PIERS MORGAN: Hollywood’s hypocritical horror over Harvey

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By Piers Morgan for MailOnline

Published: 08:16 EDT, 11 October 2017 | Updated: 09:16 EDT, 11 October 2017

I spoke to Harvey Weinstein on Monday night.

'Harvey…how's your life?' I asked, winning myself the Most Stupid Question of the Year Award.

He sighed loudly, paused for a second or two, then chuckled, wryly.

'My life? It's really not that great right now to be honest, Piers…'

At the time, he was still fighting to save his movie mogul career, and his marriage, after the New York Times bombshell report disclosing he had paid off eight women for sexual harassment.

I spoke to Harvey Weinstein Monday night, and he sighed that his life was 'not that great right now' before abruptly hanging up 
I spoke to Harvey Weinstein Monday night, and he sighed that his life was 'not that great right now' before abruptly hanging up 

I spoke to Harvey Weinstein Monday night, and he sighed that his life was 'not that great right now' before abruptly hanging up 

Weinstein asked to go off-the-record, and we talked for another minute or so before I heard urgent mutterings and he suddenly said: 'I have to go….this is a very important call… I'm sorry… I'll call you straight back.'

He didn't call back.

Within 24 hours, a blizzard of horrific new revelations erupted in the New York Times and New Yorker magazine featuring fresh allegations against Weinstein from myriad famous and non-famous women of rape, sexual assault and harassment.

Perhaps that 'very important call' was from one of those publications, or his lawyer, who knows?

It doesn't really matter now.

As I write this, Harvey Weinstein's career is gone, his marriage is gone, and his reputation as one of the greatest, and most successful, power brokers in Hollywood history is gone too.

Fired by his own company, and dumped by his wife Georgina, beleaguered Weinstein has escaped to a sex addiction clinic somewhere in Europe.

It's a staggering fall from grace, even by the brutal standards of Hollywood.

Yet it's a fall that deserves not a scintilla of sympathy, given the scale of his appalling behaviour.

I've known Weinstein for a decade.

He's an unquestionably brilliant movie producer – his films have generated over 300 Oscar nominations - and a very smart, charismatic guy.

I've only ever seen the best side of Harvey: the fast-talking, quick-witted, pugnacious, determined and driven side with a genuinely passionate love for film.

I've always got on very well with him and enjoyed his company, and hope he gets the treatment he clearly needs. 

But now we've seen another side exposed, one that's made very grim reading: that of a ruthless, selfish, bullying, misogynist prone to harassing women into trading sexual favours for movie roles.

We've also heard the tape - that shocking minute-long wire-tapped audio of him terrorizing a young, frightened actress outside his New York hotel room, a woman he admits to having groped the day before.

You can't hear it without feeling utterly repulsed.

Nor can you hear it without now believing every word all his other accusers are saying.

As Weinstein himself admitted: 'I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain.'

Yes, it has.

And I applaud the courageous women who first came forward last week to lift the lid off Weinstein's decades of depravity when he was still in a position of great power to make or break their careers.

But this scandal goes much further and murkier than just Harvey Weinstein.

It goes right to the heart of Hollywood's sickening deceit and hypocrisy.

Take his great friend Meryl Streep, for example; the woman who called Weinstein 'God' at an awards ceremony.

This scandal goes much further and murkier than just Harvey Weinstein. Take his great friend Meryl Streep,  who called Weinstein ¿God¿ at an awards ceremony. Streep, eventually, after four days of silence, described the revelations as ¿disgraceful¿ 
This scandal goes much further and murkier than just Harvey Weinstein. Take his great friend Meryl Streep,  who called Weinstein ¿God¿ at an awards ceremony. Streep, eventually, after four days of silence, described the revelations as ¿disgraceful¿ 

This scandal goes much further and murkier than just Harvey Weinstein. Take his great friend Meryl Streep, who called Weinstein 'God' at an awards ceremony. Streep, eventually, after four days of silence, described the revelations as 'disgraceful' 

Streep, eventually, after four days of silence, described the revelations as 'disgraceful' and said they 'appalled those of us whose work he championed.'

Then she insisted: 'One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew. I didn't know about these offenses. I did not know about his settlements with actresses and colleagues. I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts.'

She ended by saying: 'The behavior is inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar. Each brave word that is raised, heard and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game.'

Fine words, but how exactly do they sit with Streep's public displays of support for another notorious Hollywood sex abuser – Roman Polanski?

In 2003, Polanski won Best Director at the Oscars for The Pianist.

When Harrison Ford announced his name, the audience – comprising all the great and good of the movie business - burst into prolonged loud clapping and cheering.

Leading the applause was Meryl Streep, who sprang to her feet to give Polanski a standing ovation.

In 2003, Polanski won Best Director at the Oscars for The Pianist. When Harrison Ford announced his name, the audience burst into prolonged loud clapping and cheering while Meryl Streep sprang to her feet to give Polanski a standing ovation
In 2003, Polanski won Best Director at the Oscars for The Pianist. When Harrison Ford announced his name, the audience burst into prolonged loud clapping and cheering while Meryl Streep sprang to her feet to give Polanski a standing ovation

In 2003, Polanski won Best Director at the Oscars for The Pianist. When Harrison Ford announced his name, the audience burst into prolonged loud clapping and cheering while Meryl Streep sprang to her feet to give Polanski a standing ovation

It is worth reminding ourselves about why Polanski was not himself able to receive the award in person.

In March, 1977, the director was arrested and charged in Los Angeles with five offenses against Samantha Gailey, a 13-year-old girl: rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor.

Polanski, then 43, did a deal with prosecutors in which he pled guilty to a charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.

He thought he was going to get off with probation, but then heard rumours he would more likely face lengthy imprisonment - so Polanski fled the country to France, hours before he was due to be sentenced.

He has never returned, and has avoided visiting any countries since that may extradite him back to the USA.

Samantha testified that when she was 13, Polanski plied her with champagne, took topless photos of her, gave her part of a quaalude, performed oral, vaginal and anal sex upon her, each time being told 'No' and being asked to stop

It is important to recount exactly what Polanski did to that 13-year-old girl:

He plied her with champagne, took topless photos of her, and then asked her to lie down on a bed.

'It got a little scary,' Samantha said decades later. 'I realised he had other intentions and I knew I was not where I should be. I just didn't know how to get myself out of there. I said, 'No, no. I don't want to go in there. No, I don't want to do this. No!' I didn't know what else to do. We were alone and I didn't know what else would happen if I made a scene. So I was just scared and after some resistance, I figured well, I guess I'll get to come home after this.'

Samantha testified that Polanski gave her part of a quaalude drug, and despite her protests, he performed oral, vaginal and anal sex upon her, each time being told 'No' and being asked to stop.

Now, you might think that moralistic Hollywood would have revolted against this sickening fugitive child rapist.

This is the same Hollywood, after all, that led the global outrage against Donald Trump when a tape emerged of him talking in a lewd, disgraceful manner about how his celebrity status enabled him to grab women 'by the p***y.'

Meryl Streep was almost as shocked and offended by Trump's behaviour as she now says she is by her great friend Weinstein's.

Within days, she appeared in a video called 'Not Okay' that challenged Trump's characterization of his comments as 'locker room talk'.

The video, paid for by independent Hillary Clinton campaign fund-raising group 'Humanity for Hillary', began with powerful evocative testimonials from women and teenagers who had experienced groping and sexual harassment, intercut with the Access Hollywood video featuring Trump's lewd boasts.

It ended with a series of famous women, including Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Gyllenhall and Amy Schumer, giving their own response.

'Not Okay,' said Meryl Streep, shaking her head.

It was a strong public statement from Hollywood's most successful female star that sexual harassment from rich, powerful men was unacceptable.

At the Golden Globes in January 2017, Streep said of Trump: 'This instinct to humiliate, when it's modelled by someone in the public platform, it filters down into everybody's life, because it kind of gives permission to other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.'

The same Meryl who applauded Polanski railed against Trump when accepting her Lifetime Achievement award at this year's Golden Globes
The same Meryl who applauded Polanski railed against Trump when accepting her Lifetime Achievement award at this year's Golden Globes

The same Meryl who applauded Polanski railed against Trump when accepting her Lifetime Achievement award at this year's Golden Globes

A month later, she attacked the now President again: 'Evil prospers when good men do nothing…ain't that the truth.'

Yes, it is, Meryl.

But it thus beggars the question: why, then, did you give a standing ovation to Roman Polanski, when you KNEW every single sordid little detail of how he had raped a child?

Why, when asked about him at a press conference, did you say: 'Roman Polanski? I'm very sorry that he's in jail.'

Why have you never said a public word of criticism about a man who used his powerful position to bully and sexually abuse a young girl? This despite three more women alleging he assaulted them: British actress Charlotte Lewis claimed Polanski forced himself on her just after her 16th birthday in 1983. Another woman identified only as Robin claimed she was 'sexually victimised' by Polanski in 1973 when she was 16. And only this week, a German woman claimed that Polanski raped her too in 1972 when she was 15.

The truth is that Harvey Weinstein was able to get away with what he did for so long because Hollywood, led by two-faced Ms Streep, doesn't really give a damn about powerful men abusing young women.

That's why they cheer Polanski and still finance and star in his movies.

Hollywood doesn¿t really give a damn about powerful men abusing young women.  Woody Allen is feted as a beloved genius  after marrying his own adopted daughter
Hollywood doesn¿t really give a damn about powerful men abusing young women.  Woody Allen is feted as a beloved genius  after marrying his own adopted daughter

Hollywood doesn't really give a damn about powerful men abusing young women. Woody Allen is feted as a beloved genius  after marrying his own adopted daughter

Casey Affleck was given the Oscar for Best Actor at this year's Oscars despite settling sexual harassment cases with two female work colleagues
Casey Affleck was given the Oscar for Best Actor at this year's Oscars despite settling sexual harassment cases with two female work colleagues

Casey Affleck was given the Oscar for Best Actor at this year's Oscars despite settling sexual harassment cases with two female work colleagues

That's why Woody Allen is feted as a beloved genius despite running off with his own adopted daughter.

And it's why Casey Affleck was given the Oscar for Best Actor at this year's Oscars despite settling sexual harassment cases with two female work colleagues, cinematographer Magdalena Gorka and producer Amanda White, who accused him of bragging of his sexual exploits, propositioning and grabbing White, sliding into Gorka's bed uninvited and instructing a crew member to display his penis.

Harvey Weinstein has witnessed all this at first hand, and doubtless calculated that nobody in his town, and his industry, really cares about sexual harassment or abuse.

In fact, they reward, applaud and enrich people for it.

And the really dreadful part of this horrendous saga is that until now, he was right. 

 

Larry White
By Larry White 11/10/2017 09:16:00