The stories of the ghastly behavior of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein are suddenly pouring out like a gusher, revealing someone who is completely beyond the pale. Yeah, yeah, these are just allegations at this point and nothing has been proved but in cases like this, there can be little doubt of his guilt. If even a fraction of the charges against him are established, that would be bad enough.
What is even more disgusting is that this kind of behavior seems to have been an open secret in the film community for a long time. That it could have continued for so long under the radar is only possible if there were a large array of enablers who worked for him to assist him in hiding the facts, and a conspiracy of silence among others who knew what was going on but did not say anything publicly.
How Weinstein obtained this silence reveals the tremendous power that the rich have over the rest of us, not just in the film industry. He used a mixture of intimidation, bribes, and threats. Intimidation because he apparently was someone who is physically big and would get into rages where he would yell and sometimes even throw people who crossed him across the room. The bribes were obvious. As a successful film producer who had a string of Oscar winning films under his belt, he could make and break actors and few dared to speak out against him, even when they were aware of his behavior. Then there are always many people who are awed by the rich and famous and try to ingratiate themselves with them. Weinstein also would buy the rights of books that film industry journalists wrote, with the promise of a potential film, so then they would not want to jeopardize that by writing anything negative about him. And then if all else failed, he had a team of aggressive lawyers who would threaten to sue the pants off anyone who considered writing any negative articles about him. Few people have the resources to fight those legal battles, unless a major publication that has deep pockets decides to take on the challenge.
So why has this story come out now? It likely is because Weinstein is not as successful as he once was and thus has lost some power. He had mastered the art of promoting his films to become Oscar winners but others have cottoned on to those tricks and he no longer wins as many as he once did. People now have other paths to success.
So will these revelations lead to major reforms? I would like to think so but am not sanguine unless a large number of film executives and people in power who did things similar to Weinstein or ignored his behavior are driven out of the industry in disgrace. The money people in the film industry who can finance and produce films tend to be older men, while young, attractive women are the ones that sell films to audiences. This imbalance of power is just ripe for abuse and as long as it lasts, we are likely to see the abuses continue.