Everyone Should Be 'Downright Rude' To Harvey Weinstein, Always
Since 2017, more than 80 women have accused film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault, including 18 allegations of rape. Many other women -- who either complained about being assaulted or harassed by him, or who rejected his sexual advances -- have reported that he tried to destroy their careers, often quite successfully.
Weinstein is on tape admitting not only to groping former Miss Italy Ambra Gutierez but also saying that he makes a habit of groping women without their permission. He has paid out $44 million in a civil settlement to multiple women who have accused him of sexual misconduct. Over the last several decades, he has paid out at least eight other settlements to keep women quiet. He will be facing trial this January in Manhattan on five charges, "including two counts of predatory sexual assault, a criminal sexual act, rape in the first degree, and rape in the third degree."
So, when Weinstein had the gall to show up at, of all things, an event for young performers called "Actor's Hour" at a Manhattan bar called Downtime on Wednesday night, many of the young women in attendance were pretty pissed off, and understandably so. Three of the attendees, Amber Rollo, Kelly Bachman and Zoe Stuckless, bravely confronted him, and ended up getting booed by the men in the audience — who called them "cunts" and told them to "shut up" — or kicked out of the bar themselves.
Some people, it seems, can be canceled!
The story was first recounted by Amber Rollo on Twitter, and then later reported by Buzzfeed, in one of the absolute most goddamned enraging articles you will read this year.
I was shocked to see him out, but not because I thought he would have shame, he is a sociopath and clearly has no s… https://t.co/mKZsXorAyu— distinguished gentlewoman 🌹 (@distinguished gentlewoman 🌹)1571930501.0
Another performer at the show, a male comedian from Florida named Andrew B. Silas, also made a joke about Weinstein. It was not a good joke.
"I'd like to address the elephant in the room," he said, referencing Bachman's set before his, when she "addressed the elephant in the room" and was immediately booed. "Who in this room produced Good Will Hunting? 'Cause that shit was great."
Shockingly enough, those who confronted Weinstein were not thrilled by this joke, and neither were a whole lot of other people who read it when Buzzfeed posted about the event. Buzzfeed's story was then updated with a comment from Silas. It was not a good comment!
Silas told BuzzFeed News that shortly before performing, one of the show's organizers asked performers not to mention Weinstein's presence. Silas said he did not mean for his Good Will Hunting crack to support Weinstein and instead was intended to play off and remind people of Bachman's earlier joke.
"Her courage was incredible," said Silas via Instagram DM. "I didn't want Kelly to feel alone. And I didn't want to tread on her, honestly. And if he didn't want attention, I was going to give him attention."
Silas, who said he'd had three gin and tonics before performing, said he'd planned to joke about asking Weinstein where to obtain chloroform "but something told me that would be in poor taste."
"I swear I'm not a piece of shit," he added.
It seems like it actually would have been in better taste than "Good Will Hunting was great," but that's just me.
At some point later in the evening, Zoe Stuckless (who uses they/them pronouns) confronted not only Weinstein, but the others in the room who were just sitting there being somehow OK with Weinstein being there. Zoe was then kicked out of the bar and escorted out by a woman and a man who may or may not have worked at the bar, but who clearly had no idea what the term "due process" means:
"This guy was leading me out the stairs, just repeating 'due process, due process' to me," said Stuckless, who asked the man if he worked at the bar. He did not respond.
Let us note that neither Stuckless nor anyone else was sending Weinstein to prison without having been properly convicted in a court of law. It is in no way possible for anyone who does not have the power to send someone to prison to violate their rights of due process.
After Stuckless confronted Weinstein, Rollo followed suit, calling him a monster. She was then called a "cunt" by someone at his table and then "guided outside" by a woman who had been seated at his table.
Downtime, the bar where the event was held, explained in a now deleted Facebook post that Stuckless was a "heckler" and was asked to leave because they were causing a "disturbance."
The Downtime bar has not responded to BuzzFeed News' request for comment, but posted a note on its Facebook page apparently referring to Stuckless as a heckler.
"Shortly into the evening, one guest began heckling another, causing a disturbance to everyone in attendance. After several requests to stop were ignored, we kindly asked the heckler to leave," it said.
Does this whole thing get worse? It sure does!
Alexandra Laliberte, the organizer of Actor's Hour, told BuzzFeed News it was the second time Weinstein had turned up to one of her events. Laliberte added that she doesn't have a security team, and rather than turn Weinstein away, she thought the community could address him.
"I welcome all walks of life into my space," she said.
When asked why she allowed Weinstein to attend an event specifically intended to support and encourage young actors when he has been accused of sexually assaulting and harassing dozens of them, Laliberte told BuzzFeed News: "I protect them by freedom of speech."
These are all very strange things to say in light of the fact that this non-existent security team had no problem throwing out the members of the "community" who chose to "address" him. If Silas's account is correct and the performers were, indeed, told not to mention Weinstein's presence at all, then it is really hard to see how Laliberte was "protecting" anyone with free speech.
Laliberte says she didn't invite Weinstein, but Rollo and Bachman told Buzzfeed that other event organizers told them that Weinstein was seated at a table specifically reserved for her "industry contacts."
MORE worse from there? Sure why not! A representative for Weinstein issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter about the incident. Warning, may cause heart palpitations, extreme rage, and a sudden desire to reread the S.C.U.M. Manifesto. Bolding mine:
When contacted by THR, a representative for Weinstein said, "Harvey Weinstein was out with friends enjoying the music and trying to find some solace in his life that has been turned upside down. This scene was uncalled for, downright rude and an example of how due process today is being squashed by the public, trying to take it away in the courtroom too."
OH. He wants some solace, does he now? His life has been turned upside down? The poor dear. How hard it must be for him to have women be "downright rude" to him instead of keeping quiet due to being terrified that he will ruin their careers if they say anything. It's just not what he's used to!
The statement continued, "As an aside — Harvey in fact suggested the woman should be allowed to talk and ask him any questions. The venue's personnel asked the woman to leave, not Harvey's. I would just point out that he is being treated as if he has been convicted. Accusations are, in fact, not convictions. Due process is still the foundation of each and every one of our civil rights in this country. Please don't lose sight of that definitive conviction when you write. Anyone should be allowed to be there if they are acting in accordance with the norms of the space. As for the name calling, it was 100 percent not anyone in HW's employ and not someone speaking on HW's behalf."
Weinstein reportedly offered to "address anyone's questions" and said that "we should all be offered the courtesy to voice opinions and be heard, and to even get answers. I am glad we all still have these rights."
Oh yeah, sure! Who wouldn't want to sit down with Harvey Weinstein so he can explain all about how allllllllll of those women are definitely guilty of lying? That doesn't sound terrifying at all!
But back to this "due process" bullshit. Again.
Due process means that Harvey Weinstein cannot be sent to prison until he is convicted. It does not mean that no one is allowed to form an opinion on his guilt before he is convicted. That is not a thing, and it has never, at any point, been a thing. People regularly form all kinds of opinions on people who have never been convicted of something in a court of law. People even regularly believe that people who have been found innocent by a court of law are still guilty, as is their right, so long as they are not actually sending those people to prison.
In fact, after Ambra Gutierez reported Weinstein to the police in 2015, she suddenly found herself the object of several tabloid articles calling her a "blackmailer," without having been convicted of blackmail in a court of law, and was also unable to get into restaurants in SoHo.
"For months I didn't work. Even restaurants in Soho (in New York) where the fashion world hang out closed their doors to me. I was unwelcome. It is right that women are denouncing him, even after all this time. I'm nauseated by how many there are. What happened to me really put my view of the world to the test.
So, apparently, it's totally fine for this kind of thing to happen to a woman who accuses a man of sexual assault, but it's not OK for it to happen to a man who has been credibly accused of sexually assault or harassment by at least 87 women? Whether or not Weinstein personally ordered those restaurants to bar Gutierez from entering, they were still able to do so, and without it having been proven in a court of law that she was making the story up in order to blackmail Weinstein. Which, you know, she wasn't. So clearly it's possible! And just as those restaurants made a choice to honor Weinstein by barring Gutierrez from entering, so Downtime and Actor's Hour made a choice to let Weinstein in, and chose to "protect" him by kicking out those who were upset that he was there.
The worst thing about all of this is that we now know there are, apparently, people out there who still think Harvey Weinstein is just fine. That there are men — the kind of men who would attend an "Actor's Hour" in Manhattan, no less — who would heckle a woman for standing up to Harvey fucking Weinstein. That there are people who would welcome him anywhere. It is beyond depressing.
To do what Bachman, Stuckless and Rollo did, standing up to Weinstein in front of an extremely hostile audience, took a ton of courage and grit, and they deserve every goddamn accolade they get this week. More of them, please!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse