Harvey Weinstein is one unattractive figure in an unattractive industry

by Joanne Black / 24 October, 2017
RelatedArticlesModule - Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein. Photo/Getty Images

In the glamour worlds, Weinstein’s unacceptable behaviour isn’t the only issue.

These days, Harvey Weinstein hardly needs an introduction. He is the reason no one staying in a Hollywood hotel will ever again put on the bathrobe.

A little like those employers who insist on job applicants sitting personality tests or having drug tests as part of the interview process, the US film producer had his own routine for ranking applicants’ suitability. For every prospective employee, the balance of power is so weighted in the employer’s favour that it scarcely feels as if applicants have a choice. They do, but sometimes they implicitly or explicitly know that the choice is either to comply with whatever they are being asked to do or not get the job.

Lately, lots of actresses have given accounts of how they declined to perform favours for Weinstein. Many are famous, so it isn’t true that they necessarily had to endure Weinstein’s casting couch to get a movie role, though perhaps sometimes it helped. For every actress who declined a one-on-one hotel-room session with Weinstein – or a two-on-one, depending on the opportunity – there are presumably some who acquiesced.

Every one of these stories is awful in its own way, but the professed shock and horror from within the movie and fashion worlds is hard to take. It goes without saying that Weinstein’s behaviour, as described, is unacceptable. But in the so-called glamour worlds of Hollywood, fashion and music, women are not just victims. Many are complicit every day in the presentation of their gender as sex objects.

Weinstein was abusing his power in inviting these attractive young women to take off their clothes and perform sex acts for him, even though some of them were auditioning for roles as attractive young women who would take off their clothes and perform sex acts in movies. Some scripts might have created an illusion that the movie was about something more cerebral, but often in Hollywood movies it wasn’t – and still isn’t. That does not excuse Weinstein, of course, but he is just one unattractive figure in an unattractive industry.

This is an excerpt from the Back to Black column that was first published in the October 28, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela on the tragedy of post-apartheid South Africa
108416 2019-07-17 00:00:00Z Profiles

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela on the tragedy of post-apa…

by Clare de Lore

Scathing critic of South African Government corruption Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, here to give a public lecture, has insights about forgiveness after...

Read more
Writer Robert Macfarlane finds deeps truths in Underland
108287 2019-07-17 00:00:00Z Books

Writer Robert Macfarlane finds deeps truths in Und…

by Tony Murrow

In a new book, Robert Macfarlane heads underground to ponder mankind’s effect on the planet.

Read more
Why extra virgin olive oil is back on the menu for frying
108203 2019-07-17 00:00:00Z Nutrition

Why extra virgin olive oil is back on the menu for…

by Jennifer Bowden

For decades, the word in the kitchen has been that olive oil shouldn’t be used for frying, but new research could change that.

Read more
Abstract artist Gretchen Albrecht's true colours
108108 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Profiles

Abstract artist Gretchen Albrecht's true colours

by Linda Herrick

Gretchen Albrecht paintings may be intangible, but they are triggered by real-life experience, she tells Linda Herrick.

Read more
That's a Bit Racist is playful, but it packs a punch
108435 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Television

That's a Bit Racist is playful, but it packs a pun…

by Diana Wichtel

The taboo-busting doco is trying to change our default settings on race, but some people aren't stoked.

Read more
Are there too many tourists in NZ?
108444 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Are there too many tourists in NZ?

by North & South

Here's what's inside North and South's August 2019 issue.

Read more
Huawei's dogged determination: Can it make a breakthrough in New Zealand?
108428 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Tech

Huawei's dogged determination: Can it make a break…

by Peter Griffin

The tech company at the centre of a trade war between the US and China is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to prove it can be trusted.

Read more
The many miracles of Aretha Franklin movie Amazing Grace
108368 2019-07-15 00:00:00Z Movies

The many miracles of Aretha Franklin movie Amazing…

by Russell Baillie

A long-lost concert movie capturing Lady Soul in her prime is heading to the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Read more