By Josh Tarpley
There is no simple answer (nor should there be), but the movie industry and its fans are dealing with a central question: How do we move forward after Harvey Weinstein? Not “how do we get over this bad headline and get back to our escapist art?” But, after everything we know (And are continuing to learn), how do we come to terms with this man’s actions and how do we stop it from happening again? The remaining PR team over at The Weinstein Company (Still waiting on that name change) are taking some action to separate their films from the man, and I have some thoughts on how Hollywood’s biggest night ought to deal with this.
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In the wake of the Weinstein scandal, the first business-related casualty was Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s film, “The Current War.” The film (Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon) was poised to be the company’s major Oscar player this season. Instead of trying to balance perhaps the worst scandal in Hollywood history and run a successful Oscar campaign (With the word “Weinstein” on everything), the company opted for an unnamed release date next year.
It is entirely possible for The Weinstein Company to simply change their name as it is for it to fold entirely. Productions like “The Current War” will be forced to find new life under a new roof and the future is completely open.
While future productions are worried about ever seeing release, current (And past) Weinstein productions are looking for ways to disassociate themselves from the company who funded them. The Hollywood Reporter has learned that “Leap!,” “Tulip Fever” and “Wind River” will have the company’s title card removed from upcoming home video releases. The Oscar team behind “Wind River” would love to see their film find the same success as “Hell Or High Water,” and having their awards screeners branded with “Weinstein” is not the way to do that.
As we have seen in the past month, the issue of sexual harassment and assault is not limited simply to Harvey Weinstein. Victims are going public with their stories and the perpetrators have been found at all levels of the movie making business. I believe this upcoming Oscars ceremony should address this issue in a deliberate manner, with the goal of calling out the problem and driving the conversation towards a better tomorrow.
Yes, Weinstein has been a huge player in the Oscar game for decades, but we call the Academy Awards “Hollywood’s Biggest Night,” and all of Hollywood needs to come together to bring reform. Jimmy Kimmel should learn from the horrible example of James Corden and not make jokes out of Weinstein’s behavior. New Academy President John Bailey should make a lengthy statement on how Weinstein’s Academy membership was stripped and what they will do to build a more inclusive business. If there are victims who feel comfortable going public, they should have ample time to tell their stories.
For better or worse, the movies and awards shows we love are now part of the battle for the safety of victims, we cannot just “move on” from this. Trying to sweep this under the rug in the name of “entertainment” is how we got ourselves into this mess in the first place. Keep the conversation going, believe the testimony of victims, and keep the pressure up to see a better movie industry moving forward.
You can follow Josh and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @JoshTarpley7