Weinstein: the First Witch to be Hanged?

Bobby SHEPHERD / 21h20 - 23 october 2017 / 0 comments

News of TV and film mogul Harvey Weinstein’s alleged indiscretions have left us all saddened but not surprised.

Saddened for obvious reasons, but not surprised because we all knew, deep down, that this sort of behaviour has been rife for some time in Hollywood – the larger-than-life symbol of the entertainment business. Let’s face it, the term ‘casting couch’ dates back decades. Just listen to Tippi Hedren recall how the ‘great’ Alfred Hitchcock used his power and status to sexually harass her back in the days of black and white movies and you get the hint.

Yet while the media sit in judgment – and rightly so – of one of Tinseltown’s (once) most influential men, Harvey Weinstein, the fact they choose to lead a witch-hunt before there is any evidence of wrongdoing is found, and don’t apply the same pressure to other known and proven sex pests, raises questions in itself.

Donald Trump, president of the United States of America, was recorded openly bragging about sexual misconduct with women. Not only did the evidence and subsequent accusations surface during Trump’s presidential campaign, he laughed it off as ‘locker room’ humour – and the scandal barely made a dent in his charge to the White House. What’s more, he is now the leader of the free world.

Then there is Roman Polanski, the veteran Polish film director who pleaded guilty to ‘unlawful sexual Intercourse with a minor’, but fled the USA on the day of sentencing (back in 1978). Obtaining French citizenship and living in Switzerland has made him almost immune to facing justice and the severity of his crimes.

Last, but not least, who could possibly forget Bill Cosby? The man who admitted to acquiring the prescription and once recreational drug Quaalude, to ‘administer’ to women he wanted to have sex with. Both Cosby and Polanski remain Academy members, while Weinstein had his membership taken away, shortly after he was fired by the company he co-founded. We know Weinstein is guilty of inappropriate behaviour by virtue of the fact he is undergoing therapy and asked reporters for a second chance. However, the fact of the matter is Weinstein has not been arrested, yet the media are trying to make him the first witch to be hanged. There’s a reason the others have been left alone. That’s a story in itself, isn’t it?

Robert Shepherd is a journalist and founder of www.theairwaves.org.uk