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.

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