We always knew that Hollywood was not exactly the center of sexual purity and high moral standards, but the charges against long-time film producer Harvey Weinstein are truly sickening. For decades we have heard stories about the “casting couch” where promising careers of aspiring starlets are either made or dashed into smithereens.
A recent New York Times story blew the lid off of Weinstein’s sexual advances in the film industry for the past three decades. The story listed a series of young actresses who were invited to Weinstein’s hotel room where they said he made sexual advances toward them and repeatedly asked them for massages or requested they watch him shower.
In some cases, a much younger female would contemplate charges against him and actually sue. In these instances, payoffs were made in amounts reportedly from $80,000 to $150,000 and life went on for both parties concerned. Weinstein’s contract with his company allowed him to be sued for sexual harassment as long as he personally paid the piper. Can you believe that?
In addition, his contract called for paying his company liquidated damages of $250,000 for the first instance, $500,000 for the second instance, $750,000 for the third and $1 million for each additional instance. The contract says as long as he contines to pay The Weinstein Co., it constitutes “a cure” for his sexual transgressions and no further action would be taken. As long as he continued writing checks, he was allowed to keep his job. Unbelievable!
So, his firing by his company last week could actually be deemed illegal because he hasn’t actually been convicted of a crime. He may have committed fraud by not fully informing his board of directors, which is also a fireable offense. Then he would have the right to mediation, and if that doesn’t work, to arbitration. What a slick contract!
At least one actress has accused him of raping her, so he could be in really hot water. Weinstein denied the allegation and said any sex he had with any of these women was consensual. The news story has opened the floodgates of sexual misconduct charges coming from dozens of Hollywood starlets who have kept quiet over the years, fearing retribution from the famous film producer. After all, it would be their word against the powerful and influential movie mogul.
If we think there is a swamp in Washington, D.C., that needs to be drained, there certaining is another on the other side of the country that could use some attention also. The cat is out of the bag and now it will be interesting to see what the results will be in La La Land.