No, THIS Is A Bad Feminist
So Lisa Bloom fucking sucks.
Lisa Bloom, lauded "feminist," "women's rights" attorney, and daughter of Gloria Allred, has spent most of her career representing women and crime victims. But for a little while, she decided to take a break from women who had been victimized to help one of the most prolific rapists of our time: Harvey Weinstein. And she helped Weinstein come up with a plan, not to defend himself in court, but to smear and bribe his victims.
A new book about the Harvey Weinstein saga came out this week, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement. It was written by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor -- the women who broke the story of Harvey Weinstein's web of rape, harassment, and lies -- and details not only the deeds of Weinstein, but also the people who helped him cover his tracks for so long. One of those people was Lisa Bloom.
Bloom decided she just had to get in on helping out Harvey Weinstein. And in the process of getting onto Weinstein's payroll, she wrote him a memo detailing how they could smear the women he had raped and make himself look good in the process.
Journalist, women's rights ally, and Twitter User Extraordinaire Yashar Ali posted the memo in full (with permission from Kantor and Twohey). And it's horrifying.
Parts of Bloom's email read more like a love letter to Weinstein. Loom opens by saying it was a "treat to speak with" Weinstein and saying that actress Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein's rape victims, "truly comes off as a pathological liar." Bloom also used the opportunity to attack McGowan specifically while at the same time throwing some anti-feminist shade generally, saying:
I guess we need more films glorifying male murderers, or something?
About McGowan, Bloom also ominously says:
And can someone teach Ms. Bloom that truth is an absolute defense to a claim of defamation? Eat shit, Lisa.
As for why Weinstein should work with her, Bloom said:
Wow. There's a lot to unpack, there. Bloom is basically calling all of the women she's represented liars. Apparently women who are sexually assaulted and harassed are "the Roses of the world," who sometimes masquerade as "impressive, bold women," but in truth are weak liars. Yikes.
Bloom then goes on to talk about how they should proceed to smear McGowan and make Weinstein a "hero." Her plan lays out six steps.
Step One: Befriend and attempt to blackmail Rose McGowan.
Step Two: Smear Rose McGowan.
Step Three: Try to silence Rose McGowan.
Step Four: Make Weinstein a hero. Let's just do it and be legends, man.
Step Five: Use Weinstein's money to try to make him look good.
Step Six: Try to rig Google.
After laying out her plan to destroy McGowan, Bloom closes her email by saying she was "really honored to be brought into this team."
For her part, Rose McGowan is ... not pleased with how Bloom handled things for Weinstein.
Et tu, Aunt Lisa?
She Says and Bloom's memo are startling reminders of how even self-identified feminist women are complicit in propping up the straight, white patriarchy.
We already knew that Lisa Bloom had worked for Weinstein -- but seeing Bloom talk about how to hurt a rape victim, in her own words, is really striking.
Monica Hesse at the Washington Post explained "how Lisa Bloom, feminist attorney, became just another complicit Aunt Lydia," noting that Bloom's plan was "to use her insider knowledge of victimology to attack Weinstein's victims."
Bloom's motivation in all this seem pretty clear.
What possible motive could Lisa Bloom have had for undermining the values she had publicly championed for so many years?
The last paragraph of her memo gave up the game: "Would you please connect me with David Boies so I can get retained?"
Bloom's initial payment for assisting the man who would become the reviled symbol for the unchecked abuse of power was $50,000.
Bloom billed Weinstein at a rate of $895/hour.
This is gross.
Yup, it is.
Bloom has represented women accusing Bill Cosby, Bill O'Reilly, and scores of other powerful men of sexual assault and harassment. She has represented a number of other women who have been raped and abused. She is currently representing some of Jeffrey Epstein's accusers. And it is just really disheartening to know how little Bloom thinks of her clients, as well as women as a whole.
At some point every lawyer represents someone whose actions they find repugnant. It always pissed me off when people complained about that time Hillary Clinton represented a child rapist -- she was doing her job and upholding her ethical responsibility to defend a client she was appointed to represent. Lawyers are ethically bound to zealously represent their clients. It's all part of the job.
But smearing rape victims in the press is not in any lawyer's job description. And the insights Bloom gave Weinstein were both disgusting and harmful. As noted by Hesse:
The most horrible thing about Lisa Bloom's memo to Harvey Weinstein wasn't the advice it offered. An experienced male crisis manager could have come up with a similarly odious battle plan.
The most horrible thing was the life experience she brought to writing it. She knew, intimately, how women were treated in the court system and the public eye. She knew how accusers can be portrayed as crazy — "increasingly unglued," was the phrase she used when detailing how they would frame Rose McGowan for the general public. Lisa Bloom knew everything that would happen to Weinstein's victims if they executed her plan, and she wrote that memo anyway.
As for Bloom, she apologized. Again. Though the "apology" reads more like a press release and rings pretty hollow, especially compared to Bloom's prose in the message she sent to Weinstein.
It just still doesn't seem to have dawned on Lisa that she helped a Harvey Weinstein come up with a plan to smear, silence, and ruin the life of a woman he raped.
Like Weinstein, Bloom seems unable and unwilling to accept responsibility for her actions. When news of Bloom's representation of Bloom broke the first time she told the AP, "I've often wished I could get in on the other side and knock the guy around a little and tell him to knock it off ... Remarkably, I now have the opportunity to do that."
HOLD ON A SECOND, I JUST ROLLED MY EYES SO HARD THEY ALMOST GOT STUCK.
Both Bloom and David Boies -- who attempted to silence, intimidate, and undermine Weinstein's victims -- now each represent several victims of Jeffrey Epstein. I truly hope their work on behalf of these victims is as zealous as their work on behalf of serial rapists. And I hope they've both left their Aunt Lydia antics behind. Otherwise, their clients are in for an interesting ride.
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