The whole Harvey Weinstein fiasco has been bad for Hollywood: the ripple effect seems inclined to rip the entire entertainment industry apart.
Through it all, however, we can trust BuzzFeed to keep things in perspective for us. In this case, the real problem seems to be Harvey Weinstein’s preference for assaulting white actresses.
The elephant in the room in discussions about the alleged crimes and misdemeanors of Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein looks eerily similar to an elephant of the past. It is the Race elephant. And among the allegations, the question of race is one that we are not really looking to engage with, because it is knotty and gnarly. But it bears talking about, because there are black women in Hollywood, and not talking about it does us all a disservice.
In Hollywood, where both racism and sexism are rampant, what can look like a sort of mitigated blessing ends up highlighting another insidious problem in (the societal microcosm that is) Hollywood: Black women do not often come up for the kind of prestigious high-profile and award-winning roles that a producer with Weinstein’s power could offer.
If we are to discern a general message about black women (and other women of color) from the product churned out by Hollywood, it is that they are not seen as leading role material, and that is intertwined with the idea that they are not desirable “trophies.” At the very least, their near-absence in starring roles suggests a deep disinterest. After all, dominating and “winning” a trophy depends on the idea that other people want to win it too. Repeatedly questioning Okonedo’s “fuckability” was a clear view into Weinstein’s mind, not just as a film producer but as a man. Looking at the list of women who have accused him of harassment and assault, it’s clear he was going after not only culture-certified “trophies” but also those he felt he could suppress or control. Their fuckability was the currency he wanted, regardless of their consent. It’s important to note whom Harvey Weinstein allegedly went after, and by extension, those he did not.
So, the problem is that Harvey Weinstein didn’t harass minorities? His crime is that he raped Asia Argento instead of Sophie Okonedo, whom a previous director wanted for the same role? That’s your takeaway?
Look, I’m not oblivious to Hollywood’s issues with race. I won’t say they’re real, but I won’t claim they’re not, either. I don’t delve into the seedy underbelly of the movie business often enough to know one way or the other. I will say that some damn good actors don’t seem to be working nearly as often as you would think, but that may also be my personal preference.
Yet to look at Harvey Weinstein’s alleged propensity for white women as somehow a negative for minority actresses is the most insane and bizarre argument I have yet to hear. If the allegations against him are true — even if we just talk about the ones he hasn’t specifically denied — he’s a scumbag human being. Why would you go from that to talking about racial issues?
This is it a pathetic attempt to beat the race drum at a time when attention is focused elsewhere.