Arts & Culture

Harvey Weinstein Under Fire as Over 50 Actresses Accuse Him of Sexual Harassment

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The film industry is said to be the breeding ground of a number of unreported sexual assault cases. Here is a look at the scandal surrounding Hollywood’s famous director, Harvey Weinstein.

The film industry is one of the most expensive and glamorous spaces for the construction of art. Over time, though, it has associated itself with more commercialised ventures. The focus has shifted from the importance of a good script to the importance of good aesthetics. Actors and actresses are more concerned with how their characters appear physically, rather than how they are portrayed. The industry is rapidly shifting to catering to what sells, rather than what is stimulating.

In this industry, the job of a director is to hone talent of actors, give direction, guide, and take the best out of them to create creative content that benefits both the director and the actors’ careers. In the production of a movie, the post of a director is one that holds sway over the working of actors; the director holds the authority to mould and guides the actor so as to elicit the best representation of the character they are portraying. For this reason, an actor’s success is always credited to the director for their counsel. This dichotomy ensures that the directors are in a place of power, as compared to the actors. When new talent is discovered in the industry, their “shelf life” is determined by the person they are discovered by. Being launched by the “right” director has a huge impact on the actor’s future; if their talents are honed and directed towards roles that benefit their future in the industry, these actors are then more likely to receive more beneficial offers, and consequently, find the space to develop their own skill and careers in more challenging roles.

This reflects upon a huge responsibility that rests on the directors’ shoulders, which they should be aware of and uphold honourably. Harvey Weinstein is considered to be one of the most legendary directors in the Hollywood industry. His work has been critically acclaimed, and he has been an esteemed member of the Academy. He rose to fame when he started out on a business venture with his brother. In the duration of his career, he has also directed numerous Oscar-winning actresses.

Recently, a French actress named Emma de Caunes has come out and accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her, which opened a floodgate of accusations from over 50 women, including many mainstream Hollywood actresses like Cara DeLevigne, Lupita Nyongo, Angelina Jolie, Lena Headey, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc. The allegations included statements from the actresses, which claimed that he invited these actresses to engage in threesomes with him, insisted on having meetings in his personal hotel room, and even forced himself on some of them.

As a consequence, Weinstein has come under fire from the industry. His membership in the Academy has now been revoked. Many reports have been circulated in the media, stating that he will now be discredited for his recent releases and shows like Lifetime Project Runway, that he has actively been working on.

However, the need of the hour is not to retract Weinstein’s eminence in industry, but to expose precisely how his position of power allowed him to abuse his responsibility of encouraging new talent. Instead, he caused severe emotional and mental trauma, and reduced the potential of his power and resorted to seeking and demanding sexual favours from those who were starting out in their careers, from young actresses who he considered to be vulnerable.


Feature Image Credits: Entertainment Tonight

Bhavya Banerjee

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