Tamron Hall, The Obamas & Other People Of Color Who’ve Spoken Out About Harvey Weinstein’s Sexual Assault Scandal
A lot of times when issues of sexual assault make it to the forefront of the national conversation, communities respond based on the race of the perpetrator. When it was R. Kelly or Bill Cosby, the issue of race becomes a large part of the conversation. There’s the suspicion that it’s a plot, a scheme, a ploy to take the Black man down.
Now that allegations against Harvey Weinstein have come forward, there are those who would have you believe the issue is a Hollywood one. That’s assault and harassment are specific to these group of people. And that’s just not the case. Women of color can tell you that sexual assault and harassment by men of various races is a reality for us. And you don’t have to making a single dime for it to be so.
It’s a human, global problem. And just to nail that point home, here are people of color who’ve spoken out on the mounting allegations against former Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein.
I’m thankful that a Black man found it pertinent to speak out on all of this. And I’m delighted to see that the statement was so thoughtful and all-encompassing as far as ways men of any race and can be and do better. He released this statement publicly:
I am disturbed and saddened at the news that several women have been victimized by a person I had come to know through the purchase of my first feature film. While I had no further business dealings with Harvey Weinstein, and no knowledge of this predatory behavior, my career did benefit from this brief involvement. Because of that, I feel a responsibility to speak up on this issue.
I love working as a storyteller. But I work in an industry that too many times has proven to not be a safe space for women. I make it a priority to ensure that there is gender equity and an inclusive work environment on every project I am involved with. However, just minding our business sometimes isn’t enough. It goes without saying, but I will state it now: sexual harassment is a human rights violation, sexual assault is a human rights violation, rape is a human rights violation.
The entertainment industry, like many others, has a historic imbalance of power among gender that allows these violations to run rampant. As men we sit in positions of privilege. It is our responsibility to leverage our position, and be allies to the women in our industry. We need to do everything we can to make sure violations like these don’t continue to happen. The first step is to listen. Salute to the brave women who came forward. I could never imagine how difficult that must be.
In light of our current leadership, many people are still looking to President Obama for his thoughts and opinions on all of the terrible sh*t that seems to keep happening in the world, in America particularly. In his statement, President Obama said:
“Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports of Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status. We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. And we all need to build a culture, including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect, so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future.”
After Hall decided to leave NBC over some of the foolishness they were trying to pull over there, she and Weinstein became friends or at least business associates. They got so close that Hall signed a talk show development deal three months ago. But when Hall learned of the allegations, she contacted him directly. In an interview with Huffington Post, Hall said she was horrified by the allegations.
“It’s a woman’s worst nightmare to be in a situation where you believe someone more powerful has control over your life. I immediately thought about the women who have suffered in silence and were paralyzed by fear; fear that I’ve seen with domestic violence survivors; fear that I’ve seen when I interviewed women who were raped on their college campuses.”
Hall said she called him at 5 a.m. when she learned of the allegations. She described her tone as “take no prisoners.” She said that while Weinstein apologized and said he needed help, she is working with her agents to figure out next steps regarding the deal she signed with Weinstein. She said that Weinstein being fired is not enough to address her concerns.
You know Viola Davis always has a good word for the people, whether it’s about roles for diverse women in Hollywood, beauty standards, or just life she’s got the wisdom. In a statement for Variety, Davis said,
“The predator wants your silence. It feeds their power, entitlement AND they want it to feed your shame. Our bodies are not the ‘spoils of war’… a trophy to be collected to fuel your ego. It’s OURS!!! It doesn’t belong to you!! And when you take it without permission, it DESTROYS…… like a virus!!! To the predators… Weinstein, the stranger, the relative, the boyfriend…. I say to you, ‘You can choose your sin but you don’t get to choose the consequences.’ To the victims…. I see you. I believe you… and I’m listening.”
Mindy Kaling shared why it’s particularly important for men to use their voices in this cause.
Why is it helpful men speak up? Bc that's what this personality fears most: the disintegration of the tacit male support for this behavior.
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) October 10, 2017
Constance Wu commended the women who spoke out, condemned the behavior and before all of this hit the fan, she explained that Weinstein is not the only perpetrator of these actions.
This is sick & disgusting & actually evil. Bravo to the courageous women & the (few) men brave enough to speak out https://t.co/EW5Q0to3rm
— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) October 10, 2017
Yup yup yup yup. Every day. Even from "good guys" who brag about hiring female directors or producing POC narratives. YUP EVEN THEM.
— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) October 5, 2017
Lin Manuel Miranda
Lin Manuel Miranda is focused on Puerto Rico right now, raising funds, sending supplies, making music to benefit the people. But when he learned of the Weinstein allegations, he took time out to speak on the allegations.
I'm as appalled and repulsed by the Weinstein news as anyone with a beating heart. And forever in awe of the bravery of those who spoke out.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) October 10, 2017
Yesterday, we reported that Terry Crews had suffeered from sexual assault at the hands of another Hollywood executive. He explained that like many women, he decided not to pursue criminal charges because he didn’t want to become an outcast in the industry.
“This whole thing with Harvey Weinstein is giving me PTSD. Why? Because this kind of thing happened to ME. […] I decided not 2 take it further becuz I didn’t want 2b ostracized— par 4 the course when the predator has power n influence. I let it go. And I understand why many women who this happens to let it go. […] I understand and empathize with those who have remained silent.”
Ferrera spoke about the importance of speaking out.
This abuse of power must be called out, however powerful the abuser, and we must publicly stand with those brave enough to come forward. https://t.co/9jAAZtfjJe
— America Ferrera (@AmericaFerrera) October 6, 2017
Veteran and extremely talented actor Jefffrey Wright spoke about the fact that for years Weinstein was allowed to exhibit this type of behavior and his company protected him.
Man, this is all kinds of wrong. Zero accountability until now. https://t.co/sxcZYJe5Vt
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) October 10, 2017