What began days ago as the story of one man’s revolting misbehavior has engulfed Hollywood, the Democratic party, key organs of the Old Guard media, and much of the Left.
Film producer Harvey Weinstein’s breathtaking plunge from A-lister to global leper occurred at record speed. Almost as quickly, his sexual-harassment and possible-rape scandal has exploded into an indictment of the powerful institutions that covered up and winked at his abuse of some 43 women — by the Daily Mail’s tabulation — across decades and on either side of the Atlantic Ocean.
The unfathomable now has surfaced: In a truly astonishing development, TMZ reports that Weinstein’s employment contract permitted him to engage in sexual harassment, get sued for it, and have the Weinstein Company pay judgments to his victims. Beyond that, he could keep his job, provided that he reimbursed the studio for these penalties and then paid fines internally to the company, based on a predictable and graduated scale for each harassment offense.
According to TMZ, the contract instructs Weinstein as follows: “You will pay the company liquidated damages of $250,000 for the first such instance, $500,000 for the second such instance, $750,000 for the third such instance, and $1,000,000 for each additional instance.” TMZ’s story added: “As long as he paid agreed-upon settlements to his accusers, he could theoretically retain his job no matter how many women filed suit against him.”
This is the sexual-harassment equivalent of carbon offsets: Continue the undesirable activity. Just pay the piper, and there will be peace in the valley.
What kind of corporate attorney agrees to such language?
What kind of company fails to fire an employee who even asks for such a clause — if not out of corporate moral revulsion then at least due to an abundance of caution and a fiduciary responsibility to limit the firm’s legal exposure?
All this time, Hollywood and Democrats have claimed to be the best friends of women, champions of feminism, and paragons of virtue.
This proves that the Weinstein Company not only knew about Harvey Weinstein’s manhandling of women. They enshrined it in contract law!
It would be bad enough if this agreement were drafted in 1960, during the “Check out the skirts in the typing pool!” days of Mad Men. However, Weinstein’s pact goes way, way back . . . to October 2015. That date was nearly 20 years after Americans learned about the evils of sexual harassment, Bill Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky affair and subsequent impeachment, and so many other cases in which powerful men took advantage of less powerful women.
This confirms Hollywood’s culture of concealment and enablement for Weinstein and other sexual predators. Major movie stars, NBC News, Saturday Night Live, and — early on — America’s so-called paper of record threw black silk sheets over Weinstein’s tawdry piggishness and possibly illegal actions.
All this time, Hollywood and Democrats have claimed to be the best friends of women, champions of feminism, and paragons of virtue whom the rest of us unwashed should follow in awe — at a tasteful distance from the Sunset Strip.
Weinstein’s ugly misdeeds (e.g., erotically entertaining himself in front of prospective female employees) were one of show biz’s most open secrets. And yet his disrespect for women — or worse — raged on. Regardless, the Academy Awards cascaded onto Weinstein’s trophy shelves, his checks landed in Democrat campaign coffers, and Hillary Clinton and other morally self-impressed liberals cheered themselves hoarse.