Last week I was talking with my best friend about this whole mess in Hollywood surrounding mega-producer (now mega-pariah) Harvey Weinstein. In the course of our conversations, I told her that I made a list of the movies that The Weinstein Company (TWC) made since it’s creation in 2005. I did so because I wanted to know how much I contributed to his wealth and, in turn, his power to do this shit to women. Thankfully, of the 14 TWC has made in the last 12 years, I’ve seen only six. By and large, they produce films I’m not all that interested in, save for these six. Oddly enough, though, there’s a theme in that grouping:
- Miss Potter
- The King’s Speech
- The Iron Lady
- Woman in Gold
Now I see, in addition to more women speaking out against Weinstein himself, there’s a general movement around the world are sharing their experiences of sexual assault with the hashtag or plain phrase of ‘Me too’. I admit I haven’t read any of these stories, so I don’t know what the criteria is for this ‘me too’ movement. I don’t know if what I’ve experienced can be considered assault or if it was just harassment.
Back in the late 90s, I had what I considered at the time to be a dream job. It was supposed to be a temporary thing, lasting only a few weeks and it ended up being a little over a year. I went to work at a local hospital in their IT department stationed at their help desk. I’ve always enjoyed helping people with computer problems even though I’ve never been certified so this job was right up my alley. The help desk was situated at one end of a big computer room where the mainframe of the hospital was located along with their copy centre. Everyone I worked with was very friendly and I often helped the woman who made copies of documents if I wasn’t busy. I don’t remember which holiday it was, but I found myself alone one day with a male co-worker who began making overtly sexual comments toward me. He never acted on anything he said, but it was startling to hear these words come out of his mouth since we’d had such a good brother/sister type relationship up to that day. I avoided him for weeks after, though I think in the end we were able to resume our friendship. I do know that if he had chosen to act on anything he was telling me, there’s not much I could’ve done. There were many doors between me and the outside world and I’m sure he could’ve tackled me to the ground had I run.
The next incident I had that might be considered harassment happened in 2005. I had been living in California, but my living arrangements had deteriorated and I wound up moving clear across country (big mistake!!) to live with a friend in South Carolina. She knew I’m gay and chose to never say anything when a young guy her daughter knew said that he could change my mind about preferring women. So whenever he was visiting, I stayed locked in my bedroom. I hate men who think they can change your mind rather than accepting who you are.
I feel that my experiences are minor in comparison to what someone like Harvey Weinstein has clearly done. I think we’ve always known of the “casting couch” mentality in Hollywood, but perhaps we’ve all thought it faded into the past. It might’ve happened a lot thirty or forty years ago with regularity and people turned a blind eye, but this is a new century with new ideals and it’s no longer acceptable. We will no longer turn a blind eye.