Reading the Daily Mail yesterday, it would be easy to forget it was a man who has been accused of sexual assault (and as of last night, rape). “The A-listers we’re yet to hear from…” read their headline atop a double page spread of famous women, all pictured with Harvey Weinstein.
The paper has continued its crusade against the Hollywood women who are yet to speak out on the Weinstein allegations today, with another picture research deluge. Twenty two high profile women are photographed, “cuddling up to Harvey”, and as the Mail points out, the pictures likely make “uncomfortable viewing” for the women. All the actresses (and Hillary Clinton) are smiling, some are hugging Weinstein – an action that the Mail takes as complicity, or even support.
Rose McGowan, who was paid a $100,000 settlement fee by Weinstein to “avoid litigation and buy peace”, tweeted a link to the Huffington Post coverage of her story. The website had used a picture showing McGowan sandwiched between Weinstein and her then-boyfriend. “This fucking picture is so traumatic,” she wrote alongside it.
Maybe some of them *did* know. Maybe some of them knew all too well what he was capable of
In criminal cases, victims of rape and sexual assault are afforded anonymity and given the option to give evidence behind a screen, or via video link. This is so they are not re-traumatised by having to stare their abuser in the eye, remembering what happened in minute detail. How do these women feel when they see themselves in a paper, stood next to the man who intimidated and pressured some of them into sexual acts?
The spread in today’s Mail attempts to further the idea that Hollywood women are responsible for letting this happen. Presumably readers are meant to ask themselves, “they must have known, why haven’t they said anything?” And maybe some of them *did* know. Maybe some of them knew all too well what he was capable of – Weinstein is a powerful man, who can make or break careers. Do you instantly recognise the name Asia Argento? Unlikely, but you know Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicole Kidman – all women who are included in the Mail’s round up.
We don’t know whether any of these women experienced Weinstein’s true character, but the question of what went on away from the red carpet hangs in the air. Have these women paid for their careers with their silence? If so, these pictures surely will make for uncomfortable viewing, but not for the reasons the Daily Mail wants you to think.