Editor's note: The following column originally appeared in The Washington Times.
Most people did not watch the Golden Globes, one of the many parties in which the entertainment industry pats itself on the back and gives its friends awards. But, to paraphrase a few on Twitter, it was at least nice for Hollywood take a break from raping each other for at least one evening.
But maybe they didn’t.
One of the biggest frauds in this history of business and entertainment was brought to light when a few brave women came forward and exposed film honcho Harvey Weinstein as a sexual predator. What unfolded after that point made clear that Mr. Weinstein wasn’t the only problem, just a rather large and disgusting symptom of an industry-wide cancer of sexual harassment, assault and rape.
What is the industry to do when exposed as Mr. Hyde? Put on an awards show insisting you’re still Dr. Jekyll. And that’s what America got with the Golden Globes awards show Sunday night: self-righteous jokes, gestures and speeches that only reinforced Hollywood’s inherent nature to rely on pretense, dressed up with platitudes, black gowns and an Oprah speech.
Rose McGowan, an alleged Weinstein victim and one of the first women who worked to expose the sexual predation of her industry, slammed the gesture of women wearing black evening gowns. CBS News reported, “Rose McGowan is still unimpressed with the black dress protest at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards. The outspoken actress claimed that all of the stars at the Golden Globes wearing black in protest against sexual harassment would not have done so if it weren’t for her.” She’s right, as she also perfectly labeled the exercise as “Hollywood fakery.”
Also on point was Fox Business reporter Dagen McDowell who tweeted, “What the #GoldenGlobes taught me: The new symbol of protest is a $70,000 custom evening gown. #clueless.” Exactly.
But gestures are just that, gestures, and they usually do not suffice when some people think your industry has really just been a front for sex trafficking. Wearing lapel pins that say “Time’s Up” isn’t enough. But maybe that’s also a message for Mr. Weinstein’s original accusers, since most of them weren’t invited to attend the event. We did not see Ms. McGowan, Mira Sorvino, Annabella Sciorra, Rosanna Arquette, or a number of others, at tables with their colleagues.
But we did see … Tonya Harding, a woman who became famous for admitting that she knew about the plot by her ex-husband and bodyguard to physically assault ice skater Nancy Kerrigan prior to the 1994 Olympic games. She also pleaded guilty to hindering the prosecution after the fact.
Ms. Harding, apparently, fit right in. She was also wearing black which, no doubt, made the world of difference for Ms. Kerrigan.
Meryl Streep, one of Mr. Weinstein’s most stalwart friends, was there. She continues to insist she had no idea what he was doing.
Oprah Winfrey was also there, received an award and gave a well-received speech about the power of women. That’s nice. But Oprah was also a Friend of Harvey and was even his “date” at various events through the years.
We are to believe both these powerhouse women, Ms. Streep and Ms. Winfrey, despite their close personal and working relationship for years with an alleged sexual predator, are the only two people in Hollywood who had no idea what was happening. Got it.
We do know Ms. Streep and Ms. Winfrey make a lot of money for a lot of people. They are rich and powerful, industries unto themselves. So as women whose careers were sabotaged watched from the sidelines and were shunned, powerful billionaire women who “knew nothing,” and therefore said nothing about their predator friend, were celebrated.
With discussion increasing about Ms. Streep’s hypocrisy, The Wrap reported, “[Donald Trump, Jr.] attached a Snopes article posted last year after Streep gave an impassioned speech against [President] Trump at the Golden Globes. The article notes a video from the 2003 Oscars, when Roman Polanski won Best Director for ‘The Pianist.’ After Harrison Ford announced Polanski’s victory, a shot of the crowd showed Streep giving him a standing ovation. Polanski was not in attendance to receive the award, as he fled the U.S. in 1978 just before he was to be sentenced after pleading guilty to statutory rape.”
It would be easier to consider the sincerity of these people if Ms. Streep had invited Ms. McGowan to join her at the party. Or if Ms. Winfrey had Ms. Arquette and Ms. Sorvino at her table. It would have been amazing to hear women like Ms. Streep and Ms. Winfrey ask for forgiveness, on live television, for somehow missing for decades that so many of their powerful mogul peers, including one of their best friends and benefactors, were actively destroying the lives of other women.
In the end, when you think about it, perhaps the silent protest of wearing all black was perfect for this absurd crew. After all, silence is still their preferred position.