The media today: Two weeks in, the Weinstein fallout continues

Who knew? Who was harassed? Who else is out there? Two weeks after The New York Times blew the lid off the Harvey Weinstein story, developments continue and an increasing number of women are speaking out about their experiences in Hollywood and beyond.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported that an Italian model-actress accused Weinstein of rape, and LA police confirmed that they have opened an investigation into Weinstein’s alleged actions. Weinstein is already facing sex crime inquiries in London and New York. He has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

Meanwhile, questions about who knew of Weinstein’s alleged behavior and kept quiet have started getting answers. Quentin Tarantino, the director most closely aligned with Weinstein, said he wished he had done something to intervene. “I knew enough to do more than I did,” Tarantino told The New York Times’s Jodi Kantor. The director admitted that he had heard rumors for years, and even received a firsthand account of Weinstein’s actions from then-girlfriend Mira Sorvino. “What I did was marginalize the incidents,” Tarantino said. “Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse.”

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Though it was the work of journalists at The New York Times and The New Yorker that eventually brought allegations against Weinstein to light, many have questioned to what extent media complicity played a role in keeping stories out of print for so long. HuffPost’s Jason Cherkis and Maxwell Strachan report that longtime Variety Editor in Chief Peter Bart was one of Weinstein’s chief enablers, protecting the producer from negative coverage for years. Bart has denied that he ever spiked a story that was publishable.

As the laying of blame continues, more women are coming forward. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o penned a powerful account in the Times of her interactions with Weinstein during her years as a Yale drama student and young actress. “Though we may have endured powerlessness at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, by speaking up, speaking out and speaking together, we regain that power,” Nyong’o writes in a must-read op-ed.

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Beyond the pages of the nation’s media outlets, social media has presented a platform for victims of sexual abuse and harassment to share their stories. On Twitter and Facebook, the #MeToo hashtag suggested by actress Alyssa Milano on Sunday has provided a way for women to share their experiences of harassment and assault. The New Yorker’s Alexandra Schwartz writes that the phrase’s “power lies in its simplicity: the whole poisonous spectrum of misogyny covered in two mundane words.”

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Weinstein is not the first powerful man to be accused of inappropriate or criminal behavior by multiple women, but allegations against him seem to have struck a cultural chord in a way that has far surpassed the reaction to allegations against Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, R. Kelly, Bill O’Reilly, and others. As the specifics of his own case play out, repercussions are being felt across his industry and others.

Below, more on the fallout from Weinstein’s alleged behavior.

 

Other notable stories

  • On the heels of the Times announcing new policies for its journalists’ online conduct, newsroom leaders at The Wall Street Journal issued a memo regarding social media use.
  • For CJR, Anna Clark writes about the use of blunt obituaries to combat the stigma of opioid addiction.
  • White House Chief of Staff John Kelly made an appearance at the lectern in the briefing room to defend President Trump’s call to the family of a soldier killed in Niger. The Washington Post’s Anne Gearan, Philip Rucker, and John Wagner look at how Kelly, himself a Gold Star father, tried to contain a public relations crisis.
  • The New Yorker’s Alexis Okeowo asks why a massive bombing in Somalia has received so little attention. “There was no impromptu hashtag of solidarity, no deluge of television coverage,” she writes. “The lack of public empathy was startling but not surprising.”
  • Craziest story I read yesterday: A video of former NBA prospect Yi Jianlian working out against a chair has long been part of the media narrative surrounding his career. The only problem with that storyline? The video never existed, writes Matt Giles for Deadspin.

 

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Pete Vernon is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @ByPeteVernon.