Powerful Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was long associated with politically correct "progressive causes" — a major contributor and fundraiser for (only) Democrats, including his friends Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. Weinstein also gave $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Malia Obama interned at his company before enrolling at Harvard.
“Harvey’s Story” is not about promiscuity but about allegedly exploiting women. But his ouster yesterday from The Weinstein Company was really because his sordid conduct became public.
Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian cited a hypocritical anti-abortion Republican congressman who privately urged his mistress to pursue an abortion. I discuss such duplicity in my new book, "Whiplash! From JFK to Donald Trump – A Political Odyssey" (Jameson Books) where I explain a double standard, that most conservative Republican politicians involved in sex scandals have resigned, not run again, or been defeated, but most liberal Democrats generally stayed in power. Abcarian depicted Weinstein as “a liberal Democrat who publicly champions women’s rights and professional achievement but demeans and exploits them in private.” To her credit, Abcarian included Bill Clinton “on that list.”
In last week’s expose of Weinstein, The New York Times effectively challenged its Hollywood sycophants. Weinstein will not likely, as he promised, sue the newspaper, because a defamation suit would expose him to discovery and depositions, and thus embolden more women to come forward.
The Weinstein Company’s board of directors quickly hired lawyers “to investigate the allegations.” Several directors resigned rather than be part of this predictable sham. Those who remained on the sinking ship quickly threw Weinstein under it yesterday. The company already had withdrawn from the Outfest Legacy Awards, there to be honored “as a corporate trailblazer” by the LGBTQ festival, a self-congratulatory Hollywood ritual. Perhaps it might instead opt for a MAFV (middle America family values) festival.
In his pretend-contrite statement Weinstein was self-congratulatory about his year-old organizing efforts for “a $5 million foundation to give scholarships to women directors at USC...named after my mom and I won’t disappoint her.” (At least he did not produce the new movie, “Mother.”) Somehow women made it as major studio heads without gender programs! Consider Sherry Lansing (Twentieth Century Fox, 1980; Paramount, 1992), Dawn Steel (Paramount, 1985; Columbia 1987), and Amy Pascal (Columbia 1999; Sony, 2006). How about a scholarship foundation for directors, men and women, outside the Hollywood political mold?
More than a generation ago I worked briefly with one of the most famous producers in American television. He and his collaborators were credentialed liberals, pro-ERA and pro-choice, but they were sexual exploiters, if not predators. This Hollywood ethos is in remission, but hardly extinct, even among those claiming to fight a supposed Republican “War on Women.” Speaking of trendy causes, Weinstein ended what Variety called his “bizarre” statement with a promise “to channel that anger…to give the NRA my full attention.” That non-sequitur may sound like James Carville spin, but was more likely from Harvey’s attorney Lisa Bloom, a feminist ideologue who, with her mother Gloria Allred, usually represents women “victims.”
“I came of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then,” Weinstein explained. “Over the last year, I’ve asked Lisa Bloom to tutor me, and she’s put together a team of people. I’ve brought in therapists… Trust me…”
Bloom in turn gushed that Weinstein “is reading books and going to therapy. He is an old dinosaur learning new ways [and] going to use this as a painful learning experience to grow into a better man.” Bloom, who knows the “old dinosaur” defense because she represents women suing Bill Cosby, pledged to “continue to work with Harvey personally for as long as it takes" — while her meter runs.
Bloom also promised, “Harvey is not going to demean or attack any of the women making accusations against him.” But according to The New York Times, Bloom’s strategy was to discredit the women, and with “photos of several of the accusers in very friendly poses with Harvey after his alleged misconduct.” Preempting an attack on her conflict of interest with Weinstein and his company Bloom noted: “And as we work together on a project bringing my book to the screen, he has always been respectful toward me.”
Rebuking her daughter, Gloria Allred threatened to represent Weinstein’s accusers, “even if it meant that my daughter was the opposing counsel.” Greed is good, Lisa, but not when it’s bad for the image. In rebuttal, Bloom boasted her firm handled “revenge porn cases.” And then she resigned from representing Harvey. Yesterday Bob Weinstein joined The Weinstein Company’s directors in firing his brother. The legendary rainmaker is now bad for business.
This is, after all, Hollywood.
Arnold Steinberg is the author of "WHIPLASH! From JFK to Donald Trump, A Political Odyssey." His classic graduate texts, "Political Campaign Management: A Systems Approach" and "The Political Campaign Handbook: Media, Scheduling and Advance" defined modern political campaigns. He has testified numerous times as a court-recognized expert, including on campaigns, media, and polling. He has conducted 2,000 polls and focus groups and pioneered in innovative sampling methodology, question formats, and analytics; he consulted on strategy for hundreds of political campaigns, including historic ballot measures. He has lectured widely and taught at the Graduate School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. He is extensively published in American media and a frequent television and radio analyst. He has helped formulate major policy, ranging from free market and libertarian issues to national security to criminal justice reform. He served on federal, state and local government commissions. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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