In 2017, the system that protected Harvey Weinstein throughout his long career as a producer and abuser began to unravel.
Practically since the very moment Weinstein was brought down, though, people have been trolling over whether the #MeToo pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. So many vocally resent the rise of so-called cancel culture; the idea that, once given a taste of justice, women who have been victimized won’t be satisfied until they see consequences for—gasp—even men who don’t quite rise to the Weinsteinian level of menace.
Before we all start crying our eyes out for those men, though, the ones who merely hit on or groped their assistants and didn’t allegedly rape anyone, let’s check in with Harvey Weinstein and how his cancellation is going.
Earlier this week, the pariah producer attended an artist event called Actor’s Hour at Downtime bar on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He was invited by someone, allegedly Actor’s Hour producer Alexandra Laliberte, and welcomed into the bar. Then he was given a table, which he sat at not alone. While all early signs may have pointed to Weinstein’s rare public appearance going mostly under the radar, over the course of the evening, he was confronted by three women—one from the stage while performing standup comedy and two more walking right up to his table.
The way the room reacted to these confrontations, however, is even more terrifying than the idea of Weinstein having a night out relatively unnoticed.
***TW Sexual Assault***
Hey everyone. You might have seen my tweet about cursing out Harvey Weinstein last night. As a rape survivor I'm so furious and sad and frustrated.
Here is a thread about what happened.
— Downright Rude (Amber Rollo) (@ambercrollo) October 24, 2019
On Thursday morning, comedian Amber Rollo tweeted unsparingly about the incident. She explained how, as a rape survivor herself, she could not pretend it was normal to find the most infamous alleged rapist in America enjoying a night out on the town in New York City, let alone in the same bar as her. Rollo’s account of how comedian Kelly Bachman called out what was happening when it was her turn to perform, and how actor Zoe Stuckless and Rollo herself followed suit later on, right to Weinstein’s face, came to vivid life when video later emerged online.
Here’s 60 searing seconds of Bachman, also a rape survivor, talking about “the Freddy Krueger in the room” and finding a surprisingly hostile reaction.
— Kelly Bachman (@bellykachman) October 24, 2019
“I didn’t know we needed to bring our own mace and rape whistle to Actor’s Hour,” she says, to scattered boos. One man in the audience even yells at her to “shut up.”
“Oh, ‘shut up?'” she responds. “This kills at group therapy for rape survivors.”
Her joke gets a chorus of applause from some women in the room.
According to a detailed report in BuzzFeed, featuring interviews with all three women who confronted Weinstein, a male comedian later alluded to Bachman’s moment on stage.
“I’d like to address the elephant in the room,” comedian Andrew B. Silas said. “Who in this room produced Good Will Hunting? ‘Cause that shit was great.”
In the BuzzFeed interview, Zoe Stuckless claims that seeing this male comic make a joke that appeared to defend Weinstein is what inspired her to confront him.
“I’m gonna stand four feet from a fucking rapist and nobody is going to say anything?” she screams, in the video embedded in the tweet below.
4. Holy cow, I'm just seeing this video….
Zoe Stuckless (@revoltchild) confronted Harvey Weinstein at the show…what they said is heartbreaking
"Nobody is going to say anything? I'm going to stand four feet from a fucking rapist and nobody is going to say anything." pic.twitter.com/v14tnNUCql
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) October 25, 2019
What’s incredible—even more incredible than the courage it must have taken to yell at someone who is so widely feared, even in decline—is that elements of the room rose up to escort Stuckless out. It’s hard to tell whether it was only Weinstein’s flunkies, or people who work at the bar, or random onlookers, or a combination of all three.
The treatment of these women, though, that they weren’t unanimously received as the heroes of the room, is evidence that remnants of the system that kept Weinstein safe during all those years of abuse are still active and will remain so until he is potentially locked behind bars. (Weinstein is awaiting trial on charges of sexual assault. It’s currently scheduled for January.)
The alleged rapist’s representatives had this to say about the incident: “Harvey Weinstein was out with friends enjoying the music and trying to find some solace in his life that has been turned upside down. This scene was uncalled for, downright rude, and an example of how due process today is being squashed by the public, trying to take it away in the courtroom too.”
Weinstein’s representatives gave the above statement to NBC News, which is currently under fire for turning down Ronan Farrow’s explosive, ultimately Pulitzer Prize-winning Weinstein exposé, allegedly in part to protect the network’s own Matt Lauer.
This is what the system that protects sexual abusers looks like. It has not yet been canceled.