Harvey Weinstein was allowed to attend an event for young performers at the Downtime Bar in Manhattan by the event organizer, Alexandra Laliberte. He showed up with an entourage — disgraced rapists still get to have an entourage if they’re rich enough, I guess. Some women in the audience and on stage were horrified at the monster in their midst, and called him out.
One comedian, Kelly Bachman, called him out in her act onstage, referring to him as “the elephant in the room” and “Freddy Krueger.”
“I didn’t know we had to bring our own Mace and rape whistles to Actor’s Hour,” said Bachman in a video posted to Instagram.
Some audience members, ostensibly men, then started booing. “Shut up,” said one person.
“This kills at group therapy for rape survivors,” replied Bachman, who noted she herself was a rape survivor. Bachman said “fuck you” to Weinstein before continuing with her set.
She wasn’t alone.
“So many women have suffered so greatly because of their experiences with this man, and there were no repercussions,” they said. “And, in fact, he was being supported — and the community meant to uplift emerging actors and emerging artists was not only complicit but directly responsible for their silencing.”
Stuckless said they felt paralyzed by fear but knew they needed to say something because they “couldn’t imagine walking out of the room and him still feeling safe to go in and laugh with the community he was responsible for terrorizing for so many years.”
When intermission began, Stuckless decided to confront Weinstein.
“Tell me — what’s your name?” they asked Weinstein in a video obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Weinstein placed his elbows on the table while another man next to him was heard speaking to Stuckless. They said the man accompanying Weinstein told them it was none of their business and that they had no right to ask.
“Nobody is going to say anything?” screamed Stuckless in a video their friend filmed and later posted to Facebook. “Nobody is really going to say anything?,” they continued, pointing a finger toward Weinstein.
Stuckless was then asked to leave the venue.
“I’ll get out of here, that’s fine, I am happy to leave, but nobody is going to say anything?” they continued. “I’m going to stand four feet from a fucking rapist, and no one is going to say anything?”
Moments after Stuckless confronted Weinstein, so did Amber Rollo, a 31-year-old comedian who had attended the show to support her friend, Bachman.
“She’s right,” Rollo told Weinstein, she recalled. “You’re a fucking monster. What are you doing out here? Fuck you.”
Rollo said one of the men accompanying Weinstein called her a “cunt” in response, while another woman at Weinstein’s table guided her outside. Rollo said she was disappointed that Weinstein was welcomed at the event and that those who questioned his presence were booed or removed from the venue.
Those three women, Kelly Bachman, Zoe Stuckless, and Amber Rollo deserve praise for standing up and speaking out. Instead, though, two of them were thrown out, and Weinstein was allowed to squat there, toadlike, and be supported by his sycophants. I’m also disturbed by the majority of attendees who did not speak out. One little thing stands out to me.
“This guy was leading me out the stairs, just repeating ‘due process, due process’ to me,” said Stuckless, who asked the man if he worked at the bar. He did not respond.
This irrelevant bit of legalese has become a mantra among horrible people. You do not need “due process” to detest an exploiter and harasser. The state needs due process if it is going to deprive an individual of liberty or property, but neither of those were at issue here — these were women using their free speech (one of those rights that the Right loves so much, except when it is inconvenient to them) to express their assessment of the available evidence that Harvey Weinstein is a crude rapist thug, and that this issue has not been formally tried in a court of law doesn’t make it any less true. That the wealth and influence Weinstein used to do harm also shelters him from legal action does not protect him from the informed judgement of society, it just means he isn’t in jail where he belongs, stripped of his power. That would require “due process”. No one needs “due process” to shun a rapist.
Oh, and speaking of free speech…
Alexandra Laliberte, the organizer of Actor’s Hour, told BuzzFeed News it was the second time Weinstein had turned up to one of her events. Laliberte added that she doesn’t have a security team, and rather than turn Weinstein away, she thought the community could address him.
“I welcome all walks of life into my space,” she said.
When asked why she allowed Weinstein to attend an event specifically intended to support and encourage young actors when he has been accused of sexually assaulting and harassing dozens of them, Laliberte told BuzzFeed News: “I protect them by freedom of speech.”
“Comedians made fun of him,” said the 26-year-old actor. “This one lady stood up and screamed at him. People walked out, which was fantastic.”
Right. Except your version of “free speech” allows you to physically evict people exercising that right from your space if they criticize a media influencer you’re trying to flatter, while a man calling a woman a “cunt” was allowed to remain. This principle of free speech is a tough one to maintain, and in reality always requires compromises, but Laliberte just outright broke it.
By the way, I wouldn’t dignify “rapist abuser” and “predatory pariah” with the phrase “walks of life”.