Op-ed

Our response to powerful men’s sex crimes is wholly unimpressive

If you’re only willing to stand up to the sexual assaulters who you already don’t like, you should probably sit this one out.

Hi, I’m a young liberal who voted for Hillary Clinton, and I think Bill Clinton is a sexual predator.

Oh, is that too harsh? Am I supposed to defend the man because he’s married to the woman I voted for? Am I supposed to remember that there are REAL sexual assaulters in the world, as if the crimes Clinton has been accused of are somehow fake because there’s a big ol’ “D” behind his name? Am I supposed to ignore his crimes because Trump’s are worse, as if I’m only allowed to call out one man at a time for his entitlement to women’s bodies? Because honestly, I’m just getting started.

When I was 22-years-old, I was an office assistant for the Weinstein Company. During that time, I was told never to find myself alone with Harvey Weinstein — to not even make eye contact with him — because he was such a raging asshole. It wasn’t anything sexual. He had a reputation for being so unhinged that I was better off if he literally didn’t know who I was. When the news broke a couple weeks ago that he had used his power to sexually assault women, I don’t think I’ve ever been less surprised in my life.

Now big Hollywood player after big Hollywood player has come forward to denounce him and play the role of shocked, outraged, innocent bystander. Hey, fuck you all. The actors who have apologized for not doing more — Ryan Gosling, Colin Firth, for example — are at least honest about their complicity, and that leads me to believe they are more likely to do something in the future.

It’s all part of a cycle, isn’t it? At some point, the gossip is too much to ignore, he falls from grace just a little bit (The Weinstein Co. had some infighting and Harvey had only produced 5 movies in the last 2 years, so his stock had dipped), and he is such a garbage human being on every level that we all sacrificed him at the Altar of Convenient Defense of Womankind without examining the culture of how he was able to do so much damage in the first place. I genuinely believe that one less verbal or physical assault and Weinstein would still be in the Academy.

But back to Clinton and Trump. The GOP used what happened with Monica Lewinsky as a cynical political move, which meant liberal pundits had to defend it as no big deal. But using your power as leader of the free world to coerce a 23-year-old intern into sexual favors is a gross thing to do, and she got all the heat for it while the rest of us made bro jokes about how Clinton loves his blow j’s.

This doesn’t even address the other women who have come forward and accused him of sexual assault and even rape. What do those women have to gain? You saw what happened to Lewinsky. It’s not worth it.

President Trump has also been accused of rape and sexual assault and sexual harassment over and over again, and people have minimized it and pretended it wasn’t true in order to defend voting for such a vile human being. But if you’re only willing to stand up to the sexual assaulters who you already don’t like, then I got some bad news. Some of these guys are charming as hell. Some of them care about their families. Some of them are even good at their jobs. If you don’t call it out, you’re part of the problem.

We all are.

Featured image: Thomas Hawk/Mauricio Macri/Gage Skidmore/Tara Giancaspro

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