news

Kate Beckinsale, Harvey Weinstein, and the "crimes that are not crimes".

More than 90 women came forward with accusations against Harvey Weinstein. After years — in some cases, decades — of open secrets and frightened whispers, those brave women exposed the ‘untouchable’ Hollywood producer’s pattern of sexual predation; from harassment and coercion, to assault and rape.

Their accounts were the bedrock of the #metoo movement, a global call for awareness, understanding and advocacy about sexual violence that finally created a climate for the Miramax boss to be prosecuted. Largely because of them, Weinstein, 67, was this week sentenced to 23 years behind bars for the 2013 rape of once-aspiring actor Jessica Mann and the 2006 sexual assault of TV production assistant, Miriam Haley.

To paraphrase Mann’s victim impact statement, the monster is out of the closet.

Listen: How 6 brave women brought down Harvey Weinstein.

With the truth of Weinstein’s crimes exposed, there’s space for a second wave of stories. The ones from women who never directly experienced his sexual violence, but witnessed the attitudes and forces that underpinned it.

Actor Kate Beckinsale this week posted to social media a particularly revealing account.

It centred around the New York premiere of her 2001 film, Serendipity. She wrote that, despite reservations that a flashy event weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks would appear “insensitive, tone-deaf, disrespectful”, Weinstein insisted it go ahead.

And so it did. In the middle of a city in mourning, still littered with rubble, the stars walked the red carpet; Beckinsale in a white pantsuit and tie.

The next day, Weinstein invited her to his home under the guise of a playdate for their then-toddler daughters.

Beckinsale wrote, “I turned up and he immediately called for his nanny to take the babies to another room to play. I went to go with them and he said, ‘No, you wait here.’ The minute the door closed, he started screaming,’You stupid f***ing C***. You C***, you ruined my premiere… If I am throwing a red carpet, you get in a tight dress, you shake your [arse], you shake your tits, you do not go down it looking like a f***ing lesbian, you stupid f***ing c*** .'”

The actor wrote that she was shocked into a tearful explanation for her outfit, one which she thought was respectful given her surroundings: “He said, ‘I don’t care – it’s my f***ing premiere and if I want pussy on the red carpet that’s what I get.’ Screaming. Livid.”

“The crimes that are not crimes.”

Researchers tell us there are five key drivers of sexual violence, and they are littered throughout that exchange between Weinstein and Beckinsale.

Sexism: limited roles for women, viewing women as objects. “Tight dress… shake your arse… looking like a lesbian…”

Power: placing value on having power over others and maintaining it. “My premiere… if I want… that’s what I get…”

Violence: tolerance of aggression, blaming of victims. “Screaming. Livid.”

Masculinity: traditional ideas about manliness, such as the need to assert dominance and control. “If I want pussy on the red carpet…”

ADVERTISEMENT

Privacy: a culture that encourages secrecy around abuse/assault. “He immediately called for his nanny to take the babies to another room… the minute the door closed, he started screaming…”

But as Beckinsale noted in her post, while the things Weinstein said and did that day are unconscionable, they’re not illegal.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

These photos were taken at the premiere of Serendipity on October 5,2001. We all refused to go because holding a premiere mere weeks after 9/11 with the city still smoking felt like the most insensitive, tone deaf,disrespectful idea possible .But Harvey insisted. We flew into New York and somehow got through it. The next morning Harvey called me and asked if I would like to bring my less than two year old daughter to his house for a playdate with his similar aged daughter I said ok. I turned up and he immediately called for his nanny to take the babies to another room to play. I went to go with them and he said “No, you wait here .” The minute the door closed he started screaming “you stupid fucking CUNT, you CUNT you ruined my premiere .” I had no idea what he was talking about and started to shake.He said,”If I am throwing a red carpet you get in a tight dress, you shake your ass you shake your tits you do not go down it looking like a fucking lesbian you stupid fucking cunt .” The shock made me burst into tears.I tried to say “Harvey,the city is on fire, people are still looking for their relatives none of us even felt the premiere was appropriate much less coming out dressed like it’s a bachelor party .” He said,”I don’t care -it’s my fucking premiere and if I want pussy on the red carpet that’s what I get”.Screaming. Livid. I managed to get myself and my child out of there and yes that was one of many experiences I had that there was no recourse for,and falls under no felony.But I WAS punished for it, and for other instances where I said no to him for years,insidiously and seeming irreversibly. Hearing that he has gone to prison for 23 years is a huge relief to me on behalf of all the women he sexually assaulted or raped, and I hope will be a deterrent to that sort of behavior in this and any other industry. Having said that,the crimes that are not crimes,the inhumane bullying and sick covert abuse for which there is STILL no recourse no matter who you tell(and I did tell),these too need to go.I hope and pray that we as an industry can start to actually outlaw all abuses of power and expose them and eliminate them, for all genders,forever.And Rose,brava ❤

A post shared by Kate Beckinsale (@katebeckinsale) on

They exist in the shadows of assault, in the space between, and because of that she had no way to hold him accountable. Not for the fear she felt that day, the verbal beat down or the toll it took on career.

She claims Weinstein punished her professionally because of that incident and others that involved her saying “no” to him (she didn’t elaborate on the details). It certainly tracks with the allegations of Weinstein’s other victims, many of whom reported being blacklisted in Hollywood after they crossed him, denied him or stood up to him.

For several of those women, Weinstein’s jailing is a sign that system — one which protected him and others like him — is finally starting to come undone.

Acknowledging the survivors of violence that made that possible, Beckinsale called for a next step: a push to stamp out the “crimes that are not crimes”.

“The inhumane bullying and sick covert abuse for which there is STILL no recourse no matter who you tell (and I did tell), these too need to go,” she wrote.

“I hope and pray that we as an industry can start to actually outlaw all abuses of power and expose them and eliminate them, for all genders, forever.”

Feature image: Getty.

00:00 / ???