The horrific allegations of sexual harassment and assault leveled against Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein have become one of the biggest and most shocking stories of the year.
Weinstein was one of the most powerful and influential film producers in the business. He was a big-time donor to the Democratic Party and liberal causes. He hobnobbed with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and other movers and shakers.
His downfall is one of the biggest humiliations for the entertainment industry. It makes sense that pretty much every celebrity and politician is now trying to scurry away from the scandal as fast as they can, all claiming they had no idea Harvey was such a creep.
But by all accounts, it appears Weinstein’s predatory nature was well-known in Hollywood. They even made light of it in the public eye.
Critically-acclaimed TV show 30 Rock included a joke about one of the characters denying to have sex with the film producer. Gwyneth Paltrow, one of the many female actresses now accusing Weinstein of harassment, laughed about being “coerced” by the Hollywood titan with David Letterman all the way back in 1998.
And, in the most damning moment, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane cracked at the 2013 Academy Award nominations while revealing the nominations for best supporting actress, “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.” (RELATED: Oscars Host Jokes About Actresses Faking Attraction To Harvey Weinstein)
The room full of Hollywood elites roared with laughter.
It’s pretty hard to imagine that few of these entertainment figures knew about Weinstein’s atrocious behavior, especially with the dozens of women coming forward to share their horror stories about the producer.
Yet, it only became a problem when it reached the pages of The New York Times last week. In the past, Weinstein could expect newspaper editors, stars like Matt Damon and other powerful folks to go to bat for him to protect his reputation.
Now that protection is all gone and Hollywood has disowned him.
In spite of the industry rushing to repudiate Weinstein, the moral stain of allowing him to prey on young women for years can’t be wiped away with one press statement calling the movie mogul repulsive.
Hollywood enabled Weinstein, celebrated him and laughed about his harassment for years. It’s likely that his predatory behavior is normal for the business, as Corey Feldman and Elijah Wood have alleged.
This likelihood undermines entertainment elites’ greatest aspiration: lecturing the rest of the country on moral and political issues.
Recent awards shows have replaced the jokes about Weinstein’s harassment with screeds about the evils of President Trump. Nearly every speech includes a dig at Trump and the Americans who voted for him, with Hollywood stars taking the mantle of moral righteousness against amoral policies.
Many of these stars now spending their time trying to claim they knew nothing about the producer’s abuse, like Ben Affleck, have used their public statements to condemn Trump and conservative proposals. They always argue from the position that celebrities somehow know right and wrong better than the average American.
Harvey Weinstein himself made this very argument back in 2009. “Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion,” he told the Los Angeles Times — while on a PR campaign to get convicted child rapist Roman Polanski released from a Swiss jail cell.
Nothing says morally superior like helping out your fellow sexual predator.
Hollywood has always excused Polanski’s alleged rape of a teenage girl and gave the man who fled justice a standing ovation at the 2003 Oscars. It’s understandable why these same people were willing to overlook the misdeeds of Weinstein and many others. (RELATED: It’s Not Just Weinstein — Entertainment Industry Filled With Accused Sex Abusers)
Preying on children isn’t as abhorrent as wanting to reduce immigration to the United States, according to our moral superiors.
Culture is meant to reflect the values and dreams of the people who consume it. When Americans watch a movie, they expect their beliefs to be reflected in what they see. TV shows and films have an incredible influence in shaping the public consciousness and how Americans view current issues.
The decline in religion and community institutions leaves the makers of popular culture in the driver’s seat for determining what is good and what is bad in our society. Pop culture is now more important than church sermons.
That’s why everyone in Hollywood feels it is their obligation to lecture their countrymen on every issue of the day.
When a case like Weinstein shows the rot at the core of our new moral arbiters, what does that say about us as a country?
If anything, it shows middle Americans are right to despise the elites who keep haranguing them for voting for Trump.
WATCH KIMMEL TURN HIS WEINSTEIN MONOLOGUE INTO AN ANTI-TRUMP RANT:
AND WATCH DC’S TOP FEMALES SHRED WEINSTEIN’S BEHAVIOR: