There are three things I don’t get about the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal. In the unlikely event that you don’t know about the scandal: it involves Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood mogul, harassing and paying hush money to various women for about a decade. As the scandal continues to unravel, I keep being bothered by three things that usually accompany scandals such as these. The three things bothering me are: the faux outrage, the hush money and the do-nothing prosecutors.
Many celebrities, including Hillary Clinton, have come out publicly and expressed sadness and outrage over the revelations of the sexual harassment committed by Harvey Weinstein. But the question I have, where were you when the ample evidence was all around you? Where were you when whispers of predatory sexual attacks were subjecting victims for at least a decade?
The answer is that these celebrities were benefitting from Harvey Weinstein and as such his transgressions were something to gossip about but pretend it didn’t exist. Accept this reality and spare me and others the faux outrage over something you had you have known was going on.
I get that the victim wants their money after the ordeal they suffered, but what I don’t get is the accompanying legal requirement to remain silent about the criminal act. Most sexual harassment cases involve some type of criminal act. So why is it that a court doesn’t simply order the part of the hush money agreement null and void? In other words, why is it acceptable for someone to pay another person hush money to conceal a crime?
I understand the theory that if the courts invalidate the silence portion of the hush agreements, then there would no longer be an incentive for violators to enter into hush agreements thereby taking the payment incentive away. Exactly my point, it forces the issue out in the open.
But more importantly, under the same argument that the courts shouldn’t meddle in the hush money/silence portion of the agreement, then shouldn’t inherent culpability be extended to those who received money if someone else is killed or seriously hurt by the person who paid them?
Think about it this way. Let’s say that Jane Doe is paid $50,000 to remain quiet about a sexual assault she was victimized with and her assailant went on to kill another victim who wouldn’t comply with his demands? Doesn’t Jane Doe bear some responsibility for not reporting the dangers posed by her assailant. Does Jane not have the responsibility to protect others from her assailant?
The Do-Nothing Prosecutors
The notion of “innocent until proven guilty” is abused by most prosecutors in that they claim innocence when confronted with a criminal’s past. At least one prosecutor has said they didn’t prosecute Weinstein because the evidence wasn’t there because the hush money had silenced the witnesses. But the “innocent until proven guilty” is only convenient for prosecutors when they need an excuse.
How many times has an innocent person being paraded before a gaggle of news media on their way to jail? The so-called perp walks are used as a tool by prosecutors who want to impress upon their targets the need to cooperate, to send a message to the community or to score political points. Although the perp walks are punitive in nature, because of the humiliation of being paraded publicly in handcuffs, they are nonetheless performed on people who have yet to avail themselves of a judge’s ruling on their arrest.
They continues to happen all the time.
So why is it that the prosecutors who had knowledge of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults not perform the basic duty of opening an investigation into the allegations and collecting evidence?
Is it because Weinstein was well-connected? Because he had power?
The Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal once again proves that the criminal system in the United States is not about fairness and equality for all but, rather, it is about who has the deep pockets.