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The New Yorker and the New York Times broke the bombshell news that Harvey Weinstein, a major executive and film producer, was accused of rape, sexual assault, or sexual harassment. The press covered Harvey Weinstein's case in many ways, but the most shocking came from the UK tabloids. Presently, the front pages of both "The Daily" Star and "The Sun" feature an alleged mass sexual assault episode from decades ago. Harvey Weinstein was sacked shortly after the first charges were published in the media. The media made numerous similar charges against powerful men around the world public, resulting in the removal of several of them from their posts. This incident also encouraged a lot of women to share their experiences of rape or sexual assault on social media. The impact of this scandal later was named the “Weinstein effect” (Erin 1).
Harvey Weinstein is one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, and he is the co-founder of Miramax studios. The media made concerns about Weinstein’s actions to be clear to everyone after a long period of being unchallenged and unspoken. Several women accused Harvey Weinstein of using his position and power to sexually harass and assault numerous women who worked with him as actresses, employees, and assistants. The New Yorker interviewed Argento, who claimed that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in a hotel room two decades ago. She decided to continue having sexual relations with him for several years, and she never spoke about the incident in fear that Weinstein would destroy her. The Harvey Weinstein scandal attracted worldwide attention, especially in Italy since Asia Argento was an Italian director and actress. The Italian media devoted substantial space to the scandal, but it has failed to focus on the known perpetrator and the abuse and power systems in Hollywood. Instead, the media has turned against the victims. The media has treated the victims especially Argento harshly, by concentrating on her conduct, questioning her why she took so long to report the incident and portraying her as an opportunist. Some social media users also criticized Argento, just like the prominent media personalities in the Italian media did. For instance, Vladimir Luxuria former TV host and politician blamed her for failing to report the assault earlier. Thus, the media on one side has failed as it treats raped and harassed women as they are guilty and put them on public trials (Claudia 1).
Several mainstream media outlets continue to dehumanize and sexualize women. The breaking news of a woman murdered by her partner with her image in a bikini, the tabloid press shows that the primitive culture of the 1970s when women were not allowed to own bank accounts and when a man could legally rape his wife has still not changed. Conversely, the media denounce the actions of men like Harvey Weinstein, and strongly encourage the perception of women as sexual objects for men. This attitude encouraged the abuse of women to generate, and it enabled the abuse of vulnerable women by high-profile men (Brent and Wagmeister 1).
The Istanbul Convention also is known as the UN on Elimination and Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls argues that the media plays a pivotal role in creating attitudes towards women and should stop presenting them as inferior beings and as sexual objects. Rumors of Weinstein's practices circulated in Hollywood for several years and some entertainment figures alluded to them. When the allegations were published in the media, director Quentin Tarantino claimed to have been aware of Weinstein harassing actresses for years and confronted him about the issue.
On October 5, 2017, substantial allegations on Weinstein’s sexual misconduct were first reported by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor in “The New York Times.” The story was accusing Weinstein of sexually harassing women for three decades and paying settlements to female Miramax and actresses.
Ronan Farrow, a correspondent of the NBC News, reported in “The New Yorker” on October 10, 2017, further allegations that Weinstein had raped three women, and sexually assaulted 13 women. Farrow claimed that he had wanted to publish the story months earlier, but NBC was under pressure not to break the story. Farrow implied that 16 assistants and executives linked to Weinstein reported having been informed or witnessed Weinstein making sexual advances to women. Weinstein responded to the New York Times report by admitting that his behaviors towards employees affected them and he apologized to them. Moreover, Weinstein said that he was working with therapists to handle the issue and that he was yet to take a sabbatical. However, Charles Harder, Weinstein’s attorney advised him to sue the Times.
Television, cell phones, and computers influenced the spread of information greatly. Without these technologies, the world community would not have known what transpired in the film industry. Weinstein also influenced the manner in which information was spread negatively. In November 2017, Farrow reported that Weinstein had employed private intelligence agencies to influence and spy on the victims and reporters who were investigating Weinstein to prevent his conduct from being publicized (Murray 1).
In this event it is evident, that secretes was used to protect lies. For instance, most of the victims never wanted to share how Weinstein sexually assaulted them for fear of being fired and being stigmatized by their friends and colleagues. Besides, Farrow who wanted to report about the misconduct of Weinstein was under pressure not to publish that story to protect the rapport of Weinstein. These two incidents illustrate better how secrets were used to protect lies. The media is trying to penetrate the secrets while Weinstein through investigation agencies is trying to keep the secrets (Steele 1).
The allegations against Weinstein in October 2017 caused an immediate national reckoning against assault and sexual harassment in the United States. Linked with other sexual assaults cases committed earlier, the Weinstein’s incident encouraged people to share their suppressed stories of sexual harassment. This incident precipitated a cavalcade of allegations in most industries that resulted in the swift ouster of numerous men in powerful positions both in the United States and across the world. For instance, in the entertainment industry, various allegations resulted in the ouster of directors and actors. This campaign was referred to as the Me Too campaign, and it spread to other languages and countries in over the social media. Allegations against several British politicians formed a public scandal and led to the resignations and suspension of three officials. Gilbert Rozon, a comedy festival founder in Canada, resigned after many people accused Éric Salvail who is a Quebec radio host, of sexual misconduct. American journalists wrote a series of allegations for societal treatment of sexual misconduct in the celebrity accusers.
Brent and Wagmeister. “Judgment Day: Harvey Weinstein Scandal Could Finally Change Hollywood’s Culture of Secrecy.” (2017): 1 http://variety.com/2017/film/news/harvey-weinstein-game-over-judgment-day-scandal-culture-secrecy-1202591437/
Claudia Torrisi. “Harvey Weinstein: Italian media coverage of the scandal has been predictably outrageous.” (2017):1 https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/claudia-torrisi/italian-media-harvey-weinstein-asia-argento
Erin Jensen. “Harvey Weinstein scandal: New claim alleges sex trafficking.” USA Today. (2017): 1 https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2017/11/27/harvey-weinstein-civil-claim-uk-lodged-accusers-news/896904001/
Murray, Michael D. "A Conversation on Visual Legal Rhetoric: Topics of Invention and Arrangement, and Tropes of Style." (2017):1
Steele, Robert David. "Harvey Weinstein First Major Pedophilia Domino in the USA." Science (2017).
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