Har­vey's just one rat in the pack

Spoiler alert: H’wood is play­ing dumb

New York Post - - NEWS - MAU­REEN CAL­LA­HAN

WHO’S next?

Now that Har­vey We­in­stein’s reign of sex­ual ter­ror is over, the an­swer is, hope­fully, sev­eral of Hol­ly­wood’s most durable, lib­eral, os­ten­si­bly po­lit­i­cally cor­rect lead­ing men.

Un­til two days ago, Ben Af­fleck was mainly per­ceived as his own worst en­emy. Then he is­sued a state­ment con­demn­ing We­in­stein’s be­hav­ior.

“I am sad­dened and an­gry that a man who I worked with used his po­si­tion of power to in­tim­i­date, sex­u­ally harass and ma­nip­u­late many women over decades,” Af­fleck wrote in part. “This is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able, and I find my­self ask­ing what I can do to make sure this doesn’t hap­pen to oth­ers.”

Rose Mc­Gowan, who set­tled with We­in­stein af­ter an in­ci­dent at Sun­dance in 1997, tweeted that Af­fleck had more than one chance back in the ’90s.

Mc­Gowan claimed that she told Af­fleck di­rectly that We­in­stein had at­tacked her. In a tweet di­rected to Af­fleck, she wrote: “‘ GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DO­ING THAT!’ you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to af­ter as­sault. You lie.’”

Next came videos of Af­fleck, in 2003 and 2004, grop­ing young fe­male TV hosts. He apol­o­gized to one on so­cial me­dia and has since re­mained silent.

“I would also love to get an apol­ogy from Ben Af­fleck who grabbed my ass at a Golden Globes party in 2014,” tweeted makeup artist An­na­marie Tendler, who said Af­fleck also “pressed his fin­ger into my crack.” Her claims were backed up by Jen Statsky, a writer for “The Good Place” and “Broad City.” “I was also at this party and mul

tiple friends had this ex­act same ex­pe­ri­ence,” Statsky tweeted.

As shock­ing as the We­in­stein al­le­ga­tions are, his be­hav­ior, we’re of­ten told, is gen­er­a­tional. And We­in­stein is the lat­est in a long line of old, rich pow­er­ful men — Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly — to be so pub­licly shamed. (Don­ald Trump has said — un­con­vinc­ingly — that his “grab ’ em by the p---y” com­ment was “locker-room talk.”)

Once th­ese guys die off, goes the think­ing, so will such abuse of women. But will it re­ally?

Are the men of Gen­er­a­tion X re­ally any bet­ter? We see it in Sil­i­con Val­ley, and we see it in Hol­ly­wood. We get our to­ken Sh­eryl Sand­bergs and Patty Jenk­inses while sex­ual ha­rass­ment still runs ram- pant — just bet­ter hid­den.

Back to the We­in­stein mat­ter: Af­fleck’s life­long friend Matt Da­mon has been ac­cused of help­ing to kill a 2004 We­in­stein ex­posé, and though Da­mon claims he knew noth­ing of the story’s de­tails nor of We­in­stein’s be­hav­ior, it’s hard to be­lieve. If Af­fleck knew back in 1997, why wouldn’t he tell Da­mon, his best friend? Af­fleck dated Gwyneth Pal­trow in 1997, and Pal­trow soon starred with Da­mon in “The Tal­ented Mr. Ri­p­ley” — a Har­vey We­in­stein pro­duc­tion.

Pal­trow told The New York Times that We­in­stein sex­u­ally ha­rassed her in 1994. Why wouldn’t she tell Af­fleck? Right af­ter it hap­pened, Pal­trow told her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt, who con­fronted We­in­stein and told him to stop.

So far, Pitt’s the only A-list ac­tor to ad­mit know­ing who We­in­stein re­ally is. Pitt and Da­mon’s great friend Ge­orge Clooney has also pled ig­no­rance, telling The Daily Beast he just as­sumed We­in­stein was a very pow­er­ful man with a ten­dency to hit on young beau­ti­ful women. (How evolved.)

Let’s not for­get that ear­lier this year, when Casey Af­fleck was nom­i­nated for a Best Ac­tor Os­car, his big brother, Ben, joined Da­mon in cam­paign­ing hard — and their su­per­star aura helped scrub away the sex­ual-ha­rass­ment claims brought against Casey by two fe­male crew mem­bers in 2010, both set­tled out of court.

Casey won for “Manch­ester by the Sea,” which was re­leased by Ama­zon; Da­mon pro­duced. Brie Lar­son, who pre­sented the award to Casey, re­fused to touch him, and on Thurs­day, Mc­Gowan — who’d cu­ri­ously been sus­pended from Twit­ter for 12 hours — tweeted that she’d begged Ama­zon’s stu­dio head not to work with We­in­stein and that she’d con­fided We­in­stein raped her. “I was ig­nored,” she wrote, tweet­ing Ama­zon’s Jeff Be­zos di­rectly. “Ama­zon won a dirty Os­car.”

In the Os­cars runup, Casey Af­fleck vaguely al­luded to the ac­cu­sa­tions. “Peo­ple say what­ever they want,” he told Va­ri­ety. “Some­times it doesn’t mat­ter how you re­spond.” Sadly for the Af­flecks and their ilk: No longer.

CLOSE-UPS: Ge­orge Clooney, Casey Af­fleck and brother Ben Af­fleck are all un­der the mi­cro­scope for what they might have known about Har­vey We­in­stein or for their own al­leged in­dis­cre­tions.


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