The Shadow of Hollywood

It is one of those gala nights that, traditionally, is considered one of the most seen in the world. It is a ceremony that is broadcast directly to the entire world. Reporters travel from various countries to capture, even from far away, a wave or a smile from those who walk the red carpet. It is the night of the Oscars, of the little statue capable of making and breaking careers, and which wields a power never far from the center of the world nexus. But it is also under that carpet, the one that so many desire to walk on, that those small big lies are hidden; it is there where the secrets of those who have the power to decide who will, in fact, become the new superstar live. And it is in the exercise of that power that some sicken to the point of losing themselves.

Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Winslet, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mira Sorvino … All have walked along that carpet, all have appeared on magazine covers, all are admired throughout the world, all have won that little golden statue. And all, as well, won that Oscar for their acting in movies produced by one of the most powerful production companies in the industry. The Weinstein Company is behind their successes, although also for some, their darkest memories. Harvey Weinstein, the producer behind the most celebrated movies of recent years, is now under investigation by the FBI. An article in The New Yorker, signed by Ronan Farrow, son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, revealed a network of abuse, the number of accusations growing with each passing day. The actress Rose McGowan is one of his principal accusers. Just yesterday, she explained that more than harassment, it was rape. She even charged that she lost work opportunities after speaking publicly about this matter. And after her, there were other actresses, such as Ashley Judd or even Jolie and Paltrow. Figures such as Jane Fonda—who said she regretted not speaking up before because we now understand that this issue was like an open secret in Hollywood—Penélope Cruz, Ryan Gosling, Leonardo DiCaprio and Emma Thompson have all spoken against Weinstein. That all-powerful man who built and destroyed careers. That man, who under the shadow of his power, assaulted and abused a number of women. But not just celebrities; there are already 25 statements from women who have been courageous enough to speak of what happens in Hollywood, but also what happens in places that are closer, more everyday places. That violence can just as easily happen inside any house in the world as behind a set. Although, without a doubt, Weinstein’s example speaks to us of that damnable power which acts of intimidation and aggression of any kind have.

Anyone who knows a woman who is a victim of harassment knows that fear is what silences her, if only as a reflex in order to to feel safe or avoid even fiercer aggression. And fear feels the same whether one is on the cover of Vogue or is a university student. But it is punished differently when dealing with Bill Cosby, Donald Trump or Weinstein. Any aggression is the product of a false idea of superiority. That is why during the election campaign in the United States, Trump never tired of misogynist language aimed at Hillary Clinton. That is why some call Margarita Zavala [a Mexican lawyer and politician, and a former Mexican first lady] “the wife of … ” That is why what the ex-presidential candidate said in an interview with the BBC is important: “This type of behavior cannot be tolerated anywhere, whether it’s entertainment [or] politics.”

There are those who say that Weinstein’s career is over; he was fired from the company he founded, his wife has left him. And even though he has rejected the accusations through his representatives, they say that their client is already receiving psychological treatment. But what matters is not that we not forget Weinstein, but that we understand the reach of aggression and violence against women. Because there are few famous producers, but many thousand more aggressors than we would like. And it is through those cases that we can better see the dimensions of this very serious problem.

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