Since ripping open 10 days ago by the New York Times, the Harvey Weinstein scandal has dizzyingly picked up speed, with new actresses and industry professionals coming forward seemingly by the minute. It was silence when the story first broke. Such a deafening silence that some, like no F’s given chef traveler Anthony Bourdain called it cowardice for those high profilers not immediately speaking out against Weinstein. Two days after the story broke, and other than Rose McGowan and one or two others (plus the bold brass ladies strong enough to come out in the Times, it was crickets in Hollywood.
Where’s the loud, vocal support for these women? Mostly a shameful silence https://t.co/vWc63nd7bU
— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) October 7, 2017
But now, it seems the few strong voices gave that much needed strength to inspire his other victims to come forward. And are there many. Are there bandwagoners? Perhaps. But the sheer volume of Hollywood elite women stepping forward to talk about something incredibly humiliating (like standing there slack-jawed while this oaf masturbates right in front of you out of nowhere, cornered away from others at a party, or when you arrive to discuss a script and find him in his bathrobe and he again, corners you, pressures you, makes it a go/no-go career situation, and then systematically keep you quiet by threatening to blacklist you and humiliate you further), is telling. As of this morning, my count is 36 women, including high profilers like Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale, and Ashley Judd who have all stepped forward, alleging acts of sexual harassment to full on rape.
And the stories are disturbing. The only real grace that I can think of in this situation so far (other than the united front that is coming out from the victims) is the reaction from the Motion Picture Academy and the movie and television studio he co-founded, the Weinstein Company. Both ousted him.
But who are we forgetting to talk about as a victim here? The news and tabloids have covered how Weinstein’s “disgraced” wife Georgina Chapman (co-founder of fashion label Marchesa) is leaving him. And um, excuse me?! Can we just take a moment here. No seriously.
LET’S. TAKE. A. MOMENT. Look at her. Gorgeous. Incredible designer. Successful. Poised.
Now let’s take a look at the man who has her on his arm. The man she’s married to. Mr. Weinstein.
How is this guy not completely appreciative and grateful for the absolute TEN on his arm? This man right here is apparently the face of the “power players” brought up in the 70’s – 90’s who thought if they had the power and the money, it didn’t matter what they had at home, they could use, manipulate, and take. Why? Because they had power. They held the keys to opportunity and held it over people, and in Mr. Weinstein’s case, it looks like he used it to get sexual pleasure. Forced or coerced. All the accounts of coercion read the same story of big executive expecting quid pro quo sexual behavior for green lighting projects, getting parts, or simply the hint of staying off the blacklist.
Weinstein and Chapman were married in 2007 – a decade of this behavior (though many of the accounts seemed to have happened in the 90’s). But he was also married previously for quite some time. His first wife was his assistant Eve Chilton, who remained with Weinstein from 1987 until they divorced until 2004. And they had three children together, the youngest now 15 – definitely old enough to be caught up in incredible humiliation amongst her peers and on social media in this scandal. So not only was Weinstein an alleged sexual predator to actresses and industry professionals, he was also apparently a serial cheater. And while most often you’re innocent until proven guilty, the number of women in this case speaks volumes.
Eve Chilton has since moved on, remarrying and moving to the suburbs where she and her husband blended their family. Now, with this scandal opening wide up, the stories come out by women who bravely come forward with allegations of harassment, abuse, rape….with dates falling during the time that Eve was married to him. Will this be a shock to her? Perhaps not. We don’t know the terms of the very private divorce. But regardless of whether she knew, whether she just had a feeling, or whether this is all just a bombshell exploding years too late, the impact and fallout will be felt personally, socially, and professionally.
There are already questions of whether Chapman’s label Marchesa will survive. And at first hearing this, I was appalled at the luxury buying community. But upon digging in further it became clear that Harvey had a heavy hand in that as well. Harvey had a heavy footing in the fashion business (that is until she left him), bridging his wife’s brand into the film world by requiring actresses walking red carpets for Weinstein Company films to wear at least one Marchesa gown per film. A fashion executive corroborates this story with The New York Post that apparently Weinstein pushed the Marchesa brand in Hollywood red carpet events for stars in his labels movies – “and now actresses won’t touch it.” In return, his demands from the Marchesa team were apparently high, and sometimes abrasive.
Yeah, ok I get it, film industry. You want to break free from anything that was Harvey Weinstein. But that’s not HIS brand. It’s his other victim’s brand. Who is divorcing him now after this bomb has dropped on her followed by an excruciating, humiliating, and slow water torture. You know, that woman over there like yourself who is caught up in a humiliating scandal who deserves a little grace right now? Never been there? Well, cross your fingers and make sure your house isn’t made of glass.
While Anna Wintour and Lauren Santo Domingo, founder of Moda Operandi have spoken up in support of Chapman, most in the fashion industry as well as the film industry have remained silent about Chapman when asked. So it seems at worst turned their back on her and are intentionally burning her business, and at best, going silent and watching her drown.
And let’s compare this to, say the victim of a bombing. Or a terrorist act. Or a random act of violence. Or more comparable: a domestic abuse victim. When we find out that someone has had something traumatizing happen to them that suddenly upends their life in a horrible way, we don’t punish them. We don’t kick them when they’re down. We band together, and we make things go viral on social media, we raise money or start supporting their cause because we want to help.
So why here, when we see the wife of the predator suddenly have her life spinning out of control do we spit on her and take bets on if and how fast her brand is going to fail? Or wonder how long she knew? Are we questioning the other victims with why they didn’t come forward before now? No. We’re not. We understand, hopefully, the terrible anguish, shame, trauma, complications, and societal issues – like this! – that come with that. Or wondering if she knew at all? Judging her for not knowing? High horses can be checked at the door.
Are we that much of a two-faced culture that we’ll band together to “support” the victims that he aggressed, but we won’t simply continue business as usual with his other victim – his wife? Business as usual isn’t even supportive – that’s a neutral position. So people are willing to praise the people brave enough to come forward and tell their story, but they don’t want to continue buying the clothes of the victim who now has to deal with very public humiliation, this pain of realizing her marriage was nothing she thought it was, and oh by the way, you may want to go get checked.
And apparently staffers are already bolting out of the fashion house – way to have your girl’s back. Hey Georgina, listen. I’m not a Parson’s grad, but I’ve got an MSPM, some major fashion edit eyes, and I’m loyal as hell. Consider this my resume.
And consider this company on the wrong side of history. Helzberg Diamonds pulled the 18-piece “Marchesa Radiant Star” collection that had been scheduled to hit stores later this month because of the scandal. Blacklisted. Don’t kick a girl when she’s down because she didn’t do this. He did. How does it make any sense to blame the wife for the husband’s rape? Eh, Helzberg?
While all this feminine strength, standing up for one another, and finally being woke is amazing…it is excluding one, maybe two victims as well as their children who have to watch all of this play out in the public, in the tabloids, on social media, and as a result amplified in their communities. Have a little grace for these two.
Hey fashion industry. Stand behind this woman too.