From the outskirts of the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal
A commendable outlier among the collateral damage of sex scandals
There is a textbook approach to damage control when a prominent, powerful man is caught in a sex scandal. In an attempt to put a positive spin on a reputation that may otherwise be irreparably shattered, the devoted, long-suffering spouse is paraded as standing by her man, the good wife who either forcefully denies the vile allegations against her husband, despite mounting evidence, or who vows to support him and remain loyal as they “work through” the issues in their marriage.
Jackie Kennedy, Camille Cosby, Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, Melania Trump— they’ve all taken their places stoically beside their husbands and defended the indefensible, sometimes staying silent, sometimes casting aspersions on the other woman’s character. At least Beyoncé took a baseball bat and threw serious shade at Jay-Z via “Lemonade.” But she still stood by her man.
But Georgina Chapman, she followed a completely different playbook when the Harvey Weinstein sex scandals blew up. Initially remaining silent, save for a cryptic Instagram post or two during London Fashion Week, she soon announced she was divorcing Harvey Weinstein, her husband of 10 years.
“I have chosen to leave my husband,” Chapman’s statement read. “My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions.”
Whether it was an easy decision to make or not, we will never know. There have been speculations that their marriage was nothing more than a business arrangement: Why would someone as attractive as Georgina Chapman sleep with—much less marry—someone as odiously unattractive and, according to several accounts, arrogant, boorish, and bullying, but undoubtedly wealthy and powerful as Harvey Weinstein? He must have bankrolled her fashion line, it’s been said. He made his stars wear Marchesa to red carpet events. So that trade-off, it has been assumed, was initially worth it for her: He would make her a star in the fashion world, but she would have to sleep with him. And clearly she did, because they have two children, even as he constantly cheated on her all throughout their marriage.
Still, bravo, Georgina Chapman, for refusing to stand by your man. And bravo for being angry enough to call your husband out and leave him. And bravo for standing with the women he preyed on and abused and assaulted for the last 30 years.
As a piece in Ref inery29 by EJ Dickson stated, “At the end of the day, we don’t know whether Chapman’s decision to leave Weinstein was motivated by a calculating sense of self-preservation, or by genuine horror at his alleged actions. As is so often the case, the truth is probably somewhere in between. What we do know, however, is that many of us are tired of being held responsible for the abhorrent actions of the men in our lives. We are exhausted by the prospect of having to stand up on a pedestal and grant absolution to those who are too arrogant to even demand absolution to begin with, as Weinstein made it abundantly clear he was in his flippant apology to The New York Times, which weirdly name-dropped both Jay-Z and NRA president Wayne LaPierre.”
The Marchesa line may or may not end up as collateral damage in the Harvey Weinstein saga, but I applaud you, Georgina Chapman, for refusing to put up with your husband’s bullshit anymore.