I don't really follow Hollywood stuff, other than watching movies based on comic books or that have other genre appeal to me. I guess I knew/didn't know there were rumors about Harvey Weinstein because I read Defamer, but that kind of gossipy know/didn't know state isn't the same as thinking a person is a predator, because know/didn't know is the Schrodinger's Cat of pervert. I might not, based on this information, be alone with a person or would tell a friend not to be alone with that one in a "thing in your teeth" or "toilet paper on your shoe" kind of way, but I wouldn't necessarily say "This is a guy who needs to straight up be locked up".* I'm not the world's biggest carceral state backer in the first place, but also, there's a benefit of the doubt we give men with that reputation, after all. That lady-killer shit. That pimp player. You just don't exactly know. Do they force themselves, or just have the kind of charm money definitely might/could buy?
The Ronan Farrow investigation about Harvey Weinstein, on the other hand, is the confirmation of rumors that basically doesn't happen with situational abusers like this often enough. It's like what happened with Bill Cosby, where there were just too many stories--eventually, after a kind of floodgate opened. Or Roger Ailes. Or Donald Trump, if he didn't somehow get elected president. People who take advantage of others find their ways of doing it quietly and while isolating their targets. They create ways of not getting told on, including bullying and threats of retribution. And they have a great sense for who one can fuck with, and who one can't. They don't let their shit bubble up in front of "nice society". They victimize people who don't have power, and then I guess just hope their victims don't find themselves with the power to speak out, eventually.
And it might help to understand that men can get sexually harassed too, and find themselves dealing with questioning themselves, how they could have responded, and why they didn't report. If someone like Terry Crews, who is physically impressive and someone you would feel so certain could handle himself in any kind of confrontation, can speak to the powerlessness that situation can put someone in, it paints a picture of how this kind of abuse can be everywhere, and people just don't try to see it. It also shows how much privilege can be a factor.
So many people in show business and on other walks of life have taken the opportunity on social media to discuss times when they have been groped, or propositioned, or made to feel like their putting out or staying silent in the face of another's sexual inappropriateness was a condition of their career success that I have no doubt this kind of abusive conduct exists everywhere. I have heard enough profound apologies from colleagues of Weinstein, beneficiaries and mentees, and associated folks to know--that not everyone knew, or enough people gave the benefit of a shaky doubt. They knew, but didn't see. And that was good enough to keep him a person in good social standing.
Rumor everywhere--of course. But nobody saw. Even if many people (men) were there to hear first hand from the women it happened to--but those young men (at the time) were also starting out, young, and kind of took this thing for granted.
We need to get better at seeing these things for what they are, and calling out these abusers when we find them, and empowering young people with the ability to refuse and not be afraid of repercussions. We need to call out assholes for what they are.
But nobody needs to call out people who specifically did not know until now what was up for not saying anything. Isn't that obviously the problem we're having? Where everyone sees, and nobody talks? Who knows what anyone knows, when everyone is trying to pretend they don't?
*It is becoming clearer that we are now talking about a serial rapist. Lock that fuck the hell up.