October 15, 2017

By Anita Hill:

Media reporting of multiple sexual harassment and assault charges against Harvey Weinstein reads like pulp fiction. This might be a tale that Hollywood itself would turn into a blockbuster movie, if the movie industry cared to show the full horror of sexual harassment and assault.

In reality, though a tale full of boldface names and beautiful people might seem far away from most of our lives, this is really the story of everyday women. The lessons we learn from this – through the lens of an industry that craves publicity but loathes transparency – can and must be applied more broadly throughout American society.
 
Certainly there are ways in which the Weinstein scandal appears unique to the entertainment business. Charges of sexual extortion, sexual assault and rape deliberately concealed by some and ignored by others signal systemic failure that stems from a disregard for women. It would be naïve to think this bears no relationship to the particular ways this industry packages and profits off of female sexuality and limits women’s opportunities to direct and produce content. 

But the lessons we take from this tragedy have huge implications beyond the entertainment world. 

The full article can be accessed here.

Hill is a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University and a counsel to the Civil Rights & Employment practice at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll.