82 women - Cynthia Burr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lupita Nyong'o, Cara Delevingne, Lena Headey, Rose McGowan- have come forward with sexual allegations against Harvey Weinstein. With the momentum of these women’s accusations came Anthony Rapp’s and Tony Montana’s allegations against Kevin Spacey.
Although sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein date back five decades, they did not become significant to the public until recently. In the 70s, he was accused of raping his assistant when he was beginning his career. Since then, women have accused Weinstein of nonconsensual sexual acts through Twitter and credible newspapers or anonymously.
Over the years, these women were forced to look on as Weinstein became a successful producer, unable to come forward due to fear, stigma or the fact that Weinstein paid them thousands to keep quiet.
After the accusations came flooding in, Weinstein was fired from his own company and his wife of 10 years served him divorce papers.
On Oct. 14, the Academy Board, which includes 54 influential people of Hollywood, suspended Weinstein indefinitely. Harvard also revoked Weinstein’s W. E. B. Du Bois award for his work in the African American film industry.
Despite being accused of everything from grope to rape, Weinstein consistently denies that he committed any unlawful acts.
Weinstein’s office later said, “Any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
In addition to the allegations against Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual harassment by two men, one of whom was only 14 at the time of the incident.
At the age of 26, Spacey attempted to seduce young Rapp at a party. In a 2001 interview, Rapp described the incident without naming Spacey.
“I came forward with my story, standing on the shoulders of the many courageous men and women who have been speaking out, to shine a light and hopefully make a difference, as they have done for me,” Rapp said in a recent interview with PEOPLE magazine.
Only days after Rapp came forward, filmmaker Montana accused Spacey of groping him in 2003. Montana has suffered from PTSD since the traumatic experience.
On Twitter, Spacey apologized to the actor.
“I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
In the tweet, he also claimed that he chose “to live as a gay man.” Not only does this fuel the stigma that gay men are pedophiles but also comes across as an attempt to excuse his actions because he is homosexual.
Following these allegations, Spacey’s International Emmy Founders Award, that he was set to receive next month, was withdrawn.
These two powerful men in Hollywood are now under scrutiny in the public eye, yet neither have been condemned on a judicial level. This is mainly due to the fact that sexual abuse allegations are not taken as seriously in a court of law.
In addition, if either men are found guilty, both have the ability and influence to avoid the jurisdiction.
In Weinstein’s investigation, the legal proceedings are complicated due to the different laws in each state, as the incidents occurred nationwide.
Currently, both men are seeking medical psychological treatment, but neither have received any further legal action against them.
Following the breakthrough of charges against Weinstein, thousands of Twitter users began tweeting the hashtag #MeToo, in which sexual assault survivors took a stand to show how extensive the issue of is.
Throughout Hollywood, victims have taken a stand against producers, filmmakers and actors who have abused their power. The recent allegations have shed light on the issue of sexual harassment in the film industry.
Actress Nyong’o wrote, “...by speaking up, speaking out and speaking together, we regain that power. And we hopefully ensure that this kind of rampant predatory behavior as an accepted feature of our industry dies here and now.”