The movie mogul’s dramatic fall from grace has been widely reported as a flood of lurid allegations about sexual harassment and rape from women in the film industry has emerged. Within a few days he went from being a Hollywood power player to a social pariah.
As celebrities have lined up to condemn him, and former colleagues have scrambled to distance themselves from him, Weinstein now stands as the epitome of all that is wrong with gender imbalance and abuse of power. Yet, while there has been plenty of righteous indignation levelled at him since his unmasking, the fact that he got away with it for so long is because too many people chose to stay silent.
It’s easy to join in a chorus of condemnation, but it’s also important to understand how someone like Weinstein is a product of our collective failings. We may not see ourselves reflected in the heinous acts of an abuser, but we should recognise ourselves in the daily choices that millions make to not speak out or ‘make a fuss’ when they see abuses of power going on around them.
For the sake of a quiet life, the fear of embarrassment or travelling the path of least resistance in our career, we have all committed sins of ‘omission’ (what we failed to do) rather than ‘commission’ (what we did do). That’s why Weinstein’s example should make us point the finger at ourselves as much as anyone else.
In this month’s Culture column (p20) Sam Hailes relates a fascinating Channel 4 programme that inadvertently stumbled on the root of the problem. Eden saw participants try to establish a new utopian community in the Highlands of Scotland. It all turned sour, of course. That’s because, as the original Eden story tells us, there’s something broken at the core of all humans.
Jesus came to fix the brokenness by becoming broken himself, for us. This is the simple message we are called to proclaim to a broken world: to admit to the bad news of who we really are deep down, and then to embrace the good news that God still loves us and has the power to redeem every corner of the world, including us. And (whisper it) even Harvey Weinstein. Justin Brierley Senior editor
PS In this edition we bid a sad farewell to Katie Stock who has gone to train for ministry in the CofE (spot her in the crowd on p48) and a warm welcome to Claire Musters who steps into her shoes as our freelance news and features journalist.