I have said a lot of stupid and offensive things in my life but none of them rise to the level of stupidity displayed by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein, twice married with 5 children and the producer of blockbuster movies (5 of which have won Oscars for best picture) can now lay claim to the dumbest pick up line ever spoken. He is reported to have asked Ashley Judd, “Do you want to watch me take a shower?”
A quick Google image search of Mr. Weinstein answers the question for all women (at least all of those not stricken with a pudgy fetish). No one would want to watch Harvey Weinstein take a shower. Ever.
Given the obviously disgusting nature of the question and the blatant sexual harassment it represents one is left to wonder why he would even ask it. What sort of man thinks it is appropriate or acceptable to ask women who work for him if they want to see him naked? Why would he think he could get away with such behavior? The answer seems to be that there were women who took him up on his offer, and that he did get away this behavior for over twenty years.
He was able to get away with it because he lives his life in a world without moral values, a world where money, power and fame are all that matters. In Mr. Weinstein’s world morality is about attending women’s marches, distributing movies about the victimization of women on college campuses (2015’s “The Hunting Ground”) and donating to the right political candidates. For him, morality seems to have very little to do with how he treats the actresses who work for him. He was too important to concern himself with the feelings of others.
While Weinstein’s pig-ness is unassailable, the fact he got away with it is also concerning. While the actresses who were victimized and harassed are not to blame for his behavior it is nonetheless sad that so many remained silent for so long. The danger of their careers being harmed should they speak out drove many to silence. Ms. Judd referenced this fear herself.
While these women are not to blame for the harassment the reality that their silence allowed it to continue cannot be ignored. In situations of abuse if we calculate the cost of making a stand, if there is a price we will not pay for our principles, bad will be inevitably allowed to continue. Values are either invaluable or worthless. Compromise is not an option.
This truth applies to every area of our lives. Every time we compromise our values, every time we say something is “Not that bad” and do things “a little wrong but not terrible”, every time we make excuses for our bad actions, every time we allow wrong to continue for financial or personal gain we follow the example of Harvey Weinstein. We become people without a moral compass.
I do not want to be like Harvey Weinstein. I cannot change the culture of Hollywood or influence what happens in the halls of power but I am not powerless. In my own circle of influence I can choose to treat people well, to make difficult and costly choices and to do the right thing, every time. I cannot change the world, but I can change my world.