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The Discussion Does Not End With Harvey Weinstein

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Ever since the article revealing acclaimed director Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment was published in The New Yorker, more than seventy women have come forward with tales of Weinstein’s sexual harassment, assault, or rape– and the number of women is still growing. Even more shocking may be the fact that much of the entertainment industry was aware of Weinstein’s reputation, yet this is the first time the public has heard about it.

For the women in the industry, coming forward about Weinstein’s misdeeds was associated with a fear of their careers ending. Much of these women were coerced into sexual acts in exchange for success, and others feared being blacklisted before their careers even started. The men in Hollywood, especially those in positions of power, aware of Weinstein’s actions simply turned a blind eye, and in doing so, unconsciously contributed to the systemic problem of sexual harassment against women deeply rooted in Hollywood.

While Weinstein has been removed from several different film institutions such as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Weinstein Company, the problem still persists within Hollywood and outside as well. While several of Weinstein’s past collaborators and friends (such as Ben Affleck) have decided to donate their earnings from Weinstein’s films to charities supporting women in film, accusations against other men in the industry have arisen as well, and likely more remain quiet among the survivors of Hollywood. Ben Affleck, although he has publicly denounced Weinstein and expressed condemnation of Weinstein’s actions, has himself been accused of groping several women in the industry. Sexual harassment has not started and ended with Harvey Weinstein; many more perpetrators likely exist in the industry, and there is still a lot more to be done.

The gravity of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein have started a discussion on sexual harassment, assault, rape, and systemic sexism that apply both within Hollywood and outside. The allegations also inspired the social media hashtag “me too” for anyone who has ever experienced sexual harassment, assault, or rape to come forward with their story. While the hashtag has received mostly positive feedback, criticism has come forward about the hashtag pressuring survivors to come forward with their story when they do not want to and forgetting that there are survivors who do not volunteer their stories.

Unfortunately, systemic sexual harassment and violence does not simply exist in the entertainment industry and is extremely prevalent on college campuses as well. The gritty and honest documentary “The Hunting Ground” reveals the struggle of survivors of sexual assault on college campuses in fighting for justice and action taken against their perpetrators in a deeply sexist system, often resulting in the administration remaining largely apathetic or inactive. Although ironic that Weinstein’s former film company The Weinstein Company participated in the distribution of “The Hunting Ground,” the documentary is brutally honest and uncensored in its support of survivors and the need for systemic change to occur.

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The Discussion Does Not End With Harvey Weinstein