Not Shocked

Hollywood stars, like Meryl Streep, are coming out saying that they are SHOCKED — SHOCKED, I TELL YOU — that Harvey Weinstein was a creep. Ronan Farrow has a follow up article in the New Yorker, which includes interviews with Mira Sorvino. (Mira went to our high school and was friends with my sister.)

Alright. Who was really shocked? Not me, because I read really trashy Hollywood gossip websites like Blind Gossip and Crazy Days and Nights. And according to those websites, what Harvey did was par for the course, and there are much bigger, creepier things going on. Including lots of pimping out of Hollywood stars and celebrities to oil sheiks in Dubai.

For real gossip geeks, Crazy Days and Nights occasionally features comments and input from someone named “Himmmm.” It’s supposedly Robert Downey, Jr.

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76 thoughts on “Not Shocked

  1. Himmm hasn’t been around in ages. 😦

    Yachting is basically sanctioned prostitution. Really, that we criminalize prostitution at any other level is so wrong considering how many people in the entertainment business do it.

    I just read a romance novel last night called King of Code that took on sexism in the tech industry. I could have done without a lot of the sex scenes, tbh, but it was a really interesting exploration of the issues, considering it was a romance novel. It was interesting to read alongside the Weinstein controversy. (And in light of the Google manifesto guy.)

      1. Yachting is when rich people (usually rich foreigners) have yachts in the Mediterranean or Caribbean and invite actresses to join them. Some yachters are just there for show, but some make good money by having sex with the men with the money.

  2. I think Ann Althouse pretty much explains it all. All right-thinking (i.e., left-thinking) people had to be very concerned about sexual harassment from Thomas through Packwood, then ignore and dismiss it under Clinton, then revive their concern for the age of Trump.

    1. I’m with ya, but there is also the power factor: this guy got away with his shit for years-and-years, everyone was terrified of him. Droit de seigneur. And then he got a little less powerful, and suddenly it was at least possible to think of him losing his power. And now everybody piles on, to make sure the king stays dead.
      Donna Karan mis-estimated his ability to come back, and was staking out a claim to his gratitude, now that will be worthless and she is recalibrating.

    2. How would you characterize the response to sexual harassment by right-thinking (i.e., right-thinking) people? Is it the opposite, or something else?

      1. About equally partisan, although the religious right did not stand up for Packwood. But he was pro-choice, even though he was a Republican, so no big consistency points there. However, Althouse’s and my point was what enabled Weinstein in particular, and I don’t think the right bears any guilt there.

  3. Amsterdam Vallon, he said: “When you kill a king, you don’t stab him in the dark. You kill him where the entire court can watch him die.”
    The missus has now said their marriage is over. I think she has figured out that she and her children will do better financially if she gets her cut before the lawsuits beggar him. The Obamas are looking very conspicuous, not having condemned him yet. Even Hillary has, though she’s not taking the conventional expiation step of giving away the money he paid her.

    1. dave s. said:

      “The Obamas are looking very conspicuous, not having condemned him yet.”

      http://www.newsweek.com/malia-obama-harvey-weinstein-accusations-680950

      “Malia Obama, 19, landed an internship at the Weinstein Company right after her dad left office earlier this year, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Working in the New York City office, she was doing more than fetching coffee—TMZ reported that Malia Obama was “ensconced in the production/development department,” tasked with “reading through scripts and deciding which ones move on to Weinstein brass.”

      One wonders, what did the Obamas know? Did the Obamas know about this stuff and send their daughter anyway, or did their Hollywood friends not tell them?

      There’s a possibility that giving Malia an internship was viewed by Weinstein et al as buying political protection/respectability. It reminds me a bit of something I read about how Miramax used to option a lot of magazine pieces, which bought a lot of silence in the media world. (That’s one of the big stories here–the long-term media complicit in covering up Weinstein’s bad behavior.)

      Dave S., I know you have an ever-expanding teen/young adult life skills curriculum–what does your spiel sound like for “when you discover you are interviewing with/working for a pervert”? “Tell your boyfriend Brad Pitt” seems to work pretty well.

      https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/oct/09/harvey-weinstein-hollywood-men-actors-directors?CMP=share_btn_tw

      “The actors Seth Rogen and Mark Ruffalo have spoken up, but most male celebrities with ties to Weinstein have chosen not to comment, even after Weinstein was ousted from his own company.

      “The Guardian contacted representatives of actors who have starred in Weinstein films, including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Colin Firth, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Russell Crowe, George Clooney and Ewan McGregor, along with the directors Tarantino, Russell, Ryan Coogler, Tom Hooper, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michael Moore, Rob Marshall, Robert Pulcini, Garth Davis, Doug McGrath, John Madden, Simon Curtis, Kevin Williamson, Martin Scorsese, John Hillcoat and John Wells.

      “None initially commented, despite the fact that many have been vocal about gender equality in the industry and other social justice causes.”

      Wow, the guys and gals at the Guardian have been eating their Wheaties.

      1. “she was doing more than fetching coffee—TMZ reported that Malia Obama was “ensconced in the production/development department,” tasked with “reading through scripts and deciding which ones move on to Weinstein brass.””

        FWIW, this is a *very* low-level job. I had a student in Hollywoo for a few weeks last summer, and this is what she did.

        ““The Guardian contacted representatives of actors who have starred in Weinstein films, including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Colin Firth, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Russell Crowe, George Clooney and Ewan McGregor, along with the directors Tarantino, Russell, Ryan Coogler, Tom Hooper, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michael Moore, Rob Marshall, Robert Pulcini, Garth Davis, Doug McGrath, John Madden, Simon Curtis, Kevin Williamson, Martin Scorsese, John Hillcoat and John Wells.”

        Don’t diss Lin-Manuel. He tweeted this morning and said he basically is refusing all non-PR requests at this time.

        Clooney’s response was exceedingly disappointing. Pretty much everyone else on that list whose name I know is an asshole.

      2. I expect everybody to be suddenly braver once it’s clear Weinstein is gone.

        But here’s an awful thought–what if one of the reasons that the guys are so quiet about Weinstein is that they know there are other guys still working who have similar issues and that they don’t wish to offend?

      3. “Russell Crowe and Matt Damon were actively trying to kill stories back in 2004, when the NYT was making another go at Weinstein:

        “The story I reported never ran.

        “After intense pressure from Weinstein, which included having Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call me directly to vouch for Lombardo [Weinstein’s $400k a year procurer] and unknown discussions well above my head at the Times, the story was gutted.

        “I was told at the time that Weinstein had visited the newsroom in person to make his displeasure known. I knew he was a major advertiser in the Times, and that he was a powerful person overall.

        “But I had the facts, and this was the Times. Right?

        “Wrong. The story was stripped of any reference to sexual favors or coercion and buried on the inside of the Culture section, an obscure story about Miramax firing an Italian executive. Who cared?”

        https://www.thewrap.com/media-enablers-harvey-weinstein-new-york-times/

      4. Sorry, I inadvertently put quotes where they shouldn’t be.

        ““Russell Crowe and Matt Damon were actively trying to kill stories back in 2004, when the NYT was making another go at Weinstein” was my sentence, not Sharon Waxman’s.

      5. FYI, when I said Lin-Manuel Miranda was refusing non-PR requests, PR=Puerto Rico. That’s been his primary focus these days, of course.

        “But here’s an awful thought–what if one of the reasons that the guys are so quiet about Weinstein is that they know there are other guys still working who have similar issues and that they don’t wish to offend?”

        Not an awful thought. It’s probably true.

        It also makes you think about Joss Whedon’s claims that needy insecure actresses kept throwing themselves at him. Um, maybe not so much.

      6. “what if one of the reasons that the guys are so quiet about Weinstein is that they know there are other guys still working who have similar issues and that they don’t wish to offend?”

        I think we can say with some confidence that there are plenty of people in Hollywood and Washington who “have similar issues,” and that most intellectuals’ reactions to any particular revelation will be heavily influenced by partisan considerations.

        Interestingly, you don’t hear anywhere near as many stories like this from finance (i.e., NYC). Maybe that’s because the top men in finance are so rich that they can hire as many women as they want, who will be better-looking than the analysts in any case?

      7. “most intellectuals’ reactions to any particular revelation will be heavily influenced by partisan considerations.”

        Projection.

      8. y81 said:

        “I think we can say with some confidence that there are plenty of people in Hollywood and Washington who “have similar issues,” and that most intellectuals’ reactions to any particular revelation will be heavily influenced by partisan considerations.”

        I feel like the Hollywood volume is bound to be bigger, because there are large pools of aspiring actresses, actresses have active careers the length of fruit flies’ lives and are more vulnerable to whims and chance, lack of an education to fall back on (a lot of actors do not have a BA), lack of civil service protection, lack of objective criteria for employment, the number of employers in Hollywood is so limited and interconnected, the Hollywood culture of never speaking ill of anybody, young people who go to Washington to make it probably have better home and peer support, it’s easier to get Hollywood flunkies to work on the starlet-bedding assembly line (Weinstein seems to have had a lot of helpers), and there are multiple ladders available in Washington, rather than just a single ladder. Plus, people are supposed to be doing their jobs in DC, while in Hollywood, there are long periods of leisure/anxiety between projects.

        Ted Kennedy had a Weinsteinesque career of wenching

        https://www.gq.com/story/kennedy-ted-senator-profile

        but Hollywood offers a lot more scope for that sort of thing.

        “Interestingly, you don’t hear anywhere near as many stories like this from finance (i.e., NYC). Maybe that’s because the top men in finance are so rich that they can hire as many women as they want, who will be better-looking than the analysts in any case?”

        Weinstein is plenty rich. He didn’t “have” to do any of the stuff he did–I have to assume that humiliating and degrading women (and probably humiliating his flunkies) was part of the appeal of his M.O.

      9. “young people who go to Washington to make it probably have better home and peer support”

        Eh, to go to Hollywood you often have to have a lot of parental support, paying for your expenses while you do a lot of unpaid/low-paid work.

      10. I could tell you many stories from the finance industry and public practice (accounting and law). It’s only been in the last few years that’s there has been any repercussions for sexual harassment. Prior to that as long as you were a “finder” and brought in lots of clients, you got away with it. It’s much better but that’s only been because of clear threats of firing (that have been carried out as recently as the past year) for partners/staff caught red handed.

        It seems like many still aren’t aware of how common this is across many fields/industries. It’s something you put up with and learn to deal with as you move up the ranks. From the high school english teacher that we all knew not to be alone with (funnily enough in the 1980’s none of us every thought to talk to the principal or our parents about it) to the biz school prof at university to the various bosses along the way, it’s nothing new.

        All the time and brain space spent managing various situations where all you want to do is just contribute and be part of the team. You being a friendly, gracious co-worker misinterpreted as romantic interest. Nope, me asking about your weekend is just that – not interested! Having to manage that line all the time.

        And even when it isn’t happening, having others assume that it is, that you aren’t “at the table” because of your talent and hard work. I drafted the provincial budget (revenue side and expenditure side) for a provincial election for a certain political party. I did the economic & fiscal policy & analysis. Still had some guy assume that I must be there because of some secret relationship with the party leader. Nope, just working round the clock for months with my team.

        It was never everyone – there were many people that I’ve worked with who were fine. However, having to deal with the others was like running a race dragging a heavy rock behind you.

      11. Wendy said:

        “Eh, to go to Hollywood you often have to have a lot of parental support, paying for your expenses while you do a lot of unpaid/low-paid work.”

        I didn’t mean just financial support, but also social capital type stuff.

      12. “Interestingly, you don’t hear anywhere near as many stories like this from finance… ”

        Googling the pairing of “Morgan Stanley” and “sexual harassment” is instructive. As is googling “Goldman Sachs” and “sexual harassment.” Googling “Lehman Brothers” and “sexual harassment” turns up fewer articles, perhaps because the bank has been dead for nearly 10 years now, but it turns up plenty of stories nonetheless. “Bear Stearns” and “sexual harassment” likewise.

        I think I’ll stop for now.

      13. Well, if metonymic google searches are your thing:

        “Morgan Stanley” and “sexual harassment”: 245K results
        “Wall Street” and “sexual harassment”: 820K results
        “Hollywood” and “sexual harassment”: 6.6MM results.

        Furthermore, and what I meant is, you don’t hear stories about individual powerful men in finance behaving that way, the way you hear about powerful producers and directors and/or powerful elected officials.

      14. “you don’t hear stories about individual powerful men in finance behaving that way,”

        Especially given the atmospheres of harassment documented in the numerous lawsuits, I would not draw the inference that just because you don’t hear about it, it isn’t happening.

      15. Re whether there is sexual abuse/harassment on Wall Street:

        1. Apparently all these cases are handled in-house because a particular form about arbitrating such disputes is signed
        and
        2. Hollywood has celebrities, names that people want to read gossip about in the media. No one cares about Wall Street people.

        So the Google search results are irrelevant data.

  4. Also not shocked – people like me who barely knew his name. (My boyfriend said, “Isn’t he gay?” He was thinking of Harvey Fierstein.) Another gross powerful man.

    1. I have to confess that I didn’t really know who he was before this. I’d heard the name and I had the general idea that people were afraid of him, but I didn’t realize why.

  5. My dad’s cousin uses Facebook like she’s an Onion parody of a rural Republican. Maybe I should point her to Ann Althouse and see if she can’t stop being a broken record about NFL players kneeling. Can’t really hide her because there’s no other contact with that whole branch of the family and I don’t want them to start with a Christmas letter so I know what their grandkids are up to.

    1. John Podhoretz tweets, “As a father of daughters, let me just say that I’ve paid enough in tuition to refer to myself as a father of daughters any damn time I want.”

  6. I think Lena Dunham’s response highlights the whole general Hollywood response to this thing. It is a pile one (good), but nothing will actually change. It is mostly just social signaling. Dunham is calling people out for not naming names, saying that the same thing has happened to her, but she’s not… naming names.

    And that’s why nothing will change.

      1. This may be unfair, but the Dunham and Crews thing reminds me a of the Monty Python Blackmail game show, where the people being blackmailed can stop the embarrassing disclosures by phoning in and paying up:

        So, unnamed Hollywood executives, make sure Dunham and Crews keep working!

  7. Sure seems like sexual abuse scandals are common across all industries, regardless of those industries’ political affiliations and inclinations. It’s almost as if the problem is with our entire culture rather than any one industry in particular.

  8. Between ages 16 and 30, I dealt with gross guys ALL THE TIME. My butt was grabbed by strangers mutliple times a week. I was followed. Random dudes tried to kiss me on a crowded New York City street. Dudes dropped their pants in front of me. Weird stuff happened all the time. It wasn’t just rich and powerful guys who did creepy stuff. It was middle aged Latino guys on the subway, too.

    At the time, I thought that this was normal. Perhaps it was normal back in the 80s and 90s when Harvey was operating in the business. I wonder how many guys are going to get the Bill Cosby treatment? Not sad for them.

    1. I believe that street (and subway etc.) sexual harassment is still normal for attractive young women. Many women my age comment that the harassment level has abated considerably, but I never heard any of them suggest that it represented a change in the culture, or male nature, as opposed to a reflection of their own aging.

    2. I think harassment of teenage girls in MS/high school has decreased, comparing my personal experience to my daughters. I do not think my daughter and I are all that different, so I do think the culture has changed in that micro-enviroment. Mind you, one of the ways in which my daughter and I are similar is that we would probably both proudly accept the title of being strident feminists who won’t tolerate much of anything. I do not think all girls feel less harassed in HS, and there are a number of women my age who tell me that the training they had received to be polite and nice put them into situations they wish they had avoided. I think there are still girls who think that being polite means accepting harassment they shouldn’t have to experience.

      My daughter reports that harassment on the street is still pretty common, though I do not believe she has ever been physically grabbed. I was physically grabbed at times, though not with the frequency Laura describes.

      1. The craziest time I was grabbed/assaulted happened at lunch time on a busy street (think a main street with shops and restaurants). I was in my “power suit” (oh the late ’80’s/early 90’s) and walking with two co-workers. Sidewalk was full of worker bees walking to and from lunch.

        A guy in a suit walking towards me grabbed my breasts with both hands and then carried on walking past. I was so shocked that I didn’t realize what happened til he was 10′ past me.

        Crazy! Entitled! Illegal!

  9. I am not shocked, either. But, I think daylight shined on the behavior can only be a good thing. It’s necessary to change the standards. As Laura says, a lot of things that used to happen were wrong, though we thought that they were ordinary (from assault on the street to bra-snapping in the classroom to low level access to resources based on “flirting” to verbal harassment to . . . .).

    I think it’s weird if y81 thinks that this *doesn’t* happen in any industry where there is power and/or money. What stories have we heard this year? politics, science, tech, film, . . . .

    The Weinstein (and maybe tech) situations raise some additional issues that I’m working through in my head. In some of the industries and in some of the stories there is a work/student hierarchy, an official one. Weinstein seems to have crossed those bounds, too.

    But, in some instances, there is a power hierarchy but not official hierarchy (Paltrow v Weinstein). A proposition can’t be illegal in that circumstance, I’m thinking, though it could be unethical. But that ethic isn’t going to be enforced without the power of women. Paltrow says she said no and tried to use the power of her network to stop the propositions while still maintaining a working relationship. Other women said that they decided that if that was the price of acting, it was one they weren’t willing to pay (a woman who is now a professor, for example). George Clooney is quoted as saying he’d heard rumors for over 20 years that women had benefited from “sleeping” with Weinstein to get access. I’m guessing that none of us would be shocked if that was true, too (in addition to the ones who said no). I think we have to empower women to say no, and that involves giving them power as well as lots of light shined in the dark places. Among other things, people have to understand how to say no and that some people do.

  10. Yes, I think naming names and public statements need to happen for the culture to change (and, I do believe that change is possible). I think we can change the standards and empower the people who would otherwise be victimized to object. I hope, for example, that sexual abuse of children in the catholic church hierarchy has diminished. Would others disagree? I think the taboo against abusing children has become stronger (though it is also backed up by being illegal).

    But, it’s clear that Gwyneth Paltrow saying something has a lot more power than “former Oscar-nominated A list actress” saying something. The women who spoke out about startup funders in the tech industry also named names, both their and those they accused. Without that kind of publicity, I don’t believe anything will ever change. With it, I have hopes.

    I also want the settlements of confidentiality to be unenforceable.

    1. I also want the settlements of confidentiality to be unenforceable.

      Yes. If the power of the state is going to be used to enforce an agreement, agreements that can in no way serve the public interest shouldn’t be allowed.

      1. sandrat212 said:

        “I’m surprised that they are enforceable when they clearly are part of a cover up of a crime.”

        That’s an interesting point.

        I don’t know what the statutes of limitation look like in California, but Weinstein has committed crimes, and it’s quite possible that a number of his associates have committed crimes as well.

        Weinstein’s computers and cell phone text records are probably worth a look, but I suppose you’d have to be pretty gutsy to file for the appropriate warrants in LA County.

    2. Also, I’m not willing to say that women have to speak. They do have so much to lose. But, I celebrate their courage when they do speak. I strongly believe that the women who speak up have a ripple effect across the culture.

      1. Yes. And I think that just because somebody doesn’t speak at one point in time, doesn’t mean it should be possible for the person they aren’t speaking about to force them keep quiet for all time and do so by using legal means.

      2. Sure. I think Rose McGowan is brave. But, I’m not going to give credit to someone for being brave when they only speak up once everyone else has (Gwyneth Paltrow).

      3. Tulip said,

        “But, I’m not going to give credit to someone for being brave when they only speak up once everyone else has (Gwyneth Paltrow).”

        I don’t think everybody has spoken yet.

      4. I give credit to everyone who speaks up to tell the truth. True, Paltrow, who is no longer an actress and runs a different business had less to lose than a working actress especially after others had spoken up already. But, it still took courage; surely people are questioning her truth, her character, and just generally harassing her on at least the nether reaches of the internet.

        There’s something that’s been sticking in my mind recently — the enormous weight of standing up for something, by yourself. When you fight an enemy, a harasser, you know that they will attack you and defend themselves. There’s a hope, though, that others will stand with you. If they don’t, that’s when your heart shatters. It’s the silence of the bystanders that loses the war. Paltrow might not have taken that first step, but she stood up, and that’s worth something. Lots of folks will never be the first, but having the courage to be the second or the third can tip the scale.

      5. Sorry — I didn’t know that image would populate the feed like that. But, not really sorry, because it is beautiful. My kiddo has it hanging over his desk.

  11. I don’t think confidentiality agreements are generally enforceable against a subpoena, but that requires a district attorney to launch a criminal investigation, or a private litigant with a legitimate interest to serve a subpoena. As to their general enforceability, I don’t see why an agreement by two people to stop badmouthing each other is any more problematic than most other agreements.

    1. I don’t think “agreement by two people to stop badmouthing each other” is in any way a reasonable way to describe what we’re talking about here.

    2. I see the worth in a confidentiality agreement but badmouthing is far from criminal behaviour such as sexual assault and rape. Especially in this age of extreme tabloid gossip, of course private lives should remain private – staff should be able to sell the day to day goings on.

      Weren’t many whistleblowers also under some sort of confidentiality agreement as well?

      1. NDAs about personal privacy are important, especially for celebs who have very little privacy in a media environment that is voracious for details about celebs’ private lives. A person wants to be able to live in his or her house and sit down with a half gallon of rocky road ice cream without it appearing in the National Enquirer, you know? Fans can be *very* intrusive.

    3. I’d like to try it and see what happens. I hate these open secrets of bad behavior and the subsequent chain of victimization. And the secrecy agreements encourage the possibility of legally sanctioned blackmail, to look at the issue from the point of view of the accused rather than the accuser.

      So I’d like to see what happens if courts stop enforcing these agreements. I’m not entirely sure of what set of agreements I’d take the courts out of — I’m generally not a fan of payoffs that involve silence, but maybe someone could convince that there are circumstances where they are of value.

      In the news this morning in our neck of the woods, was an attempt to make payments by an Atlantic salmon farm (which had an accidental release of Atlantic salmon into the Pacific) and the Lummi nation. The farm offered to pay the Lummi for catching the salmon, with a extra payment for not voicing opinions about the captive salmon farms. The Lummi turned down the offer (they still got paid for catching the released salmon, but not an extra payment for keeping their mouths shut).

      1. Why are agreements that involve waiving the right to speak publicly about something (generally in return for money) any more problematic than agreements that involve waiving the right to file a lawsuit over something (generally in return for money)? Those are both fundamental rights in any system of ordered liberty. And if agreements not to file a lawsuit were not enforceable, then no dispute could ever be settled; every case would have to be litigated to the bitter end.

      2. Because the restriction of speech is different from other restrictions. We could, as a society decide the limits to which the courts could be used to enforce agreements that limit speech. The parallel in my mind is Shelley v Kraemer and the decision against enforcing restrictive covenants in real estate deeds.

        I think there are gray areas, bt I also think we need to try something new.

      3. I agree with bj. I also think that plenty of agreements not to sue should be unenforceable. Pretty much any such agreement that requires “binding arbitration” by the customer of a large, monopolistic, quasi-monopolistic, or oligopolistic business should be disallowed. Pretending Bank of America or Equifax and myself sat down and agreed on such a clause is absurd.

  12. Speaking of the legal issues, Weinstein’s first move after the initial NYT story came out was to threaten to sue the NYT.

    Up to now, the legal strategy has worked really well for him.

  13. Back when I was a sweet young thing, I once took a media law class (SO HARD).

    As I recall, the US has very generous protections for media with regard to libel, even if the facts are wrong.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Co._v._Sullivan

    “The actual malice standard requires that the plaintiff in a defamation or libel case, if he or she is a public figure, prove that the publisher of the statement in question knew that the statement was false or acted in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity. Because of the extremely high burden of proof on the plaintiff, and the difficulty of proving the defendant’s knowledge and intentions, such claims by public figures rarely prevail.”

    We studied the Times v. Sullivan rules, but I didn’t realize until now that the original case had to do with civil rights. Apparently, up until Times v. Sullivan Southern states were fighting civil rights coverage with libel cases.

    “Before this decision, there were nearly US $300 million in libel actions from the Southern states outstanding against news organizations, as part of a focused effort by Southern officials to use defamation lawsuits as a means of preventing critical coverage of civil rights issues in out-of-state publications.”

  14. The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team has been focusing on sexual abuse in private schools over the past year or so. Reading the articles, it is clear that confidentiality agreements have made it easier for predators to continue their behavior in new schools.

    So far the stories that have made the press demonstrate that Weinstein had a set routine in his actions. It seems to me that his assistants must have known what was going on; if they did, they are also culpable, morally if not legally.

    I do not see the value of confidentiality agreements when they keep victims from speaking up about molestation. Given the high rates of re-offending on the part of abusers, it just gives the abusers cover.

    A billionaire who is a powerful producer, with a movie production company behind him, is a terrible threat. I do not blame individual victims for feeling that they could never prevail against the legal resources Weinstein had at his disposal.

    In my opinion, the advent of text, email and cell phones has tipped the balance toward the public being more likely to believe accusers. Much of the time, it is no longer “he said, she said,” and “oh yeah, well, young girls can be confused.” There is much more evidence, including sexts, of predatory behavior, recorded forever.

  15. y81,

    I have a law question for you.

    Is there a possibility that lawyers who help clients use civil means (threat of lawsuit against accusers) to avoid criminal prosecution are violating laws or professional codes of conduct?

    Also, does any of this stuff sound like it might rise to the level of criminal conspiracy?

    1. Maybe I am surrounded by too many lawyers (though I don’t think so), but I think in general lawyers refuse to answer questions like this on the internet, in the same way that if you posted a set of symptoms here it would be inappropriate for a doctor to diagnose you. There are way too many unknown variables that would be relevant to the decision making.

      I suspect there will be lawsuits, though, if there are recent cases.

      1. Bingo. I never heard of a prosecution like the one AmyP suggests, but tell me all the facts, let my analyze them, let me do some legal research–pay me for all of the above–and I would generate an answer.

      2. It’s help with tax evasion, not tax avoidance. The laws exist – it’s also partly a problem of having enough person power to investigate/audit various suspicious transactions.

        Tax avoidance? More power to you and then change the laws/rules to keep up with the how you want to influence society. Tax evasion? Unethical.

        And there’s an argument to be made that following the letter of the law/regulation while knowing full well that the spirit of said law is being violated or is outdated could have ethical issues.

    2. I have that question of lawyers and accountants here in Canada who are helping launder money via real estate transactions. Someone is helping foreign buyers navigate the system. For example, one of our wealthiest ‘hoods for real estate has the highest percentage of low income families (as in, not declaring income, etc).

      And to your point about criminal conspiracy – how IS this different (using confidentiality agreements to hide criminal activity like rape and sexual assault)?

      1. OK, “laundering money” is illegal. “Navigating the system” is not. I’m not really sure how the identities of low-income families would become known, but things may be different in Canada.

        To be clear, what is illegal, and what could certainly get a lawyer disbarred and maybe convicted, is helping someone launder money in violation of U.S. law. Helping Jews move money out of Nazi Germany, or Chinese move money out of China, is not necessarily a violation of U.S. law. (Probably not Canadian law either, but I don’t know.)

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