Fall of the gi­ants


The Daily News Egypt - - Front Page - By Amira El-Fekki

Like an earth­quake, sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions brought against Hol­ly­wood Har­vey We­in­stein in Oc­to­ber had ground-shak­ing ef­fects and sparked a tsunami that would sweep away other gi­ants in just a few weeks. The We­in­stein scan­dal—still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion—has had a mul­ti­ply­ing ef­fect.

On Thurs­day, Time listed over 30 Amer­i­can pub­lic fig­ures ac­cused of sex­ual mis­con­duct af­ter We­in­stein. They in­cluded Hol­ly­wood sweet­hearts and pu­bic fig­ures. Their ex­po­sure caused enor­mous pub­lic con­tro­versy over the past weeks.

While the epi­demic of 2017 is the largest in US his­tory,win­ter has pre­vi­ously brought to the coun­try sim­i­lar erup­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct: current Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in Oc­to­ber 2016, for ex­am­ple.

The Huff­in­g­ton Post grouped the pub­lished ac­counts of 15 women ac­cus­ing Trump of grab­bing, kiss­ing them on the lips,reach­ing into skirts, among other acts against their will. His for­mer wife, Ivana, had also ac­cused him of rape as revealed in the book “Lost Ty­coon: The Many Lives of Don­ald J.Trump”.

Trump’s re­sponse in­cluded de­nials, threats to sue pub­lish­ers of such sto­ries, and re­verse the ac­cu­sa­tion in the case of Jill Harth, who first sued him be­fore drop­ping the law­suit, say­ing she had been af­ter him.

How­ever, dur­ing his pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, Trump had to face The Wash­ing­ton Post pub­lish­ing a 2005 video it ob­tained from the back­stage of his ap­pear­ance on “Days of our Lives”, where he bragged about forc­ing him­self on women and be­ing able to get what­ever he wanted for be­ing a celebrity, in­clud­ing “grab­bing them by the [vagina]”.

Newsweek de­scribed the video as “packed with vul­gar, sex­ist, and curse-laden lan­guage that some expected it to de­rail Trump’s run for the White House.” Trump is­sued a video apol­ogy.

Be­fore that, it was Bill Cosby, who drugged and sex­u­ally abused women,but it was in Novem­ber 2014 that the case had big pub­lic echo, af­ter co­me­dian Han­ni­bal Buress al­leged that Cosby was a rapist, dur­ing a show re­viv­ing ac­cu­sa­tions to which the lat­ter re­sponded, “I don’t talk about it.”

Talk or not, Cosby faced a crim­i­nal charge case by the fol­low­ing year and there were more civil­ian law­suits against him and more women com­ing for­ward. The case he was tried for was for­mer ath­lete An­drea Con­stand ac­cus­ing Cosby of rape af­ter drug­ging her.

De­spite that, the rape case ended in mis­trial in June 2017, the once African-Amer­i­can icon suf­fered dam­age in his rep­u­ta­tion and ca­reer.

A com­mon fac­tor in all those al­leged sex­ual of­fend­ers’ cases is that they had mul­ti­ple vic­tims. Although al­leged per­pe­tra­tors deny it now and then,in 2017,their ex­po­sure ini­ti­ated faster, wider-scale de­nounce­ment and ac­tion.

There were reper­cus­sions out­side the US too. Shortly af­ter the We­in­stein event, the #MeToo hash­tag went vi­ral by suc­cess­fully bring­ing to­gether vic­tims of sex­ual as­saults and en­cour­ag­ing many to ex­pose their at­tack­ers. It went on for sev­eral days on a global level. The We­in­stein slope

It started in early Oc­to­ber when The New York Times pub­lished tes­ti­monies on We­in­stein’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour, but also that many women who worked with him said they never ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

“An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the NYT found pre­vi­ously undis­closed al­le­ga­tions against Mr.We­in­stein stretch­ing over nearly three decades, doc­u­mented through in­ter­views with current and for­mer em­ploy­ees, and film in­dus­try work­ers, as well as le­gal records, emails and in­ter­nal doc­u­ments from the busi­nesses he has run, Mi­ra­max and the We­in­stein com­pany,” it said on 5 Oc­to­ber.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate the way I’ve be­haved with col­leagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sin­cerely apol­o­gise for it,” was We­in­stein’s first state­ment.

TheWe­in­stein Com­pany also dis­missed him from its board, and he was sus­pended from the Bri­tish Film Academy.

On 11 Oc­to­ber,Reuters re­ported that the Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sciences, which or­gan­ises the Os­cars,was go­ing to hold“a spe­cial meet­ing” to dis­cuss al­le­ga­tions against We­in­stein.

The Academy had already de­scribed the al­le­ga­tions in a state­ment as “re­pug­nant, ab­hor­rent, and an­ti­thet­i­cal to the high stan­dards of the Academy and the creative com­mu­nity it rep­re­sents.”

Three days later, the board of the Academy voted to ex­pel him by two-thirds ma­jor­ity. The Academy said We­in­stein “does not merit the re­spect of his col­leagues” and that by dis­miss­ing him they wanted to send a mes­sage that “the era of wil­ful ig­no­rance and shame­ful com­plic­ity in sex­u­ally preda­tory be­hav­iour and work­place ha­rass­ment in our in­dus­try is over.”

We­in­stein was sus­pended from the Bri­tish Film Academy, in light of “re­cent very se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions,” they said in a state­ment. He now faces pos­si­ble le­gal in­dict­ment.

We­in­stein spokesper­son Sal­lie Hofmeis­ter re­leased a state­ment that de­nied “any al­le­ga­tions of non­con­sen­sual sex or that We­in­stein had ever done any acts of re­tal­i­a­tion against any women for re­fus­ing his ad­vances.” The state­ment added that We­in­stein, who wouldn’t be avail­able for com­ments, was “tak­ing the time to fo­cus on his fam­ily, on get­ting coun­sel­ing, and on re­build­ing his life.” Among dozens of vic­tims and famous names speak­ing up, there was Ash­ley Judd—“I thought no meant no”

One of the first women who spoke against Har­vey We­in­stein, Judd stated she had to ne­go­ti­ate her way out of his ad­vances. Judd had to make him a fake prom­ise that she would give in to his non-end­ing sex­ual of­fers when she wins an Os­car.

“I thought no meant no. I fought with this vol­ley of noes, which he ig­nored,” she said in an in­ter­view with Diane Sawyer, she de­scribed how she thought about what she did ask­ing her­self if it was some­thing to feel guilty about or proud.

An­gelina Jolie—warn­ing oth­ers from work­ing with We­in­stein

One of two big-name ac­tresses who de­cided to come for­ward bout We­in­stein in Oc­to­ber, Jolie sent strong mes­sage that women shouldn’t have to en­dure that.

Jolie told the New York Times she had a “bad ex­pe­ri­ence with We­in­stein”, thus choos­ing not to work with him gin and also warn oth­ers from him be­cause “This be­hav­iour to­wards women in any field in any coun­try is un­ac­cept­able.” Gwyneth Pal­trow—warned not to tell

Pal­trow re­ported We­in­stein made ad­vances on her, say­ing that she was “young and pet­ri­fied,” ac­cord­ing to the NewYorkTimes.Like Jolie, Pal­trow said she re­jected his of­fer for mas­sages in the bed­room. Af­ter her boyfriend at the time, ac­tor Brad Bitt, con­fronted We­in­stein, the lat­ter warned her not tell any­one else.

But un­like Jolie, Pal­trow con­tin­ued work­ing with We­in­stein un­til she re­ceived her best-ac­tress Os­car award.To­day, Pal­trow says “this way of treat­ing women ends now.” Among dozens of pow­er­ful well-known al­leged of­fend­ers, there was… Dustin Hoff­man—yet an­other shock

Hoff­mann join­ing the list of ac­cused came as an­other shock, es­pe­cially that the al­le­ga­tion was that he as­saulted a 17-year-old girl. Ac­cord­ing to Hol­ly­wood Re­porter and writer Anna Graham Hunter, “he was openly flir­ta­tious; he grabbed my ass, and he talked about sex to me and in front of me.”

Hoff­man apol­o­gised for putting her in an “un­com­fort­able sit­u­a­tion.” There was an­other al­le­ga­tion against Hoff­mann made by a TV pro­ducer. Kevin Spacey—men were vic­tims too

It wasn’t just women re­port­ing sex­ual as­sault. Spacey was ac­cused of grop­ing and se­duc­ing two men, in­clud­ing film­maker Tony Mon­tana and ac­tor An­thony Rapp, who said he was sub­ject to Spacey’s sex­ual ad­vances when he was only 14.Ac­cord­ing to USA To­day, the list of accusers reached 14.

Spacey is­sued a state­ment on 30 Oc­to­ber say­ing he was “hor­ri­fied to hear” Rapp’s story,didn’t re­mem­ber it and blam­ing it on al­co­hol.“I owe him the sin­cer­est apol­ogy,” he said. Ben Af­fleck—con­demns then apol­o­gises

Iron­i­cally,Af­fleck had con­demned We­in­stein’s be­hav­iour, say­ing he was “sad­dened and an­gry”, that the al­le­ga­tions made him “sick” and that it was “com­pletely un­ac­cept­able.”

Soon enough, it was Af­fleck apol­o­gis­ing for sex­ual mis­con­duct, af­ter a video re-emerged on so­cial me­dia where he touched the breasts of TV host Hi­larie Bur­ton.This comes as An­na­marie Tendler, a makeup artist, also ac­cused him of touch­ing her while at a Golden Globe party in 2014.

“I acted in­ap­pro­pri­ately to­ward Ms. Bur­ton and I sin­cerely apol­o­gise,” Af­fleck tweeted on 11 Oc­to­ber. Beyond the US

French Is­lamic scholar Tariq Ra­madan, whose grand­fa­ther founded the Mus­lim Brother­hood in Egypt, came un­der fire af­ter fac­ing sex­ual as­sault ac­cu­sa­tions. He was ac­cused by fe­male stu­dents who told the press that the events took place when they were teenagers. He de­nied them.

In mid-Oc­to­ber, Henda Ayari, pres­i­dent of the Lib­er­a­tors Association ex­posed Ra­madan as ag­gres­sor pre­vi­ously uniden­ti­fied in her 2016 book “I Choose to be Free”. She filed a com­plaint against him to the pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice.

On 1 Novem­ber, head­lines read: “Bri­tish De­fence Min­is­ter fol­low­ing sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions.”

Michael Fal­lon was ac­cused on in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­duct to­wards a ra­dio pre­sen­ter “be­com­ing the first UK politi­cian to quit over al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct sweep­ing through the coun­try’s ranks of power,” The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported.

A week later, The Guardian re­ported that there were at least 12 mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MPs) named in claims of un­wanted sex­ual be­hav­iour, in­clud­ing Fal­lon. All of them were men, most of which de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

In Egypt, the scale was much nar­rower.The #MeToo hash­tag grabbed at­ten­tion. How­ever, it re­sulted only in an anony­mous list that was cir­cu­lated on­line, in­cluded names of not well known lawyers, and ac­tivists and had no ef­fect what­so­ever.

Har­vey We­in­stein with Gwyneth Pal­trow at the Academy Awards in 1999

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