Weinstein is the tip of the iceberg

Katie Gallagher

As alleged rapist Harvey Weinstein is expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts Sciences the question remains of how deep this issue really goes. Is Weinstein just the tip of the iceberg? According to leading ladies in the production world, he is. The reason is clearly an imbalance of power.

Over 30 women have come forward with assault allegations by Weinstein in the past few weeks but no one has addressed the bigger picture quite like Emma Thompson.

“It’s a public health issue, this is not about one man’s crimes against women, this is about our systems imbalances, our systems gender crisis,” she said in an interview with BBC.

Thompson, who has refused to work with Weinstein, as well some of his male counterparts, explained that this kind of harassment and bullying has been part of women’s world since ‘time immemorial’. While the Academy’s decision to expel the ‘predator’ is symbolic it is so important and highly significant for women working in the industry and any other job sector that may be subject to the ‘crisis in masculinity’ that Thompson described.

For as long as women have been women, men in authority have continued to take advantage of the power their superior position gives them, concocting propositions for young women to carry out in order to move up in the career ladder.

When asked about women who ‘choose’ to play the game, Thompson highlighted the struggle that has always existed within that cycle. The people who choose to ‘play the game’ don’t actually choose at all, they think it is the only choice available, therefore it is not a choice for them, it’s a power struggle.

In their statement, the Academy said governors voted to expel Weinstein “not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of wilful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behaviour and workplace harassment in our industry is over”.

The real question is, will this merely be a case of calling out one person who is only at the top of a very tall ladder and resorting to turning a blind eye once again to the issue within the industry, as with the cases of Jimmy Saville and Bill Crosby.

Whether Weinstein goes to prison or not there will always be more out there just like him with the supposed authority to prey on young women within that field of work. Perhaps not to the extent of the prolific producer, but do they have to be as bad as him to be wrong?

“Does it only count if you really have done it to loads and loads and loads of women, or does it count if you’ve done it to one woman, once? I think the latter,” said Thompson.

The industry needs to extrapolate from this and get more women in this profession, and in any professions dominated by men in higher positions of power.


Katie Gallagher

Image by Fox