Weinstein’s abuse of power and a culture of silence

Written By Hannah Walden, Co-Features/A&E Editor

Money and power are two things that make the entertainment world go round, but so are power and abuse. Through a culture of silence, Harvey Weinstein was able to sexually harass and abuse more than 80 women for over three decades.

On Sept. 2, Hulu released “Untouchable,” depicting the rise and fall of Weinstein, his acquisition of power and his determination to protect that power, scandal after scandal.

This documentary blends the experiences of Weinstein’s employees and his victims perfectly with powerful testimony and evidence to back up their experiences. As the documentary continues, the accounts of Weinstein’s actions somehow manage to become more and more monstrous, as if the longer he got away with his actions the more emboldened he felt. 

Actresses like Erika Rosenbaum and Hope D’Amore shared similar dreams, to make it in the competitive world of movies and entertainment and become a famous actress. Weinstein took advantage of their fear of messing with the wrong person and ruining their chances of achieving their dreams. 

“If he gets what he wanted, no matter what it is, it doesn’t matter what it takes to get there,” D’Amore said in the documentary. “It doesn’t matter. [He believes] that if [he] got what [he] wanted, it was consensual. I think he believes that.” 

The most upsetting part of this documentary was that many of his assistants and employees knew there was something going on. It was through silence of powerful people that the story became “that actress slept with him to get a part,” and not that these women were abused and assaulted. 

It is also very apparent that Weinstein had developed a pattern of abuse. It would usually start in a friendly public space like a party or special event. Then he would convince them to go back to his hotel room for a drink and to further discuss their interest in becoming famous actresses. This would quickly turn into asking for massages and trying to normalize holding meetings with these women without wearing pants, and it only gets worse from there. 

All of the women and employees that were interviewed felt the same way about Weinstein, that he was a bully who believed he was invincible behind his wall of power, that at first meeting he was an interesting man who seemed very passionate about movies and the entertainment industry, but when the friendly group setting faded to uncomfortable one-on-ones he was a different man. 

After Weinstein’s first scandal was paid off in a matter of days after the suit was filed, the assistant to Weinstein’s brother, Bob, quit because of the lack of outrage and the amount of complacent people.

“So many people were complacent and didn’t do anything because of money and power,” Kathy Declesis said in the documentary. “It’s easier to stay silent and keep everything the way it is, don’t rock the boat, because everyone is getting a piece of it.”