We are at a tipping point.
Three weeks ago, Harvey Weinstein was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. Today, he is radioactive — denounced, dismissed, and defending himself against potential lawsuits and criminal investigation. It has felt for several days as if the sky is falling in Hollywood; as if the firmament that the entertainment ecosystem is crumbling before our eyes. It has been horrifying and cathartic, in turns; long-held secrets are being uncovered, while long-buried suspicions are being validated. What may have started with Harvey Weinstein is not ending with him: Already, several men throughout media and entertainment have been outed by their employees and in many cases, ousted by their employers. When a movement can unseat an agent, an editor, a showrunner, and an executive, it is just getting started. Little doubt there are more to follow.
The last two weeks have seen a steady stream of stories, from women in and out of the industry, about what some men in it have made them endure. To be clear, not all of the stories are of men targeting women: Some men target other men; some women join in the patterns of exploitation. And yet the story of a woman being intimidated, harassed, or violated by a man has been repeated so many times in the last three weeks that it is almost predictable. Another actress. Another director. Another story where the brutal violence of coercion was somehow made palatable by the norms of the industry, or the desperation to succeed, or just plain fear of retribution.