grateful to him."

I could respect that. Working hard -- and having sex with Weinstein has to qualify as that -- to get ahead is the American way. And honesty is a rare commodity, especially in Hollywood.

But, so far, no such people have emerged. All of his former friends and associates and beneficiaries have used the opportunity to come forward and burnish their own credentials for goodness.

All of this brings to mind Ted Bundy's mother, who, on the eve of his execution, spoke to him twice by phone, telling him, "You'll always be my precious son."

That is true loyalty. Bundy obviously deserved to be executed -- at least 36 times over -- and there's no justifying him in any way. But, the fact that his mother still loved him after all he'd done shows exactly what real love -- or friendship -- is supposed to be. And it's actually sort of moving to know that his mother said that to him at the end. Especially since she appears to have been nothing but a victim in that situation too: Ted was apparently the result of her rape by her father.

You can't compare a mother's love to a Hollywood "friendship." But the point is that real love -- or friendship -- sticks through thick and thin. Things are pretty thin for Harvey right now -- as they should be -- and there seems to be no one who has stood by him.

Not even his own brother, or his wife.

There hasn't even been a single positive word.

I'm not even suggesting Weinstein deserves to have friends. (No sociopath does, really.) But there must be someone he was good to -- at least one guy whose career he helped -- who ought to show some loyalty. (Quentin, where are you?)

But so far, no one has.


Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful story about Ted Bundy's mother. It brought tears to my eyes. If I were rich, I would buy a cold windswept island, and build a small votive chapel there (with those racks of little candles that you light when you pray) in her honor, just on the strength of that anecdote.

John Craig said...

Thank you; I found that moving when I first heard it, too, especially because up until that point I had always assumed that it was his mother's coldness that had turned Ted into the monster he was. But, I was dead wrong on that.

Anonymous said...

Poor Harvey, the Kingpin thought he controlled all the animals of Holly Jungle. What a way to find out who his friends really are. The definition of fake friends: Once they stop talking to you, they start talking about you.

Unfortunately for him, Mama Dearest is no more to say that she loves him no matter what.

TYPO (three more Weinstein moves.) movies


John Craig said...

Sherie --
Personally, I think Harvey's former "friends" come across almost as poorly as he did in this whole episode.

Have to wonder about Harvey's mother.

Thank you re: the typo, it's been corrected.

Steven said...

Rose McGowan, and apparently others, are saying he raped them now. RM said that she needed three surgeries on her wrist and elbow as a result, so we're talking something very physically forceful. If that's the case, and I don't think we can count it out given his character and other behaviour, then that's another level of seriousness and you're proposed statements aren't appropriate.

Woody Allen has expressed sympathy for him though, so there's one.

John Craig said...

Steven --
That proposed statement would certainly be inappropriate for any woman he raped. But I get the impression there are some women -- probably a fairly long list -- who just went ahead and let Harvey have his way with them. And if he delivered on his implicit promise to have them star i his movies, then the statement would be appropriate.

I hadn't heard that Rose McGowan needed surgery, yikes.

None of what I wrote is a defense of Weinstein, it's merely a condemnation of the hypocrisy of some of those coming forward now, especially Ben Affleck and Oliver Stone and Hillary Clinton.

LBD said...

Rose McGowan made a movie called Rosewood Lane in 1911 for Victor Salva. Salva went to prison some years ago for his rape of a twelve year old boy. He pled guilty because there was compelling evidence-- he filmed the assault.

This was not only "well known" in Hollywood, it was public record in the state of California. If I were Rose McGowan, I would dial down the righteous indignation a notch, since mission accomplished re: Fat Bastard.

John Craig said...

LBD --
I couldn't agree with you more, in fact was thinking about writing a post about McGowan.

Shaun F said...

John - I think there is a "virtue signalling" component to all this. People coming out and saying this and that about him - is appropriate now. Not saying he isn't a sociopath. I wonder why - now? Who benefits? I wonder how this will affect Hollywood's culture - if at all. I'm sure Hollywood has plenty of sociopaths. I also agree with the gist of Sherie's comment about friends. I don't think people can be "friends" in Hollywood. Actors are all fakes. And fake people don't make for good friends. Furthermore, the nature of the Hollywood machine is too dark. At best I can see people building business alliances that can be mutually beneficial for some time. But there will be an exploitative component to that. I will note some women are attracted to men in positions of power - regardless of how they look. I don't know what that says about these women. Or maybe I do, and I'm too polite to post it. On an aside where is Sherri Papini?

LBD said...

Wow, typo alert, I meant Rosewood Lane was 2011, not 1911. Holy Edwardians!

Steven said...

I read the female statement again and yeah it could still be appropriate...I guess I was more thinking of this sentiment:

'But there must be someone he was good to -- at least one guy whose career he helped -- who ought to show some loyalty.'

...not so much if he was raping women.

I wonder how much talent he had as a producer and how important that role is. He certainly had a great track record. I remember the one time I saw him talking about a movie in an interview, I was quite impressed by him, so I found this quote from Tina Brown interesting:

"I often used to wonder if the physical dissonance between his personal grossness and his artistic sensibility — which was genuine — made him crazy."

John Craig said...

Shaun --
No question about the virtue signaling. I was also going to write a post about that. And as despicable as Weinstein is, there's something really unbecoming about all these people coming out now to condemn and show - by contrast -- how good they are. I suspect that Hollywood friendships are like Wall Street friendships which are in turn like Washington DC friendships, all about what can you do for me?

Good question. I was wondering about that myself the other day: where's Sherri? we haven't heard anything about that investigation. My guess is that the whole thing was a charade. But no news, it's strange.

John Craig said...

LBD --
No problem, I sort of figured that. Rose McGowan is one of those Greek Furies in spirit, not in fact.

John Craig said...

Steven --
It IS ironic how there was such a dichotomy between his personal blunderbuss/bully/rapist style and the exquisite sensitivity of some of the movies he used to produce.

"Talent" as a producer just means you're good at manipulation, at making good deals, and maybe at recognizing talent. It doesn't mean you have any artistic talent yourself. Here's a parallel: Donald Trump was good at putting together real estate deals, and occasionally would even promote boxing matches. It didn't mean he was a good architect, or a good boxer himself, it just meant he was a good businessman. (And there's some question as to whether he was as good a businessman as he claims.) Trump might have been able to recognize a beautiful building when he saw one, or a good boxer, but that's it.

Weinstein was the same, a good businessman, with a shrewd eye for talent. (Especially, in his case I guess, if it went to bed with him.)

Anonymous said...

in re talent

My daddy (who was rich, self-made, brilliant, and liked to shuffle his feet and pose as a dumb country boy) often did say, "I WOULD RATHER BE LUCKY THAN GOOD."

So, maybe Donald and Harvey are not at all brilliant and talented, but, FOR SOME REASON, they are the lead sled dogs, and all of the other brilliant, more-talented, misunderstood, tragic genius saints, are reduced to following behind the lead sled dog and making endless disparaging comments about his asshole.

Actually I think success is fairly just, over time, water finds its level, etc.

I think Donald did a REALLY GOOD JOB getting himself elected, I watched easily 100+ hours of his speeches, and all of his detractors who say he's a know-nothing LACK THE WIT to recognize all of the many marvelous perceptive reaction skills that all of his rallies
so abundantly displayed. Seriously, he did such great work, he has got to have residual overflow competence in many other areas, since he is not an autistic savant.


John Craig said...

Yes, that's exactly the talent that both Donald and Harvey had: manipulation, and dominance over other men. Both qualities are essential for a successful businessman, which is what both of them essentially were. And you're right, Donald read the mood of the American people, he knew what they wanted, and he knew exactly how to throw red meat to them. He also had an instinctive sense of how to tar his opponents. The second he started referring to Jeb Bush as "low energy" Bush was cooked. Carly Fiorina's momentum seemed to stop as soon as he called her ugly. And it didn't help Clinton to be referred to as "Crooked Hillary." The Wall was a stroke of genius given that the public is fed up with unfettered immigration, and his scoffing at political correctness was also the right touch for a public fed up with that.

And I'm sure Weinstein was the same way in his personal dealings: he knew what those actresses wanted, and he dangled it in front of them, and let them know it was theirs if they were willing to pay the price. And he knew what everyone else wanted, too.

But these are talents that are generally not referred to as "talents." Neither of these men could have written a screenplay, or designed a building himself. They were like Steve Jobs, shrewd at recognizing those talents in others and then good (and shameless) at being manipulative to get what they wanted, and good at taking the spotlight.

Dave Moriarty said...

Harv's week reminds me of the Bonfire of the Vanities story. Tom Wolfe painted a picture of the successful bond trader with a nicely advantaged existence. Late one night driving thru Harlem the protagonist, Sherman McCoy, ( a perfect name for our guy) who runs over a black kid in the middle of the night. In no time at all everyone rolls over on him. Job, family, friends give him up faster than it takes someone to wink. The only people who give him any due are out to take advantage of the situation for their own benefit. (his defense attorney and reporters).

Harv is lined up for more rough sledding.

and one lesson to glean from all this : if we have true friends we should appreciate them

John Craig said...

Dave --
Sherman McCoy, that's a good analogy. Except that Sherman was pretty much a regular guy, a little pretentious maybe, but his personality wasn't that far from the norm. Harvey's fall from grace has been even more precipitous, and far more public, but he deserves his fall in a way that Sherman did not. Harvey basically ran roughshod over everyone in his life, and now that he's lost his power, all the people he ran over are lining up to throw invective at him.

But I like the analogy. Harvey Weinstein is like a character right out of a Tom Wolfe novel. in fact, in "Back to Blood," there was a billionaire sex addict who was actually a lot like Harvey. Fat, Jewish, physically grotesque, rich, and powerful. But not quite a sociopath like Harvey. Just a guy with an addiction. I think Tom Wolfe is great, maybe our greatest living writer, but the one problem I've always had with him is that all of his characters dwell on the same venal moral level; none of them are quite bad enough to be sociopaths, but at the same time most are nothing better than narcissistic personalities.

Alicia W. said...

I'm hardly sympathetic toward Harvey Weinstein. The man is a creepy scumbag and deserves what he gets as far as I'm concerned. Though I do definitely find it hard to feel sympathetic toward or to take seriously all of the people who have commented on or were involved in this whole debacle. It certainly shows how hypocritical people are.

John Craig said...

Sunburst223 --
Yes, Harvey deserves to burn in whatever hell he ends up in (and not having any power, any family, any nookie, or much money would probably qualify as hell for him, given what he's used to. But yeah, there seem to have been a fair amount of people who've spoken up who should have kept their mouths shut.

GT said...

Weinstein is a sociopath so not surprising he has no true friends. Narcissistic and treating people as objects will not build a true lasting friendship.