Weinstein effect

The "Weinstein effect"[1][2] is a global trend in which people come forward to accuse famous or powerful men of sexual misconduct.[3][4] The term came into use to describe a worldwide wave of these allegations that began in the United States in October 2017, when media outlets reported on sexual abuse allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. The allegations were described as a "tipping point" or "watershed moment" and precipitated a "national reckoning" against sexual harassment.[4][5] USA Today wrote that 2017 was the year in which "sexual harassment became a fireable offense".[6]

The subsequent #MeToo campaign encourages people to share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault, and the two events triggered a cascade of allegations that brought about the swift removal of many men in positions of power in the United States, while tarnishing and ending political careers of additional men as it spread around the world. In the entertainment industry, allegations led to the dismissal of actors and directors alike.[3][4]

Most prominently, actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., and filmmaker Brett Ratner had projects canceled following at least six allegations each. More than 300 women accused filmmaker James Toback of sexual harassment. In journalism, allegations led to the firing of ors, publishers, executives, and hosts, including high-profile television figures such as Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin, and Matt Lauer. In politics, accusations of varying degrees of severity were made against U.S. House Representative John Conyers (D-MI) and U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN), both of whom resigned their seats in Congress, and Roy Moore (R-AL), who lost his 2017 bid for election to the United States Senate. Celebrity chefs Mario Batali and John Besh were also removed, as well as some financial and public relations executives.[citation needed]

Background[]

In July 2016, Fox News television host Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against the station's chairman Roger Ailes, which led to his removal and encouraged journalists to pursue rumors about the conduct of Weinstein and political commentator Bill O'Reilly. Similar revelations and a lawsuit led to O'Reilly being fired in April 2017. Both Ailes and O'Reilly denied wrongdoing.[6]

Inception[]

Harvey Weinstein, the producer accused of sexual misconduct

On October 5, 2017, The New York Times broke the first reports of decades of sexual misconduct claims against film producer Harvey Weinstein. On October 10, 2017, journalist Ronan Farrow reported further allegations Weinstein had sexually assaulted or harassed thirteen women, and raped three.[7]

Weinstein was immediately dismissed from The Weinstein Company. Weinstein had suppressed these cases through confidential financial settlements and nondisclosure agreements, as was common for celebrity sexual harassment cases, before journalists aired the story. Over eighty accusers came forward against Weinstein, including many well-known actresses.[8]

Impact[]

United States[]

The Weinstein allegations precipitated an immediate "national reckoning" against sexual harassment and assault in the United States,[9] which became known as the Weinstein effect; on social media, it was widely known as "#pervnado".[10] Men and women aired claims of sexual misconduct in workplaces across multiple industries, leading to the swift international removal of many men in positions of power. On Twitter, the #MeToo campaign encouraged hundreds of thousands of people to share their stories.[11][6]

On January 1, 2018, a group of Hollywood women announced the creation of Time's Up to fight workplace sexual harassment and assault.[12]

Entertainment[]

On October 10, actor Terry Crews revealed that he had been groped by an unnamed Hollywood executive at a party in 2016, declining to speak out earlier for fear of retaliation.[13][14] On November 15, Crews identified his attacker as Adam Venit, head of the motion picture department of the talent company William Morris Endeavor.[15] Venit was suspended for a one-month period before returning to work.[16] Crews filed a lawsuit against Venit and WME for sexual assault.[17]

By late October 2017, cases included, in the entertainment industry, Screen Junkies co-creator Andy Signore,[18][19] The Loud House creator Chris Savino[20] and Amazon Studios director Roy Price.[21]

Over 300 women accused filmmaker James Toback of sexual harassment.[6]

On October 27, 2017, 95-year old retired actress and singer Janis Paige wrote an article in The Hollywood Reporter that long-deceased businessman Alfred S. Bloomingdale had tried to rape her in his suite after they had gone out for dinner, using force when she resisted. She was 22 years old at the time.[22]

Starting in November, the number of accusations began increasing at a rapid pace:

In November 2017, a Streep representative told E! News this was not "an accurate rendering of that meeting", adding, "there was an offense and it is something for which Dustin apologized. And Meryl accepted that."[30]
Actress Amber Tamblyn[35][36] wrote an open letter to Woods, 'I See Your Gaslight', and actress Katie Aselton tweeted, "i too have a james woods story" ..."[37]
Actress and writer Deborah Rennard (Haggis' ex-wife), actress and author Leah Remini and former senior executive of the Church of Scientology International and the Sea Organization Mike Rinder (Haggis' personal friends and anti-Scientology activists, hosts of the documentary series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which Haggis has participated) defended Haggis of the accusations. The Church of Scientology denied any involvement in what it called an "absurd, paranoid and bigoted conspiracy theory."[84][85]
In January 19, 2018, journalist and author Susan Braudy accused Michael Douglas of sexual misconduct while working for Douglas in 1989, claiming that Douglas asked her to sign a confidentiality agreement soon after, and when she refused, she lost her job 6 months later. Douglas admitted to "coarse language" but denied wrongdoing in a statement.[90][91]

Production[]

Literature and journalism[]

In literature and journalism, multiple men were accused of sexual misconduct and subject to firing or suspension.[23]

On May 3, 2018, it was reported that 27 additional women had accused Rose of sexual misconduct in a report that claims managers at CBS and PBS were told about his alleged inappropriate behavior through the years.[169]

Judiciary[]

Politics[]

Lawmakers, elected officials and political appointees also faced allegations.

Sports[]

Other[]

Other countries[]

The Weinstein effect was felt across the world.

Analysis[]

American journalists in conversation at NPR spoke of the series of allegations feeling like a tipping point for societal treatment of sexual misconduct.[357] They distinguished the moment from prior sexual misconduct public debates by the public trust in the accusers, who in this case were celebrities familiar to the public, rather than the accusers in prior cases, in which the accusers were unknown and became famous for their testimony. Social media provides a platform for women to share their experiences and encouragement at a scale that had not existed during prior public debates.[357] The state of California is considering legislation to ban secret sexual harassment settlements.[6]

Two columnists of the USA Today expressed doubt that the trend of public opinion would hold, citing open, public cases with few consequences: R. Kelly, Bill Cosby, and Donald Trump.[6] The Weinstein effect also caused multiple sources to question the place of Bill Clinton within the Democratic Party due to the sexual assault allegations against him.[358][359][360]

See also[]

References[]

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Further reading[]