Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Was Weinstein treated better than Spacey because his accusers were women?

Jerry Stratton, November 7, 2017

Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey

“Hey, I’ve got something to show you.”

I recently saw this complaint about how the accusations against Kevin Spacey were handled vs. the accusations against Harvey Weinstein:

Interesting how one man accuses Kevin Spacey and immediately everyone believes him, and takes KS’s TV show away, and decries what a terrible asshole he is—and all of that happens in a DAY

Meanwhile dozens of women had to accuse Cosby or Weinstein over the course of decades before anyone took notice

And dozens of women have accused Trump and he’s the GD MFing president

WHAT IF WE BELIEVED WOMEN LIKE THAT, EH?

This is making an unwarranted assumption: the writer is assuming that Kevin Spacey has not been accused before and has not had those accusations covered up and/or ignored just as the accusations against Weinstein were. This assumption is wrong. Just as the Weinstein deluge came only after one accusation finally made it through Hollywood’s protective shield, the same is happening to Spacey. Kevin Spacey has been at the center of rumors for years, just as Weinstein was; possibly even worse rumors than Weinstein, involving underage orgy after-parties. The history of accusations against Spacey is very similar to the history of accusations against Weinstein, but with men instead of women and sex parties instead of workplace harassment. The culture of deception is the same one that protected Weinstein.

The first I heard Spacey’s name in connection with sexual harassment was back in 2014 when Bryan Singer was accused—by a man—of sexual harassment. That accusation hasn’t affected Singer’s standing in Hollywood either, at least not over the long term.

The media didn’t cover Spacey’s involvement, but it appeared to be well-known—if you paid attention to the comments on Hollywood blogs and news sites. And IMDB, for that matter. The reason Spacey got caught this time, in my opinion, is precisely because Weinstein got caught first. It would have been hard for Hollywood to sweep the Spacey allegations under the rug while at the same time trying to defend itself against the accusations that Hollywood culture not just ignored but defended Weinstein.1

Had these allegations occurred in the opposite order, Spacey’s would still have been swept under the rug as similar allegations have in the past; there is nothing in this man’s allegations to overcome Hollywood’s shield. This is not a case of men being believed more often than women. It’s a case of a probably temporary lifting of the curtain in Hollywood to see the Hollywood culture of deception.

It’s easy to see why Megan Dietz thought the Spacey accusations came out of nowhere, and it ties right back into the culture of Hollywood. Look at the news stories about Spacey: none of them mention any previous history. They’re still trying to cover up and pretend that this is a temporary, minor problem.

Protecting future women and men from this kind of abuse, will require addressing the culture that allows it, not diverting attention away from that culture and pretending it’s a universal gender problem. If we don’t hold the entertainment industry accountable, we will let them off the hook again; in another year not only will others in the industry feel that they can get away with abusive and even criminal behavior, but Weinstein and Spacey will also. Weinstein will be back producing, and Spacey will once again be a sought-after celebrity.

And this is more important than just entertainment. There is, after all, another culture in the United States that is just as bad as the entertainment industry when it comes to sexual harassment and even assault against women and men: Washington, DC.

I used to live in San Diego, where a DC transplant became mayor. Former congressman Bob Filner thought he could get away with the same kind of harassment in San Diego that he got away with for over a decade in Congress. Filner was in the House from 1991 to 2012 and never got caught. Actually, that’s not quite true. He got caught, but nobody pressed charges and the party machinery figured that was good enough. He very quickly discovered, however, that San Diego is not Washington, but not before first getting a lot of help from the national media, who either refused to report on it or, when they did, drew attention away from Filner’s status as a DC politician.

If you look at what Filner did to try to avoid responsibility after getting caught, it looks almost exactly like what Weinstein thought would get him out of trouble. Going to a sex rehab facility and leaving early, for example.2

And look at how hard it was to get the authorities and other politicians interested in the charges against congressman Anthony Weiner. If it hadn’t been for rogue journalist Andrew Breitbart, Weiner’s crimes would have been ignored as well, despite being out in the open.

Weinstein and Spacey are not isolated incidents, nor is their behavior anything new, except that in this case they were both caught and face at least temporary repercussions. Far worse accusations—even proven ones—do not normally harm a celebrity’s standing in Hollywood. Roman Polanski drugged and raped a thirteen-year-old in 1977 and then fled the country. Prominent Hollywood personalities have ever since tried to downplay his crime as “a little mistake”, most famously when Whoopi Goldberg said “it wasn’t rape-rape” when Polanski drugged and then anally raped his thirteen-year-old victim. Most tellingly she also argued that some cultures see what he did differently than his persecutors. Polanski has continued to receive awards from Hollywood organizations and continues to receive praise from celebrities, who go out of their way to travel overseas and work with him.

Washington is the same way. Senator Ted Kennedy was lionized by the DC elite, both politicians and journalists, throughout his life and after his death, despite very credible allegations about his behavior toward women. Even those journalists who believed that he left Mary Jo Kopechne to drown at Chappaquiddick praised him despite his behavior, during his life as well as after he died. So did his colleagues, even his opponents who might be expected to use his behavior against him.

Bill Clinton remains a star Democrat despite credible allegations of sexual harassment and rape.

The DC culture is that all of us who are not insiders are marks to be fooled. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hollywood views us the same way. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both cultures rely on deception to be successful. The cultures of Hollywood and DC are interconnected. Just do a search on Jeffrey Epstein——convicted of sex with minors as young as 14—to see high-profile politicians (such as Bill Clinton and, though he wasn’t a politician at the time, Donald Trump) and high-profile celebrities (such as… Kevin Spacey) as part of Epstein’s circle of friends.

And while I can’t think of cases similar to Kennedy’s and Polanski’s involving male actors or politicians with young boys, this is less because we believe women more than men, but that we are far more lenient about men having sex with underage males. That’s why Kevin Spacey tried to pull the ham-handed “but I’m gay, too” card. He expected from past uses of the ploy that it would work. That was one of the ways Senator Barney Frank got out of trouble in the eighties.

There’s an old saying that some politicians can’t be brought down except by a live boy or a dead girl, but in fact even live (call) boys/pimps are tolerated in DC. Senator Barney Frank ran or allowed someone else to run a gay prostitution ring out of his apartment. Senator Frank was mostly exonerated in the DC press and by his colleagues in DC, his male accuser disbelieved. Frank had merely exhibited “poor judgment”. His excuse that “I was emotionally vulnerable… I was still coming to terms with being gay…” was taken at face value.

The other tactic he used successfully was threatening to expose other politicians. The DC press not only didn’t see anything weird about that, they also didn’t investigate. In other words, everyone knew. And just let it remain part of the culture.

Changing both the entertainment and DC cultures will mean reversing the tendency toward a political and entertainment aristocracy.

There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob. — G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)

Both Hollywood and DC believe that their job is to coerce and force us to do what they want.

I believe we need government—a government that forces us to care for the common good even when we don’t feel like it… — George Stephanopolous (All Too Human)

Most of DC believes this: that it is their job to force themselves on us. There are several old jokes about the difference between government and a prostitute, all of them involving government not respecting the boundaries of common decency. But as long as we let them believe that government’s job is to force us to act against our will, it’s no joke. Politicians will continue to believe not just that they can get away with abusive behavior, but that they deserve commendation for it. After all, that’s why we sent them to DC.

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve. — H. L. Mencken (Minority Report: H.L. Mencken’s Notebooks)

In response to The child sex of the anointed: There’s nothing so uncommon as common sense in DC, and the Washington Post epitomizes the nonsensical vision of the anointed with Betsy Karasik’s article proposing legalizing sex between high school teachers and high school students “absent extenuating circumstances”.

  1. The ham-handed way Spacey tried to get past the allegations, by also coming out as gay at the same time, probably didn’t help him.

  2. It came out while I was writing this that Spacey is following this playbook now, too, and will be going to the same rehab clinic that Weinstein spent a week at.

  1. <- Waiving reality