How deep does the Harvey Weinstein rabbit hole go? Perhaps more importantly, have Harvey Weinstein’s political donations in any way helped to prevent Harvey Weinstein from being held accountable for his actions?
Hollywood big-wigs are in a unique position to exploit others for sexual gain, being able to make or break aspiring stars, in some cases on a whim. Movies have been made about beautiful women using their sexuality to move to the top, and occasionally a movie touches on unwanted sexual advances from Hollywood big-wigs toward aspiring stars. And it isn’t just women. Sexually abusing child actors – both boys and girls – has been an open secret in Hollywood pretty much since Hollywood was founded (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2832007/New-documentary-spotlighting-sex-abuse-against-Hollywood-s-child-actors-set-reveal-names-molesters.html).
We need to be clear that what is going on in Hollywood is both systemic, and protected. Sexual abuse, and particularly child sexual abuse, has been illegal under federal law since 1973, and when the abuse crosses a certain threshold, with most of the abusers getting away with the abuse for decades (if not forever), it is imperative to find out just how bad the problem really is, and whether or not political connections have in any way impeded prosecution.
The number of women from Hollywood claiming to have been sexually abused at some point in their careers is reaching into the thousands, and while many of these claims may be below the threshold of actual abuse (putting your arm around a woman on a date is not abuse but is sometimes today called that), the sheer number of allegations implies a serious problem, and the nature of power in Hollywood makes it entirely possible that some Hollywood agencies have protected people in ways that may even violate RICO statutes.
As a libertarian, I think RICO is sometimes over-used, and I hate to call for federal action unless federal laws have actually been broken – ideally laws that relate to a power the federal government should actually wield. At the same time, I agree that the government should have the power to prevent any group or individual from infringing on the liberty of other groups or individuals, and clearly sexual abuse crosses that threshold. This is a case where the federal government can and should act, not only ensuring that those who have used positions of power in Hollywood to force others to commit sexual abuse, without fear of prosecution, are held accountable for their crimes, but also to ensure that Hollywood big-wigs realize that the era where such behavior was allowed, has come to an end.
Imagine your son or daughter striking out to become a star, and being told that while perhaps they have the talent, there is a sex scene in the movie they are being considered for, and the producer needs to see if they are capable of realistically performing a sex act for the camera, on demand. Imagine the producer telling the aspiring star that if they refuse, their career is over. The producer has their way with this aspiring actor – whose only other choice was to give up on acting and head back home – and then when the actor begins to speak out about the abuse, they are told that if they ever say anything, their career is over. To make matters worse, they suddenly start getting parts they were not able to get before, with the understanding that if they play ball, their star will continue to rise. Is this how Hollywood works? If so, we owe it to ourselves to find out, and we owe it to Hollywood to ensure that things change.
The list of Hollywood stars making accusations today reads like a who’s who of Hollywood, including names like Lady Gaga, Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alyssa Milano, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin, Evan Rachel Wood, and countless others. All tell similar stories of having unwanted sexual advances made, and of having their behavior regarding those unwanted advances used as a career making or breaking moment. They all say they could not have said anything afterwards or it would have ended their careers, and that they can only come out now because women – and a surprising number of men – are coming out all at once.
Sean Young came out and said that her career was throttled after she refused to have sex with Warren Beatty, and that was in the early 80s. There are stories going back as far as Hollywood has been on the map. The abused cannot come out lest they be the next Sean Young.
Obviously there is no point in investigating crimes committed in which the statute of limitations has expired (those are now matters for civil court), but our government can and should investigate Hollywood, today, to find out who all is involved, whether or not political connections helped keep the guilty off the hook, and whether or not RICO statutes were broken.
Luckily for us, there is a petition on the White House website, demanding an investigation. Unless you are an anarchist, you should believe that some things truly are the job of government, and sexual abuse is against federal law. Sexual abuse in Hollywood has been swept under the rug for far too long.
Some things truly are the job of government, and it behooves us as libertarians to speak out both when government overreaches, as well as when it under-reaches. If government does nothing in this case, it will amount to a criminal case of under-reach. We must speak up and demand that government do one of its few legitimate jobs.
Please sign the petition and tell the White House to act.