Doing It Better: Conflict Resolution after Abuse in Leftist Communities
In October it entered the public consciousness that Harvey Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax Films and co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, had spent decades exploiting a power imbalance to pressure sexual favors out of women and then paying settlements to silence criticisms. As the raging public became increasingly furious at his exploitation of his position to grant and receive favors, his board fired him from his production company, his wife left him, he was suspended from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and he was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is under investigation for rape in three cities. These events show that there are now consequences for exploiting women and that the public cannot just accept it and move on anymore. In the month since, more than thirty other high-profile men working in the entertainment industry and holding public offices were similarly exposed and experienced similar consequences for their actions. This is new. Previously, incidents like this were excused, ignored, and swept under the rug. The script is changing.
Showing that there are consequences for this behavior is a positive step. It helps others to speak up and know that they will not be ostracized for acting as whistleblowers. The offending people’s actions will cause lifetimes of damage. And there will still likely be no closure or resolution for the parties involved. These incidents create more political talking points that highlight pre-existing positions for women’s rights and men’s rights groups alike. There’s little support for people brave enough to step forward and speak out and few comforts to say that the behavior of these men won’t continue. Neither public shaming nor our legal system have capacity to heal these wounds while a person’s finances can insulate them sufficiently from true accountability for their actions.
In 2002 I answered a phone call at work. The woman on the other end was the book buyer for a small radical cafe that sold titles from my company, Microcosm Publishing. She immediately shouted into the phone with authority:
“I’m sure that you’ve heard by now but Mark Blacklisted [not his real name] is a rapist. You need to stop supporting him and his work…