Harassment in Hollywood

Respect is an unspoken freedom that people are entitled to. Men, women, and children.

So why do people believe that they have the right to disregard that underlying respect for others?

On October 5, 2017, Harvey Weinstein, head of production companies such as Miramax and the Weinstein Company, was accused of sexually harassing big name celebrities such as Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, and Gwyneth Paltrow, among many others.

Naturally, Mr. Weinstein denied all of the allegations, but that did not prevent him from being fired from the Weinstein Company on October 8 and resigning from the company’s board nine days later. Mr. Weinstein was also removed from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, from which he had received five Oscars.

I asked senior Madeline Penree, a strong supporter of women’s rights, about her stance on the topic.

Ms. Penree

“It’s disgusting,” said Ms. Penree.

In an article by Yashir Ali for the Huffington Post, Oscar winner Meryl Streep is quoted as calling Mr. Weinstein’s actions “an abuse of power” and “inexcusable.”

With accounts dating back to the 1990s, Hollywood was reluctant to address the issue initially, but gradually more and more celebrities, victims and bystanders, have spoken out against Mr. Weinstein.

Some may question if women were truly justified in hesitating to reveal their experiences to the public, which may lack understanding of what these women went through.

In response to this point, Ms. Penree said, “ Definitely because predominately it’s a very personal thing and a very traumatic thing for all women to experience, especially if it’s something that makes them personally uncomfortable. And they might not want to relive that.”

Mr. Weinstein has his own side of the story: he is innocent.

Does  Ms. Penree believe this?

“Absolutely not. Especially in men who have positions of power and specifically in Hollywood you see this a lot. Men who have well established careers will become involved in sex scandals and women will finally come out saying that this happened.”

But celebrities are not alone in speaking out against not just Mr. Weinstein, but sexual harassment in general.

In an effort to make their personal experiences known, women across America have begun taking part in the #MeToo campaign on social media.

Actress Alyssa Milano restarted the campaign in response to the Weinstein scandal, but now women have used it as a platform to try a make a difference concerning the way people handle sexual harassment and assault.

Although events like this scandal have occurred in the past and nothing has amounted from them, the public scale of the Weinstein scandal seems to have the potential to truly ignite a spark in women across America. It has, in fact, been the direct cause of several prominent men to lose their positions in the last month, including comedian Lewis C.K, talk-show host Charlie Rose, and actor Kevin Spacey.

“I think any woman or even person who hears about this would be outraged,” said Ms. Penree.

Even men?

“I don’t know because this is on such a removed level (Hollywood)…I don’t know if it will have an effect like that,” Ms. Penree said.

Even though men may not be immediately affected by this event, it is clear that women are being affected whether it is a relatable topic to them personally or not.

In the long run, I do believe a change will appear where women can stop being afraid to speak about their experiences and can come forward without a scandal such as this one having to occur for that to happen.

The age of fear for women is slowly coming to a close, but the only way this ideal world free of pain and fear can be achieved is if women stand by each other no matter the differences between them.

All women have something in common: their strength.

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