Message, Delivered

The Women Who Were Heard

Producer and onetime MiraMax studio head Harvey Weinstein had so much power in moviemaking he made his own weather. In partnership with his brother Bob, the two ran MiraMax, a studio named after their parents. The Weinstein Company was a later iteration. With power to approve “greenlight” scripts that transformed actors into stars, came the ability and opportunity to abuse. In courts in recent years, one woman after another came forward to testify; repeating what Courtney Love barely got out, back in 2005, before she turns from the camera, fearing retaliation.

It used to be this blatant, humans. International rock star Suzi Quattro couldn’t sit down as a talk show guest, until male host and his other guest turn her around, vocally admiring her ass as one man slaps it in approval. (@2:46) And while assault and rape was never confined to women, this was one area where abused men could never speak up.

Nauseating, that the casting couch was a meme to be laughed at. If you want to be a creative, pay your dues. And to many, this meant Submit.

Until it didn’t.

Women decided to tell their stories; some, with decades-old “tell-all” memoirs, then to cameras, as more recent events. Then to Courts, where evidence is weighed.

Punishments of abusers went from novelty to commonplace as a changing social order spoke. Harvey Weinstein found himself brought before Courts to face Judge and jury, his younger brother Bob, curtly and forever dismissing him. But what about Bob?

In 2020, LA Times staff writer Stacy Perman quoted former MiraMax staffer Rowena Chiu: “Bob was the closest to Harvey, more than his lawyer … (h)e didn’t sneeze without Bob knowing about it.” 

Unrepentant and whining at his latest sentencing, grieving only his loss of freedom: if Harvey’s ever apologized, I haven’t heard it.

Did you know his accusers on record number hundreds of women? Among this group are seven women who wrote a letter to New York’s Attorney General Letitia James:

We are survivors of sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein. Some of us have lawsuits against him and his former companies. Each of us is committed to seeing that justice is achieved for all of his victims.”

Zoë Brock, Alexandra Canosa, Rowena Chiu, Wedil David, Dominique Huett, Zelda Perkins and Kaja Sokola, as sourced from Medium (bolded emphasis mine)

Once made, this committment must remain in place for years. After the person is sick of it. After your own therapist mocks your effort (my experience.) After all the other pressures of Life, until the trial.

Courage is fear that has said its prayers

Karle Wilson Baker (1878-1960)

The quote belongs to Baker. The sentiment and committment belong with the women who stood on its shoulders to bring Weinstein to trial.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom via her Instagram account, 2023

“I never asked to join this club. None of us did” California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom says within her straight-to-the-camera Instagram video. The mother of four and wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, speaks on the damage Weinstein – and persons in the know, complicient by their silence – did, to so many women and their careers. At trial, jurors found fault with post-assault women trying to resume their professional lives. Siebel Newsom points out that years elapsed before the trial took place, before concluding,

It is time that our male allies in positions of privilege… stand up to the few bad apples, who haven’t just ruined individual women’s lives, but stifled the creative talent pool, dampening our creative and economic output…

Jennifer Siebel Newsom via Instagram

The focus here is on Weinstein. But the response to learning why Brenden Frasier disappeared for years, and the online joy at his comeback, is a place any survivor deserves to stand within.

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