More than 50 women have come forward thus far accusing movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, and more allegations keep coming in all the time. The former studio executive and director of multiple well-known motion pictures has consequently been dropped from several lucrative partnerships and organizations, such as the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences. Multiple police agencies, including the LAPD and the NYPD, are now investigating the allegations against him.
This has had far-reaching fallout, with other executives such as Roy Price from Amazon Film Studios being pushed out, following allegations from another film producer within the organization, Isa Hackett. Isa had apparently reported the allegations immediately and Amazon hired an investigator to look into the accusations. However, there was almost no media visibility and no further attention was brought to it from any authorities after that. This all happened in July of 2015, more than two years after Amazon pushed out Roy Price.
The reason it’s taken such a long time for anyone to come forward, or at least in large numbers, is due to the immense pull many of the executives have in Hollywood. Roy Price is the son of Frank Price, a former executive of Columbia Pictures, and Roy’s grandfather also was a prominent film producer in his time. Harvey Weinstein, of course, owned The Weinstein Company, a prominent film production company, and has a tremendous amount of influence in Hollywood. Any allegations against one of these powerful individuals could have drastic consequences, such as prohibiting the actress from starring in any big box office films. This leaves any aspiring actress with a difficult choice: either let people know and risk no one listening, killing your career or stay silent and suffer the consequences.
Unfortunately, this conduct has been very common in Hollywood, due to an idea that Hollywood secrets must stay in Hollywood. As long as no one makes a fuss, no harm is done. According to Judd Apatow, a producer and director in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein's misconduct was no secret. “Everyone knew, just as they know about other high-profile people with power in the industry who get away with the exact same things,” he says.
However, this time might be different. As more and more allegations against high profile individuals within Hollywood are being leveled, the movie industry is undergoing a small crisis. Netflix, for example, announced that it would be ending its highly popular series House of Cards, where actor Kevin Spacey has a lead role, shortly after he admitted to acting inappropriately against another actor. Amazon now has a potential PR problem on their hands with the departure of Roy Price, and bad press is something the upstart film studio cannot have if it’s to have successful future.
As these incidents grow for film studios and Hollywood in general, those in charge of companies that have a lot of money tied up getting good press for their movies or shows have a decision to make. Some studios may come to the conclusion that having potentially toxic actors or producers is too much to risk, and start taking action to ensure that those of higher prominence don’t take advantage of their position in the future. If they don’t, Hollywood risks losing what ultimately drives ticket sales: us as movie-goers.
Jesse Shoghi is a junior studying computing.