This past week, The New York Times published an expose on decades of sexual harassment claims and settlements against Harvey Weinstein. Following the expose, I found the courage to share some of my own story of dealing with Harvey’s aggressive advances. And I was joined by even more women who came forward to reveal more despicable behavior. Over the weekend, a third of his board resigned, with the remaining members firing Harvey on Sunday.
It is clear that his behavior was not just widespread, but also well documented. It’s clear that there were many who knew but who did not stand with the victims. It was an “open secret.”
But just as the burden fell on women to come forward about Harvey’s behavior, there has been an enormous amount of pressure on the women of Hollywood to come forward in the aftermath. Instead, I ask that we focus on the silence of the men of Hollywood. The silence of those who were not directly affected. The silence of those―who because of the insidious cultural norms that we try to break down every day at The Representation Project―would have had more sway and more influence had they spoken up to begin with―the silence of men.
We need more men in power to break the code of silence and stand up for what is right and what is just. We need more powerful men who understand their place of privilege in the public eye and use it to defend and protect and support those who speak the truth. Not when it’s popular, not when it’s safe, not when it’s low stakes―but when it isn’t.
To that end, let’s call on The Weinstein Company’s board members, their c-suite, their lawyers, A-list actors, studio heads, agents, and more to #StandWithWomen and never let this happen again. Let’s tell the women who have spoken out that we are with them.
Together, we can create a world where there are enough of us standing proudly and loudly for what is right that the injustices do not happen in the first place. It’s up to ALL of us to make it happen. I know we can.
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Jennifer Siebel Newsom & The Representation Project Team