The Heavy Winestain saga is one describing a nasty bully, who is a famous, rich and successful movie producer. On 5 October 2017, the New York Times published a story detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment. More than 90 women including leading actresses and people of great talent and influence, have made accusations of sexual harassment, assault or rape; reports go back as far as the 70’s.
The frenzied reaction has been incredible: after conviction by the media, despite protestations of consensual participation, he was pilloried. Vengeance has been sanctified and the lynch mob been swift and savage:
- Without benefit of trial he has been condemned, castigated, ostracised;
- had all his honours and awards withdrawn and
- the man and his company and other organisations with whom he worked have been slapped with claims for $ millions in damages.
In a snowballing reaction many women and some men who allege unwelcome propositions or harassment by other men, have raised their voices saying #MeToo! More people have had their careers and reputations shattered by lynch mobs with untested allegations.
The outrage has been so holy that women have been castigated for expressing some hesitation over condemnation on the basis of mere allegations of ancient conduct.
It seems that the principles of justice like due process and the statutes of limitations are not applicable.
Winestain was someone who could grant access to stardom: he must have been besieged by many people willing to give their all for a break … one has heard about the casting couch after all.
A number of women said NO! to unwanted advances and nothing happened. Some women suffered more than one instance of unwanted attention – why did they expose themselves to that risk again? … and why the delay in reporting…? why were they there in the first place….?
Would it be that they didn’t get what they wanted after they kissed the frog a second time?
He has never been criminally charged for crimes of a sexual nature. Even Saddam Hussein had a trial!
Don’t get me wrong: I deplore the abuse of power in order to achieve personal advantage – I also hate bullies. But I get very suspicious when I hear that over 90 intelligent, talented people were cowards – I smell more than one rat. It seems bullying begets bullying!
In all of your life there are are going to be some people bigger or stronger, richer or more powerful, or cleverer and meaner than you.
How do you survive?
- Avoidance is a good idea;
- so is shouting No! leave me alone!
- a slap in the face or a kick in the nuts can be deterrent,
- walking away and calling for help;
- reporting and drawing attention are all clever things to do… or
- … you could trade for something he wants…. (just make sure you get before you give!)
The main thing is, be clever about it: tell others, warn them and stand by them in their time of need, make a noise, shine a light … run fast!