In much the same way that not all corruption involves brown paper bags, not all rapists come with a mask and a knife
with were in a powerless position and felt they couldn’t say no. Unfortunately, when you look at the careers he has ruined, they were right to be fearful.
This was a man who had the power to ensure that any actress who displeased him was destined for the ranks of ‘where-are-they-now?’ and he made sure people knew it.
Remove the money, the glamour, the element of celebrity and we’re left with a scenario which is painfully familiar to many Irish people — an influential and respected pillar of the community exploiting and defiling vulnerable people while other, stronger types stand back and do nothing.
In such circumstances, silence is complicity and for all the endless showboating and virtue signalling from Hollywood royalty on issues they know nothing about, they were perfectly happy to stay quiet on an issue that was happening right at their doorstep.
In fact, some of the quotes from actors who have miraculously found their voice after decades of silence reminds me of a friend of mine who was abused by a priest when he was in school.
While the abuse he suffered was on what we euphemistically term “the lower end of the scale”, what really haunted him was that teachers warned him about the particular priest, even going so far as to warn him about being in a room on his own with him — but they didn’t actually do anything to stop it. To this day, he hates those teachers more than he hates the priest.
So there was something painfully familiar about Ben Affleck, who according to McGowan, said: “Goddamnit! I told him to stop doing that,” in relation to Weinstein’s abuse, as if the producer was guilty of nothing more than bad social behaviour, rather than being a serial predator.
The one grim pleasure in all of this is watching some of the smuggest people in Hollywood squirm like worms on a griddle.
In our largely secular, post-religious world, we’ve seen plenty of actors take up the mantle of modern-day clerics, constantly lecturing the little people about our moral failings, yet Hollywood is probably the most degenerate and morally bankrupt industry there is.
The great author Andrew Vachss — and if you haven’t read his work, I urge you to check him out — has a phrase for victims of abuse, whom he calls “children of the secret”. The secret in question is the way society is happy to draw a discreet veil over abuse and, when it does finally confront the abuse, tries to make excuses for the abuser rather than listening to the victim.
The people who allege that Weinstein forced himself on them may be above the age of consent, but just because they weren’t children doesn’t make them any less a victim.
Children of the secret, as we now know, come in all ages.