The Harvey Weinstein scandal has revealed that sexual harassment is prevalent in Hollywood and the film industry in general. It has been referred to as Hollywood’s “open secret”. Indeed, now that the numerous Weinstein allegations have surfaced, videos of multiple jokes about Weinstein and his seemingly predatory sexual behaviour that pre-date the scandal have made re-appearances and are chilling. Whilst presenting the nominations for best supporting actress at the Oscars in 2013, the actor Seth MacFarlane joked: “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein”.
Since the emergence of this news story, jokes and statements like this one have revealed that knowledge of sexual harassment in Hollywood and among the film-making community is rife. This sort of situation poses the question of why the victims of sexual harassment, or even their co-workers within the film industry, did not come forward. With the revelation of the first few Weinstein allegations, multiple women, such as Cara Delevingne and Gwyneth Paltrow, have detailed their own experiences. With these allegations came confessions from the women and actresses of the humiliation and fear that Weinstein may have caused. Of the numerous accounts that have surfaced, many of the actresses explained that they were young, aspiring actresses at the time, and feared that their refusals to comply with Weinstein’s demands, or their coming forward, would harm their careers due to the power he held in Hollywood. He was a prominent figure in the film industry, having won 81 Oscars.
Another video that has made a re-appearance is Courtney Love’s warning to young actresses. The consequence of what she had to say puts into action what these actresses feared. In 2005, on the red carpet, Courtney Love was asked if she had any advice for young girls moving to Hollywood. Her response: “I’ll get libelled if I say it…if Harvey Weinstein invites you to a private party in the Four Seasons, don’t go.” After speaking against Weinstein, Love was banned by the Creative Arts Agency, CAA. Although she was not one of Weinstein’s alleged victims, she said her her career had been affected due to her comments. Weinstein has admitted that his actions have “caused a lot of pain” but denies allegations of non-consensual sex. He has also been expelled from the Oscars Academy due to the scandal.