The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hosts the Golden Globes, may have provided the rocket fuel for Oprah Winfrey for President in 2020. Her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award struck the perfect pose for the Hollywood establishment. It has seen itself as the uninterrupted social conscience of America for as long as it has made motion pictures.
That’s ridiculous. The pattern of sexual harassment allegations, and even rape allegations, uncovered by the media should overturn the entire concept of Hollywood lecturing anyone on the morality of any subject.
Winfrey drew rave reviews in the press for lauding the press. She said: “we all know that the press is under siege these days. But we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and injustice, to tyrants and victims and secrets and lies.”
It’s definitely true that The New York Times report on Harvey Weinstein began a great wave of uncovering sexual harassment in Hollywood. But the so-called “insatiable” press has been remarkably passive on this sexual-harassment front for decades. Sexual harassment in Hollywood is so prevalent it has its own name: the “casting couch.” The press knew this; it has known this for decades. Why did it wait until 2017 to say something?
Then, Winfrey pulled a rhetorical muscle by hailing the victims, saying, “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” But the fact that Weinstein and many other men have allegedly abused women with impunity for many years is not a personal truth. If true, it’s just the truth. When exposed, the alleged abusers put out statements that say the ugly acts were not “how they remembered” those occasions. Must everything in Tinseltown be morally relative? “Their truth” is a non sequitur.
Winfrey also insisted this sexual harassment is not “just a story affecting the entertainment industry.” Rather, “It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.” That’s slippery, an attempt to distract and diminish. This lecture should not distract the public from the sordid dishonesty of the Hollywood left, which sees itself as the cultural judge and jury of everyone else.
Then the truth came out.
The rapturous reception of Winfrey’s remarks was followed on social media by old pictures of her kissing Weinstein ... just as Golden Globes moralist Meryl Streep won the DeMille Award last year and lovingly described Weinstein as “God” before everyone knew what she could not help but know.
The same Hollywood moralists tweeting out their #MeToo messages have failed to budge on the matter of Roman Polanski, who pled guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house in 1977 and skipped out of the country rather than facing justice. Where was Hollywood then? Who lectured Polanski at the awards ceremonies?
In fact, in 2003, when Polanski won the Oscar for best director for “The Pianist,” a standing ovation ensued for the criminal on the lam ... and among those standing and clapping was that “moralist” Streep.
In 2009, Polanski was arrested in Switzerland for his crime, and a collection of marquee Hollywood names signed petitions of protest. One of the petition circulators was a powerful man named Harvey Weinstein. Nothing came of the arrest ... except the eruption of another episode of Hollywood’s amorality.
The tsunami of hype for Winfrey’s preaching shouldn’t wash away an industry’s culpability for the sexual abuse of women — and even children — seeking fame and fortune. That reckoning has only just begun.