Intensifying the growing outrage aimed at Harvey Weinstein, a feature-length report published by The New Yorker on Tuesday includes accusations by three women who say the famous and politically powerful Hollywood producer "raped them."
Detailed in the article—written by Ronan Farrow and entitled "From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein's Accusers Tell Their Stories"—are the allegations that "include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex" on his victims.
While a spokesperson for Weinstein released a statement to The New Yorker saying that "any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied," Farrow reports that while rumors of the producer's behavior circulated for years in Hollywood, "[t]oo few women were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories."
Part of the latest revelations include an audio clip, recorded as part of a 2015 sting operation carried out by the New York Police Department, in which Weinstein admits groping Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez:
The bombshell allegations hit as the dominant media narratives on the allegations against Weinstein continue to largely split along ideological and partisan lines—with those on the right accusing Democrats who received campaign dollars from the wealthy and politically liberal producer as hypocrites for not condemning his behavior and those in Democratic circles equating his behavior with the sexual predation exemplified by President Donald Trump and other men in positions of power.
Writing for The New Republic on Tuesday, journalist Sarah Jones observes how the revelations about Weinstein help expose the "superficial politics" of Hollywood and the failure of those who refused to speak out when they had the power to do so:
The industry’s glacial response to Weinstein reinforces a conclusion many observers had already reached: In its superficiality and cowardice, Hollywood often manifests liberalism’s most pathetic flaws. Harvey Weinstein made people famous, which means he made them rich; this is how one purchases indifference. He is of a type, even. People still work with Woody Allen and defend Roman Polanski and joke about casting couches, as if they're humorous and not proof of industry-wide moral impunity. Hollywood's progressive reputation is mostly unearned, undermined by its overarching commitment to profit. There are more Weinsteins—there are always Weinsteins, in film and in every other industry—and people are probably protecting them, even as they watch this latest scandal unfurl.
The only way to change anything is to make sure there is nowhere for the Weinsteins to hide. Some friendships should be ended; some professional relationships broken. If you hear rumors for years, you have an obligation to react. At least try to uncover the truth, or admit your own complicity when somebody else does.
As University of New Hampshire professor Seth Abramson put it:
Somebody tell Hollywood's many silent Weinstein bystanders there's no courage in speaking against him now—the time for courage was long ago.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) October 10, 2017
And while the new allegations of rape place Weinstein's behavior well beyond the bounds of what has been downplayed by some, it is the larger focus on the prevalence of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances, not just in Hollywood but across many industries in society, that have fueled intense conversations since the New York Times broke the story of his misconduct—and his efforts to keep it quiet—late last week.