Why Is Harvey Weinstein Still Protected?
It's Like A Bad Joke: "An Accused Sexual Assaulter Walks Into A Bar..."
There's a tenet in the North American legal system with which we are all familiar: innocent until proven guilty. We are told we shouldn't openly vilify those who are awaiting trial, even when there is such an overwhelming amount of damning evidence that the person in question should immediately be placed in jail.
Then there's guys like Harvey Weinstein.
I do not know Weinstein. Weinstein and I live and travel in such different worlds that we might as well be on different planets. After all, he was a celebrated film magnate, living the good life in the United States and seemingly very successful. I am a high school English and French teacher who lives in Canada with my husband, two daughters and two children. I know about as much about Harvey Weinstein's life as I do life on Mars.
Then, there were the 2017 revelations that there were scores of women alleging Harvey Weinstein either sexually harassed them to the point of killing their careers or he sexually assaulted them. His marriage imploded as a result, and public appearances by Weinstein are now so rare that Weinstein might well become the next, albeit considerably darker, version of Where's Waldo?
That is, until reports surfaced of Weinstein and an entourage visiting the Downtime Bar, which features something called Actors' Hour.
Again, innocent until proven guilty, right? Weinstein has pled not guilty to the charges facing him, so until he goes to trial, he is perfectly entitled to roam freely as he sees fit.
However, the crimes with which he's been charged aren't minor offenses under any country's law. These are serious crimes which will, depending on the effectiveness of his legal team and the negotiations that will undoubtedly occur behind the scenes, almost certainly land Weinstein in jail. These are allegations that will likely follow Weinstein for the rest of his life, like a bad smell, and in all honesty, I truly feel for his children, as they are the ones who have to see all of this play out in the media.
I feel for the women who continue to watch while Weinstein is still free. I feel for the sexual assault survivors who are watching this entire saga play out, and the aftermath of Weinstein's visit to the Downtime Bar is no doubt going to weigh heavily on all involved except Weinstein and his supporters.
Reportedly, Kelly Bachman was a comedian taking the stage while Weinstein was there. According to Guardian, Bachman saw Weinstein, and felt she would—or at least should—address the fact that he was there. “I didn’t know we had to bring our own mace and rape whistles to actor’s hour,” she reportedly said, and in video of the event, booing can be heard in the background after she also said Weinstein was basically like Freddy Krueger. Reportedly, a woman was crying because she was so disturbed by Weinstein's presence, and it was she, and not Weinstein, who was escorted out of the establishment.
It can probably be fairly safely argued that the crimes with which Weinstein has been charged are among some of the worst. Mention his name, and it's not hard to conjure images of powerful men taking advantage of women in whatever way they can. There are reasons why Weinstein has had to keep a low profile, and one would've thought that he would have had the sense to continue to lay low until all of his legal issues were over. Again, I do understand the concept of "innocent until proven guilty," but in this case, Weinstein appears to be the most unrepentant accused offender in recent memory.
When he appeared at the Downtime Bar, why is it no one thought to stop his group at the door, simply out of respect for the ladies in attendance? Again, innocent until proven guilty, but is the desire for money so great that the bar's owners determined that it was okay to let Weinstein into their establishment?
I wasn't there at the Downtime Bar, and I don't believe that we will ever get the full story as to what would have caused the women who were ejected from the bar that night to get ejected. We won't get the full story about why Weinstein was even there, though in a statement, one of Weinstein's spokespeople said that he “was out with friends enjoying the music and trying to find some solace in his life that has been turned upside down."
Why is the man still being protected? Yes, "innocent until proven guilty," and we, as the media-consuming audience, are getting several different media reports, in addition to the statements released by Weinstein's people. The truth of what happened that night at the Downtime Bar is probably always going to be shrouded in mystery.
However, we need to honestly look at why, in spite of Weinstein's right to due process, he is still being protected.