The women who went public with their stories of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein rang a bell that continues to resound through show business. The reverberations have cascaded over a number of powerful men in Hollywood and the media. Here are some who faced accusations of sexual misconduct just in the past week:
- Actor Kevin Spacey, for inappropriate behavior toward underage men, including actor Anthony Rapp when Rapp was a teenager. Spacey incurred the wrath of LGBT activists for announcing he was gay after the accusations against him surfaced, which many interpreted as an attempt to deflect attention from his alleged misdeeds. Netflix announced it was suspending production on House of Cards Season 6, in which Spacey stars. The actor said he was seeking “evaluation and treatment.”
- MSNBC journalist Mark Halperin for sexual harassment of five women. Halperin apologized and was fired late last week.
In the four weeks since the allegations against Weinstein came to light, at least 15 other prominent men have been fired or forced to apologize for sexual harassment. Feminist leaders say the cultural tide is turning against powerful men who abuse their positions for sexual gain.
“This is the patriarchy starting to crumble,” said Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization of Women. But Haley Halverson, vice president of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, said that for true culture change to take hold, Hollywood needs to do more than just police its personnel:
“HBO’s Game of Thrones, Westworld, and The Deuce have routinely normalized [sexual] abuses. Companies such as Comcast and Verizon sell hardcore pornography with racist, incest, and violent themes. Amazon, too, sells pornography.
“The American public is demanding an end to sexual entitlement and harassment, but we cannot expect significant change if we continue to embrace the Hollywood and corporate culture that normalizes and promotes sexual exploitation.”