Scan­dal has a trail of hypocrisy

The Oklahoman - - OPINION - Jonah Gold­berg Jon­ah­sCol­umn@

If hypocrisy were a green­house gas, the ice caps would be gone by now.

Let’s start with the ob­vi­ous: Hol­ly­wood pro­ducer Har­vey We­in­stein wasn’t fired for be­ing a pig, he was fired for be­ing ex­posed as one. The We­in­stein Co. board mem­bers prob­a­bly didn’t know ev­ery­thing, but they surely knew enough. The only rel­e­vant “new rev­e­la­tion” was pub­lic out­cry.

The New York Times, which broke the story, knew what was go­ing on long be­fore the pub­li­ca­tion date, too. For­mer

Times re­porter Sharon

Wax­man claims she had the goods on We­in­stein in 2004. The Times

“gut­ted” the piece af­ter

We­in­stein, who was not just a Hol­ly­wood player and po­lit­i­cal rain­maker but also a ma­jor ad­ver­tiser, vis­ited the pa­per “to make his dis­plea­sure known,” Wax­man said. Now some at the pa­per are de­nounc­ing the me­dia’s long si­lence about We­in­stein, even though it was part of the prob­lem for years. Still, they’re heroic in this story com­pared with ev­ery­one else.

Con­sider Hol­ly­wood it­self. Even as var­i­ous in­sid­ers con­demned We­in­stein, they ad­mit­ted that his al­leged wrong­do­ing had long been an “open se­cret.” Why didn’t they speak up ear­lier? Per­haps be­cause at­tack­ing We­in­stein had down­sides, while at­tack­ing, say, Don­ald Trump promised only re­wards.

At last month’s Em­mys, the stars of “9 to 5” — an old flick about sex­ual ha­rass­ment in the work­place — reunited. “Back in 1980, in that movie, we re­fused to be con­trolled by a sex­ist, ego­tis­ti­cal, ly­ing, hyp­o­crit­i­cal bigot,” ex­plained Jane Fonda.

“And in 2017, we still refuse to be con­trolled by a sex­ist, ego­tis­ti­cal, ly­ing, hyp­o­crit­i­cal bigot,” Lily Tom­lin added.

The crowd roared with ap­proval. Take that, Trump!

How many peo­ple in that room knew about We­in­stein? How many re­fused to speak up — even af­ter he was fired?

So far, many right-wing read­ers are prob­a­bly nod­ding along to this col­umn. Well, stop. If you never spoke up about Trump, or if you re­sponded to those ac­cu­sa­tions with a dis­mis­sive, “What about Bill Clin­ton?” you should prob­a­bly just sit this one out.

Be­cause if you de­cry pig­gish be­hav­ior only when it helps your side, or if you think ac­cusers are telling the truth only when they speak up about peo­ple you don’t like (or don’t need pro­fes­sion­ally), then you don’t ac­tu­ally care about sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

Steve Ban­non’s Bre­it­ re­ported that We­in­stein had vis­ited the Obama White House 13 times. The hor­ror! This is the same Ban­non who in­sists that the first and great­est test of loy­alty to Trump was whether you sup­ported him af­ter the “Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood” video was re­leased.

It may be that lib­er­als We­in­stein, Bill Clin­ton and Bill Cosby to­gether have a worse rap sheet than Trump, ousted Fox News head Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. But who cares? Is it the new stan­dard of the trib­al­ized right that so long as “our” guys don’t sink to the low­est stan­dards of “their” guys, it’s OK?

Is the rule for the left that you can be a per­sonal and pro­fes­sional pig so long as your pub­lic pol­i­tics are cor­rect? I still re­mem­ber Glo­ria Steinem dis­miss­ing Bill Clin­ton’s ex­ploits, lead­ing wags to pro­claim a “one free grope rule.” No won­der We­in­stein thought he could buy off Hol­ly­wood by promis­ing to at­tack the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion.

That brings me to the one group that has un­der­stand­ably been spared any crit­i­cism: the vic­tims. I don’t con­demn their si­lence when young and pow­er­less. But many stayed silent for decades, hap­pily pock­et­ing money from peo­ple they were will­ing to de­nounce only af­ter it was safe — or even prof­itable — to do so.

That hypocrisy may be the most dan­ger­ous, be­cause it sends the sig­nal to young women that such com­pro­mises pay off and you can buy in­dul­gences af­ter you’re suc­cess­ful. That’s not a mes­sage I want my teenage daugh­ter to hear.

Note: Charles Krautham­mer is away.

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