Ma­rina Hyde

We­in­stein’s ‘rehab’

The Guardian - G2 - - Front page - By Ma­rina Hyde

‘Avil­lain is just a vic­tim whose story hasn’t been told yet,” wrote Chris Colfer in The

Land of Sto­ries, which I am pleased to see will be made into a movie by some­one other than the We­in­stein Com­pany. Even so, you may find your­self de­clin­ing to sub­mit to re­ports about Har­vey We­in­stein’s pend­ing stint in rehab, where pro­fes­sion­als will help him get to the bot­tom of his ter­ri­ble con­di­tion. He has ba­si­cally pun­ished him­self by check­ing in to a place where wan­der­ing round in bathrobes is al­most manda­tory.

As the ra­dioac­tive movie mogul put it him­self to re­porters on Wed­nes­day night: “I’m hang­ing in, I’m try­ing my best. I’m not do­ing OK but I’m try­ing. I gotta get help guys. You know what, we all make mis­takes … Sec­ond chance, I hope.” Sec­ond chance? There seems to be some kind of ac­count­ing er­ror here. The sec­ond chance is es­ti­mated to have been used up some time in the very early 1990s. If not be­fore. Ei­ther way, that’s cer­tainly the most bog­gling state­ment from We­in­stein since his first at­tempt to hand-wave away his mush­room­ing sex­ual ha­rass­ment scan­dal by de­scrib­ing him­self as “an old di­nosaur learn­ing new ways”. I guess you can’t li­bel the dead, which in­su­lates Har­vey from a class ac­tion suit brought on be­half of ev­ery stegosaurus that hasn’t ap­par­ently wanked into a res­tau­rant plant pot.

Still, let’s fo­cus on the help he gotta get. There are vary­ing re­ports of We­in­stein’s clin­i­cal plan, but many sug­gest he has now be­gun sev­eral weeks of in-pa­tient treat­ment at an Ari­zona head spa, be­fore jour­ney­ing for the fi­nal stages to a sec­ond fa­cil­ity in Europe. Some kind of happy-fin­ish­ing school, pre­sum­ably.

Here’s hop­ing it’s just your ba­sic $2,000-a-night sex of­fender pro­gramme. Wher­ever We­in­stein ends up, I pic­ture the place as a sort of alt-jus­tice sim­u­la­tor, which lov­ingly recre­ates the at­mos­phere of the classic nonce wing, right down to the Miche­lin-starred salad bar and fluffy bathrobes. Or maybe they’re try­ing to wean Har­vey off bathrobes, I don’t know. The key point is: it op­er­ates out­side stan­dard cor­rec­tional pro­ce­dures. In many ways it’s like the indie crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. As well as the boutique feel, there’s a fresh­ness you don’t get with the big stu­dio pris­ons.

Ac­cord­ing to mul­ti­ple re­ports, We­in­stein is to be treated for sex ad­dic­tion, which seems ... in­ap­pro­pri­ate. You might as well treat him for anorexia, or diph­the­ria, or some other ill­ness he hasn’t got. Look, I’m the first to agree with Blades of Glory’s Chazz Michael Michaels that sex ad­dic­tion is a real dis­ease, with doc­tors and medicine and ev­ery­thing. But We­in­stein isn’t ad­dicted to sex in any ac­cepted def­i­ni­tion of that con­di­tion. We­in­stein’s al­leged be­hav­iour is abu­sive, co­er­cive and non­con­sen­sual. Is he an “abuse addict”? Is that a thing now? Has this twirled con­ve­niently into the rar­efied realms of a men­tal health is­sue, and out of the vul­gar di­men­sion of crim­i­nal of­fence?

So it seems. If you are still re­sist­ing this nar­ra­tive di­rec­tion, please don’t. Just re­lax. Stop mak­ing a scene. You’re em­bar­rass­ing him. Come on. Five min­utes. Please. As one of his rep­re­sen­ta­tives said in a state­ment to the New Yorker: “Mr We­in­stein has be­gun coun­selling, has lis­tened to the com­mu­nity and is pur­su­ing a bet­ter path. Mr We­in­stein is hop­ing that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a sec­ond chance.”

Let’s as­sume the progress will be mea­sured in days clean of al­legedly car­ry­ing out sex­ual ha­rass­ment, or per­haps in a 50% re­duc­tion in al­leged sex­ual ha­rass­ment in­ci­dents, with a

Let’s as­sume progress will be mea­sured in days clean of al­leged ha­rass­ment

view to elim­i­nat­ing them com­pletely around the same time the US pays off its na­tional debt.

As for the wider im­pli­ca­tions of the scan­dal for Hol­ly­wood, it would be easy to get car­ried away. In one sense, the record-break­ing G-force fall of We­in­stein leaves a huge gap in the in­dus­try. Purely in terms of busi­ness tem­per­a­ment, We­in­stein was al­most wist­fully con­sid­ered the town’s Last Great Mon­ster, es­pe­cially since Michael Ovitz handed in his badge and nunchucks (circa 1995). On the other hand, you cer­tainly wouldn’t rule him out mak­ing some sort of re­turn in due course. I still re­call fondly the scoff­ing cor­re­spon­dence I re­ceived af­ter sug­gest­ing that Mel Gib­son would in fact be back af­ter that busi­ness with the Jews and the sug­ar­tit­ted traf­fic cop. My favourites were ob­vi­ously the peo­ple point­ing out that Hol­ly­wood is all run by the Jews, so he wouldn’t ever be res­ur­rected. As you may know, Mel is a much-re­spected moviemaker again th­ese days, able to draw big stars, and was nom­i­nated for a best di­rec­tor Os­car only this year.

For now, though, the fo­cus on the We­in­stein story makes one strongly sus­pect that Har­vey is tak­ing one for the team. If ev­ery­thing can be tele­scoped on to him, that would be bet­ter all round. In fact, I can’t de­cide who wants this story to go away quicker – the “sim­i­lar op­er­a­tors” to We­in­stein in Hol­ly­wood, or the “sim­i­lar op­er­a­tors” in the news me­dia.

There has never been a bet­ter few weeks for women in Hol­ly­wood to get a role

Var­i­ous par­ties’ desperation to treat it as a po­lit­i­cal foot­ball serves as a re­minder that this is never about women’s rights for them. Con­sider Fox News vil­lage id­iot Tucker Carlson, who on Tues­day called for a jus­tice depart­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion into “Hol­ly­wood’s cul­ture of sys­temic sex­ual abuse”, lament­ing that “peo­ple in charge have cov­ered it up and made ex­cuses for it, in each case pro­tect­ing the pow­er­ful from the pow­er­less and the abused”. Strong words, and all the more res­o­nant com­ing from one of the few Fox fig­ures yet to be ex­posed as some­one who re­gards the sound of them mas­tur­bat­ing as suit­able hold mu­sic dur­ing calls with their PA.

For those won­der­ing when things will die down, I spoke to a made-up Hol­ly­wood sci­en­tist who cal­cu­lated that mo­ment will come at the pre­cise sec­ond that anti-we­in­stein cov­er­age stops gross­ing more than We­in­stein movies. Mean­while, you will have noted that the cov­er­age has al­ready metas­ta­sised again. Sec­ond stage was Glynn from your ac­counts depart­ment snort­ing that “the whole town knew for years”, in the man­ner of some­one who’d like you to as­sume he spent the early 90s round at Car­rie Fisher and Bryan Lourd’s house but never brags about that whole scene. We’re now at third stage, which is guys ex­plain­ing that hav­ing daugh­ters made them re-eval­u­ate their views on sex­ual as­sault. (As a wo­man, I’m al­ways grate­ful for th­ese takes, which are the equiv­a­lent of the au­thors pub­licly brand­ing their own fore­heads with the words “TO­TAL SEX CASE”.)

But I sup­pose we’ll have to play out by find­ing some kind of bright side. So let’s just say it’s not all bad news for the lady ac­tors of Hol­ly­wood. Frankly, there has never been a bet­ter three-week win­dow to get a role. That may be an over­es­ti­ma­tion of the pe­riod for which the town’s gross­est pow­er­ful men will be on their best be­hav­iour – but I think if you man­age to nail down your next two roles in the next two weeks, you pretty much guar­an­tee a hir­ing process free from the threat of re­flex­ively in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour or peremp­tory sex­ual as­sault. Af­ter that you’ll be too old to work any­way, at least for the cou­ple of decades un­til you start qual­i­fy­ing for Madeleine Al­bright biopics or films about a lat­ter-years com­pan­ion­ship between El­iz­a­beth I and a Moor­ish ser­vant or what­ever. So happy hia­tus, gals! God knows you’ve earned it.

Har­vey We­in­stein with Heidi Klum and Uma Thur­man in 2014; Michael Ovitz (be­low)

Res­ur­rected ... Mel Gib­son

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