The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled film producer and sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, but not other notable abusers — including Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski and Casey Affleck — showing that they are just saving face and are willing to let other abusers off the hook. Weinstein faced accusations of rape, assault and sexual harassment from over 40 women in just one month. While expelling him is a good and logical first step and helps set new standards, the discrepancy in keeping other men in Hollywood that also have sexual misconduct records shows that the industry is still willing to protect most of the powerful, abusive men from the repercussions of their actions.
News of Weinstein’s harassment of actresses arose when Ronan Farrow published the results of a 10-month investigation into Weinstein’s actions in an article in the New Yorker. Farrow’s report published actresses Asia Argento and Lucia Evans’ claims that Weinstein raped them. An October New York Times article by Jodi Kantor and Meghan Twohey said that Weinstein privately used settlements and threats of costly litigation to silence his victims. Any punitive action he faces, from expulsion from the academy to being fired from his own company, he brought upon himself. Weinstein has a disgusting track record of abuse spanning more than 15 years, and he used his power to coerce his victims into staying silent.
Now they are speaking out, and rightfully being met with support from other Hollywood figures. However, some people such as film director Oliver Stone showed support for Weinstein, while fashion designer Donna Karan blamed sexual harassment the way women dress, according to an Oct. article by The Guardian. Woody Allen said that “rushing to judgment” on such cases will “lead to a witch hunt atmosphere … where every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself,” according to the New York Times. Nowhere is apathy for victims of rape and sexual harassment more evident than the dissonance between the Academy’s choice to expel Weinstein and keeping Cosby, Polanski and Affleck.
Weinstein is the second person to be expelled by the Academy, according to the 2017 NPR transcript. While this is a good publicity move for the Academy, more Hollywood stars accused of sexual assault need to be ousted.
Affleck faced sexual harassment lawsuits in 2010, and he will be presenting the Best Actress Award at the next awards show. Cosby faced accusations of sexual assault and sexual harassment from over 50 women, according to CNN. Marianne Barnard accused Polanski of molesting her when she was just 10 years old. Instead of facing punitive action by major players of Hollywood, they get off scot free and are allowed to pursue their careers.
The Academy made a step forward by expelling an abuser from its ranks. Now, it needs to prove that this is not just a publicity stunt and hold all abusers accountable by giving men like Cosby and Polanski the boot.