Things That Matter

It’s Time For Men To Step Up And Call Out Their Homies About Sexual Harassment And Assault

At first, I was apprehensive to write a piece about what’s going on in the Harvey Weinstein case, because this conversation is so important and we need to be listening to women. We need to all believe women.

But it is also a time to turn to your boys and speak to them, to change how we all act, treat and support ALL women. It’s also time that we stop putting the burden on women to address the issues that WE have often created. 

The women who have come out and spoken publicly against Weinstein are far from alone. Their voices are echoed by the experiences of our sisters, mothers and close friends, and, if you’re listening, women everywhere. Because, fam, it’s literally all women.

You do not need to know someone specifically, or be connected to them, to understand, empathize and protect their safety. Or to care.

If you open your ears and your hearts, there isn’t a woman that hasn’t felt the fear of walking home alone at night, or being scared to not speak out at school or work when a boss or coworker does something awful.

It’s time to stand up for victims of sexual harassment and assault. Let me say that again: It’s time to stand up for victims of sexual harassment and assault, and to end rape culture.  

As the huge majority of perpetrators of harassment and assault, it’s men who need to do the most work here, and the first step is to realize we are all part of the problem, whether or not you have engaged in harassment (you have) or assault.

As a man, if you are not speaking up, speaking out and adamantly against harassment and assault of women, you are complicit in the sexual abuse and violence against them. If you’re not calling out stuff that’s problematic and contributing to rape culture, or backing up women when they do instead of arguing against them, you’re part of the problem.

Some of you think catcalling is fine. You think grabbing at a woman every now and then is fine. You think your boy is wild for slapping a girl on the butt without permission is fine. You might even laugh about it with him, even if you disagree with his actions. Or you think it’s all no big deal.

But you’re fucking wrong.

Don’t cat call.

Don’t touch women without their permission.

Tell your boys to cut their shit.

Even if you all aren’t out there harassing, assaulting or raping women, by saying nothing you’re encouraging and supporting a culture that leads to that. Rape culture is real and it starts and ends with men.

Credit: Angela Martini/ Flickr/ @feministapparel

Don’t come at me with the “but men, too.” We saw what Terry Crews said on Twitter last week about being groped by someone at a party. Yes, this is awful, and shouldn’t have happened to him or to anyone. But Terry Crews is an ex-football player and a towering man who gets hired to play action heroes and whoop ass because he can whoop ass. Most people wouldn’t mess with him.

Even if Crews wasn’t famous, he doesn’t have to worry about being catcalled in the street or that meeting up with someone from Tinder could lead to him being assaulted. He probably doesn’t have to worry that his ability to move up in his acting career is dependent on whether or not he watches a producer bathe. That’s likely never happened to him and probably won’t, but as we’ve seen, it’s happened to a long list of women and their male counterparts did little to nothing to help them.

No one is perfect, but by and large, men are the violent members of our species.

We start the wars, we have the dick measuring contests, we have toxic masculinity issues that permeate everything we do or don’t do. And even if you consider yourself as just a regular dude, who’d never hurt a woman, there are still plenty of ways you can be promoting patriarchal systems of power.

Like if you think you’re being romantic and aren’t causing harm when you’re negging a girl to get her to be in to you, or won’t take no for answer for drink or date, or play piano in the park until your ex takes you back. When you treat a women differently because of what she’s wearing or her size, or call her names behind her back because she wasn’t feeling it or did something all your homies have done and gotten high fives for. 

Those are all forms of harassment and you need to see it in order to stop it. You need to take a long hard look at yourself and your homies and think about what you’re doing.

It’s not easy to be the voice of reason in a group of guys. Like rapper Kendrick Lamar says in his song, “The Art of Peer Pressure,” “I’ve never been violent… until I’m with the homies.”

The pressure to be this idea of macho is amplified when you’re with other men. I get it, I hear you, you’re just joking around, it’s not serious. Well, it’s time for something different. Be the guy who stands up to your friends and calls them on their shit. Don’t makes excuses for them, because those excuses uphold rape culture and violence against women.

I’m no angel, I’ve done my fair share.

For example, as a teenager I’d hang out with a group of friend’s outside of McDonald’s and we’d all catcall women. We’d make a night of it. I used to sing to girls passing by. The song “Slow Down” by Bobby Valentino was a personal favorite. Sure the girls would laugh, but what else could they do while I’m rolling 10 deep and it’s just the two of them walking by? I had no malice in my heart. All I wanted was to make a pretty girl smile and maybe get her phone number, but using that power in numbers, finding myself in a position that made it easy for me to approach and hard for them to deny, that’s a problem right there. And without correcting it, it becomes the way you do things forever.

Harassment comes in many forms, like cat calling, not taking “no for an answer, coercing a woman into sleeping with you, threatening them and uninvited touch. And these are just a few.

Credit: Radu A. D. / Flickr

Let’s not kid ourselves, it doesn’t start when you’re a teenager. The groundwork for this behavior begins much younger. It happens when you teach little boys to whistle at girls. Or when you tell them it’s okay to be mean to girls they like. All of that shit needs to change. 

This behavior should not be the norm. For that to happen, we have to be the catalysts for that change ourselves so generations coming up after us can look to us as role models. Men often learn these behaviors from their fathers and uncles, emulating their words and actions towards women. When the next generation emulates us, let’s make sure their behavior reflects respect for women. So how do we do that?

Be friends to women, without expectations. Hire women and work with women, and keep your professional relationships professional. If you’re in a position to do so, help women level up in their careers, but don’t take advantage of it. Helping women should never come at their expense. Nobody owes you sexual favors, or should be subject to your advances or harassment, ever.

There are no professional (or other) circumstances under which anyone owes you a sexual favor.

Credit: employee justice/ Flickr

Most importantly, you don’t have to be related to a woman in order to see them as human beings who deserve to feel safe and be treated as equals with respect.

Listen, we’ve all said dumb things and done dumb things, but we have to acknowledge the privilege we have in this world, and to see the issues that affect women as issues we must care about, and to ensure we do our part to stop this problem. 

We’re all guilty, but there comes a time to separate yourself from that mentality – to grow up, and say “nah.”

And if you haven’t yet, let right now be that time for you.


READ: Here’s What Lin-Manuel Miranda And Quiara Hudes Have To Say About ‘In The Heights’ Being Produced By The Weinstein Company


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Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno “Jokes” Women Report Rape Only When Assailants Are Ugly

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Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno “Jokes” Women Report Rape Only When Assailants Are Ugly

THE GUARDIAN / INSTAGRAM

It’s a tale as old as time and one with a well-overdue expiration date.

Once again, victims– namely women– of sexual assault are being shamed into silence because of jokes that have not been well thought out. This time, Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno is the mouth behind the quip that deserves no laughs.

In a recent speech delivered in the city of Guayaquil, Moreno claimed women-only complain about assaults when the perpetrator is unattractive.

Speaking to investors in the port city, Moreno appeared to defend men accused of harassment saying “at times, with harassment, they torment ugly people. That is to say, that the harassment is when it comes from an ugly person,” he went onto add that “if the person looks good according to the standards, they tend not to think necessarily that it is harassment.”

Fortunately, the responses to Moreno’s disdainful comments were quick, unforgiving, and loud.

Women’s rights activist groups and other organizations quickly lambasted the already controversial president for his snide and noxious comments.

In a tweet posted to her Instagram account, Ecuador’s governing party congresswoman Soledad Buendía condemned Moreno, writing on Twitter that the president’s comments “justifies and reproduces violence against women. You can’t joke about harassment, rape, femicide, trafficking, sexual exploitation … Nothing justifies expressions that revictimize us!”

According to the Guardian, the Women for Change organization were quick to join in the conversation.

“It is not that everything now looks to women like harassment, it is that to machos like you it has never seemed bad to harass!” the organization tweeted.

Soon after the backlash hit, Moreno attempted to apologize.

In a tweet posted to his account, Moreno wrote an apology saying “In my comment about harassment, I did not intend to minimize such a serious matter as violence or abuse. I apologize if it was understood that way. I reject violence against women in all its forms!”

According to a comparative analysis published in the 2008 book Violence Against Women, 32.4% of Ecuadorian women interviewed aged 15-49 stated they had been physically or sexually abused by a current or former partner. Clearly, this is no laughing matter.

What Harvey Weinstein Had To Say For Himself In Court Before His 23-Year Sentence

Things That Matter

What Harvey Weinstein Had To Say For Himself In Court Before His 23-Year Sentence

@nypost / Twitter

The crescendo of the MeToo movement has officially hit a high note.

On Wednesday the scorned Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for two felony charges.

His sentence undoubtedly comes at the hands of the MeToo movement which saw a trove of women accuse the producer of sexual harassment and assault and unleashed a fury of accusations against other predatory men in entertainment and beyond.

After more than 100 women accused him of varying degrees of sexual assault, Harvey Weinstein has taken quite a fall from his high tower.

When news surrounding the Harvey Weinstein scandal unfolded, many of us watched in dismay as woman after woman stepped forward to share their harrowing accounts of sexual assault, harassment, and intimidation at the hands of the notorious Hollywood producer. Ashely Judd, Minka Kelly, and Lupita Nyong’o are just three of the 30-plus women rounding out the list of his accusers.

However, Salma Hayek, whose breakthrough role came from the Harvey Weinstein-produced film “Frida” and who appeared in six films released by his company, was notably silent. Streams of women had stepped up to accuse the producer of abuse, but even when evidence that she had been harassed by one of his own supporters quickly came to light, the actress remained quiet.

The Mexican actress broke her silence with an essay she penned for the New York Times in 2017. She details the agonizing story of how Weinstein terrorized her throughout the early start of her career and throughout the process of making “Frida.”

Hayek’s essay opened with an explanation on why she remained quiet about her experience with Weinstein up until now.

In her essay, titled “Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster Too,” Hayek described feeling like a survivor, and that her trauma was over.

She added, “I hid from the responsibility to speak out with the excuse that enough people were already involved in shining a light on my monster. I didn’t consider my voice important, nor did I think it would make a difference.”

She then chronicled the slew of sexual requests she received from Weinstein, which Hayek repeatedly refused.

“No to opening the door to him at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location, where he would show up unexpectedly, including one location where I was doing a movie he wasn’t even involved with,” she recounted.

It also included rejecting his requests to massage her, shower with him, watch her shower, have a naked friend massage her, performing oral sex on her and getting naked with a woman.

Those no’s incited “Harvey’s Machiavellian rage.”

Hayek confessed the terror she experienced when, after spurning him again, he threatened to kill her.

“In his eyes, I was not an artist. I wasn’t even a person,” she wrote. “I was a thing: not a nobody, but a body.”

She went on to detail a series of events in which a vengeful Weinstein attempted to completely push Hayek out of “Frida.” All this despite she having researched and worked on the film tirelessly for years, and the various blazing hoops the actress hurled herself through to ensure its completion, including negotiating with the Mexican government for access to never before approved filming locations.

At one point, Hayek described the soul-crushing moment Weinstein demanded that she do a full-frontal sex scene, threatening to pull his resources from the film entirely if she didn’t oblige.

“We paid the price for standing up to him nearly every day of shooting,” Hayek wrote. “It was clear to me he would never let me finish this movie without him having his fantasy one way or another. There was no room for negotiation.”

During his trial, Weinstein did not testify in his own defense but on Wednesday, moments before he was sentenced, he finally broke his silence.

In a statement that lasted for 20 minutes, the producer expressed his remorse for his infidelity, lamented his different view of his relationships with the women he assaulted and expressed resentment over his lack of communication with his children who refuse to speak with him. Recently CNN shared his full statement in court. Here it is below.

First of all, to all the women who testified, we may have different truths, but I have great remorse for all of you. I have great remorse for all the men and women going through this crisis right now in our country.You know, the movement started basically with me, and I think what happened, you know, I was the first example, and now there are thousands of men who are being accused and a regeneration of things that I think none of us understood.I think that — I can’t help looking at Jessica and Mimi and hope that something of our old friendship in me could emerge, but I’m sure like me, they have lawyers who say to them be careful of what you say.I read, you know, those letters where people talked about, you know, missing you, loving you, that kind of thing. As you know, having a serious friendship, that is what I believe that I had with Mimi and Jessica. You know, I really, really was maybe hypnotic and under that impression that I had that feeling, that I had that relationship.That five years with Jessica and the years that I knew Mimi were always filled with, don’t go on the plane Harv, I want to have dinner with you first from Mimi. Or, Harv, whatever, let’s get,you know, can you look at this idea I have for a television series. Or Harv, I’m in Cannes, can I go to the premier. Or Jessica, can I get into the Soho Club, which is a very exclusive, tough place to get into. But she needed it for herself. I got her a job at the Peninsula Hotel which she excelled at for awhile.

I’m not going to say these aren’t great people, I had wonderful times with these people, you know. It is just I’m totally confused and I think men are confused about all of these issues.You know, I just — dealing with the thousands of men and women who are losing due process, I’m worried about this country in a sense too. I’m worried there is a repeat of the blacklist there was in the 1950’s when lots of men like myself, Dalton Trumbo, one of the great examples, did not work, went to jail because people thought they were communists.You know, there was a scare, and that is what happened, and I think that is what is happening now all over this country.Two years ago, we wrote a letter to 15 friends, I think, the ADA quoted part of it, but the part of it that was the most important part was I’m a builder, I know how to build, and I know how to generate, you know, things on a charitable nature, and I know how to pass my success forward.I think even Mimi and Jessica would say that I was generous, you know, in that part of the relationship.The thing that I wanted to do in that letter was I wanted to build a hospital, but not a hospital like the regular hospital, a hospital that deals with this, rehabilitation and redemption; people losing their jobs over the fact they testified for me, or people being afraid to testify that they will lose their jobs. That is not the right atmosphere for this United States of America. It is wrong, you know, and that is what is happening. Everybody is on some sort of blacklist.I had no great powers in this industry. Miramax, at the height of its fame, was a smaller company than by far any Walt Disney, any Sony, Paramount. I could not blackball anybody, because if I said don’t use that actress, the guys at Warner Brothers would say I’m going to use it to … spite that bastard, whatever. That is what it was. But it became blown up like power, power, power. I was not about power, I was about making great movies, I was a perfectionist, and I think I drove myself crazy.

I’m not going to also run away from what the District Attorney said about some of the things I did say. I had a fight with my brother, yes, people said I said bad things to people, but there are so many people, thousands of people who would say great things about me.Sixty executives in this industry were trained by me. They are at the top of their field. They were running studios in top positions in this country.When I was an assistant at Paramount, they said if you are five minutes late, don’t come in, or they would black me the whole day.There never was in our industry a book that said this is how it should be. We always passed it on from assistant to assistant. An assistant was almost like if you were my assistant, it was like going to the Marine Corps, I mean could you survive two years with me and then become an executive. And those two years were tough, and I admit it.If I had to do it over again, I would not do it that way. If I had to do a lot of things over, I would care less about the movies and care more about my children, family, and other people and friends and other people in this life.The thing for me is I have not seen my three older children since the newspaper, since the New Yorker article came out; not the New York Times, but the New Yorker article, so I have not seen them. I just have no idea what they are doing, and I’m in no communication with them, that for me is hell on earth.I just think my empathy has grown over the last 2-1/2 years. I can look at everybody there, you know, and just say, you know, I understand things, I empathize, I feel things, and I was not that person until this crisis started. I have to just say that.I mean that part of this is such a tough process and has come out where I have learned so many things. I never thought I could deal with or things I dealt with in Arizona. I said, I’ll build this hospital blah, blah, blah. I said to two 15-year-olds what would you name the hospital, they said the Wonder Woman Hospital. I said you have to think of like a Greek God. He said Athena.

Those two 15-year-olds, because they were all part of this group, were hooked on opiates and whatever, and you know, prostituting themselves to make money for it.I met all sorts of people and I have grown.For me, the idea of perfection in art and business is over. My mission is to help people. And I also want to make one clear statement. My wife Eve (my first wife) and my wife Georgina knew nothing about this.I went to extraordinary lengths to hide my extramarital affairs; that was a terrible thing that I did by having those extramarital affairs, and God knows if I could take it back, I would. I know everybody in this room feels the same way.It had nothing to do with anything. I was unfaithful to both, and I just cannot tell you how bad I feel about that.You know, I never see my children again and they are everything to me in this world.You know, when I deal with subjects like this, I don’t wish for vengeance, I wish for understanding. That is why I wanted to build a hospital. I wanted to build a hospital where if somebody is accused of something, they work, women, men, me too, they work with accredited groups that come in and help them and help them grow.You know, I wanted to testify, but they told me all these things the District Attorney just said would come in my way before I testified. I wanted to talk to everybody, but anyhow, they all came up as it is. Now you should know some of the other side of that because I recognized the voices in those.One of those voices, one — I lost my train of thought. I just recognized some of the names who complained, but what was known about me was with the toughness came the kindness, the person who probably hates me the most in this world, their daughter has a situation where she needs the help of a great doctor. I got her that doctor. That doctor is there to date with her.Her father could not get that doctor. This is the person who hates me the most in this company. When his mother was sick I helped him with a doctor too. There was not any request that I refused on the part of the people who worked with me.As far as the million dollars is concerned, I wrote a check out from the company, but I reimbursed the company because that is the way we did it.

That million dollars was mine and I will say that over and over again.9/11 happened, and I woke up two days later, I called John Seiss, I said we have to do something for New York, not only for the money, but for the attitude. We raised $100 million dollars free of expenses.Ask the police who got that money. Ask the firemen if they respect me. Ask the workers if they respect me, and most of all, ask the victims of 9/11 who received $35 million dollars of that $100 million dollars if they respect me.You know, when you want to investigate, take both sides into the equation, then when Sandy happened and people lost their jobs, and people lost their houses, again, we went to the board and we raised $77 million dollars.Ask the guy in Coney Island, ask the guy in Far Rockaway when he lost his business and we were able to walk in there and save his business; ask him if he likes me.Ask the captain who was killed in action. I took his children to the Super Bowl and to the Academy Awards because somebody had to do it. I did it with Steve Tisch. There are so many examples of that.Robin Hood (Foundation) raised $2.5 billion dollars for the children and people of New York City. We built schools, built advocacy groups. I’m not saying I was a great part of it, but I was one of the board there and 22 years, and I had a lot to say and a lot to do. (Paul Tudor) Jones was the one who deserved the credit, but $2.5 billion dollars to build schools. I showed it by my work.You can’t achieve what we achieved at AmFar. You cannot achieve what we achieved at AmFar without doing the hard work, getting the people, and we raised $170 million dollars and I started with AmFar. People would not touch each other, like the virus today, people would not touch each other. They were scared of AIDS and there were three hundred people who raised $300,000 the first night.The year I left AmFar, we raised $30 million dollars and $170 million dollars overall. I worked too hard. As a result of working too hard, I felt too much pressure on myself. I really feel the remorse of this situation, I feel it deeply in my heart. I feel emotional, I feel like to go and talk to you guys, you know, just really, really caring and really trying and really trying to be a better person. Thank you, your Honor, for the time.