Culture Clips: Fall of a Hollywood Kingpin

Harvey Weinstein

The bigger you are, the harder you fall goes the old cliché. But in Harvey Weinstein’s case, that seems to be true.

Weinstein, one of Hollywood’s most successful kingmakers, was summarily ousted from his namesake movie distribution company after The New York Times revealed that the producer had been the subject of several sexual harassment allegations, including one by Ashley Judd. Once those allegations were made public, several other women—including such A-list stars as Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie—said they too had been harassed, and some allege that Weinstein sexually assaulted them. Others suggest that Weinstein’s behavior was an “open secret,” but Weinstein avoided court for decades through a series of settlements.

The fallout, obviously, could be huge, with some lawyers saying that the Weinstein Co. is “on the hook just like him.” Many suggest that the award-prospects for Weinstein-backed films such as Wind River and The Current War, both thought to be Oscar hopefuls, are now DOA. And some wonder whether Hollywood itself was complicit in Weinstein’s alleged misconduct. The infamous “casting couch” has been a part of Hollywood lore from the earliest days of the industry, and The Daily Beast notes that other directors with sexual skeletons in the closet are still well regarded and working. Actors Matt Damon and Russell Crowe found themselves part of the scandal after accusations surfaced that he helped squelch a story on Weinstein’s malfeasance in 2004. (Damon has since denied trying to squelch anything.)

But Weinstein’s not the only one dealing with allegations of sexual crimes. Singer Kesha accused music producer Dr. Luke of sexually assaulting and harassing her, and fellow pop star Pink came Kesha’s defense this week: “I know that regardless of whether or not Dr. Luke did that, this is his karma and he earned it because he’s not a good person,” she said.

Oh, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is dealing with blowback of an entirely different kind after taking a chipper-looking “virtual tour” of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. (He’s since apologized.)

Meanwhile, the entertainment industry is still dealing with the aftermath of the shooting in Las Vegas. Netflix pulled The Punisher from New York Comic-Con in the wake of the shooting, and country music stars have been marking the tragedy and eulogizing its victims in a variety of ways, according to Christianity Today. Meanwhile, HBO’s Sesame Street has crafted a new initiative to help kids deal with trauma, and while the initiative was in the planning stages well before Las Vegas, the timing for some grieving and worried families might be advantageous.

No wonder most of us are feeling exhausted: Stress is taking its toll but so is social media, according to experts. “Social media can run the gamut from being fabulously uplifting to being totally depressing and exhausting,” Dr. Patricia Bratt told USA Today. “And this applies to all ages.” Yes, technology can be pretty cool … but it can be pretty cold, too.

But if you feel that technology isn’t tiring and stressful enough, good news! the Tamagotchi—a virtual “pet” that took childhood by storm in the late 1990s and requires around-the-clock feeding and loving—is coming back! You can get yours for $15.

And I guess we may be thankful that Mattel pulled the plug on Aristotle—a voice-activated “assistant” for kids. Mattel said the Wi-Fi-connected thingamabob was designed to “comfort, entertain, teach and assist during each development state—evolving with a child as their needs change.” But privacy advocates noted that, to do its job, Aristotle would need to compile a massive database on each of its subjects and, perhaps, send all the info right back to Mattel. “It appears that never before has a device had the capability to so intimately look into the life of a child,” wrote Democrat Senator Ed Marky and Republican Representative Joe Barton to Mattel, outlining their concerns.

(And if you won’t worry about technology warping childhood, you can always fret about the ongoing scary clown epidemic, which has apparently migrated to Israel.)

Yep, it’s hard to be a kid today—especially if you’re a child star. Stranger Things star Winona Ryder knows all about that, and she’s pretty grateful to have grown up in a less connected time. “I’m grateful that I got to start at the time I did. As much as I love it, I don’t know if I would even have become an actor [if I was starting out now]. … I wouldn’t know how to [handle it]. I do worry about the massive exposure at that age.”

But some current child stars seem to take it all in stride. Take Brooklynn Prince, the 7-year-old dynamo who powers The Florida Project and is already sparking buzz of a Oscar nomination. She credits her mom and dad for giving her the confidence to do what she does. And even though she curses quite a bit in the movie, Prince says she only uses such language on screen.

“My mom didn’t raise me that way,” she tells The Daily Beast. “We were strong Christian people. We are. She was like, ‘We can’t say this word. And do not do that.’ It wasn’t hard for me. But I grew up being a nice girl, and I’m very blessed to be a Christian.”

Let’s close with an update on a bit of news we reported last week—the return of Szechuan sauce, thanks to the animated show Rick and Morty’s obsession with the stuff. McDonald’s promised to bring it back, but it did so in super-limited quantities. Scads of Szechuan sauce fans were turned away, sauceless, leading mobs around some McDonald’s restaurants to chant, “We want sauce!” Police were called in to handle the fury at some locations, and one policeman allegedly told an angry crowd, “Return to your homes. They do not have the sauce.”

Now, single sauce packets being resold on eBay for hundreds of dollars. No word about whether they even come with nuggets.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Alex Clark More than 1 year ago
One thing that is bugging me in the wake of the Weinstein scandal is all the articles being written which basically amount to "If you condemn Weinstein for what he did, then you also should condemn *insert celebrity name here*, or else your a hypocrite", were the celebrity is whoever the particular author significantly dislikes.  
Evan Weisensel More than 1 year ago

Here's my two cents on the whole Szechuan sauce incident:

When you step into the Rick and Morty fandom realm, you're not going any old place. You're coming to the underground fight club of intellect. Prepare to be mentally battered. But don't worry, after you've spent your newbie time being cognitively pummeled, you'll have joined the ranks of the mental elite. 

Then you'll see the world for what it truly is. All those people going around without a thought in their head. You'll hate it. You'll become just like him. And you'll start loving it. The power of intelligence, of absolute intellectual superiority. It'll become a high you chase, constantly learning and experimenting. 

You'll finally be a Rick.

[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Evan Weisensel More than 1 year ago
Thanks! It's a bit of a goof, so don't take it too seriously. :)
Evan Weisensel More than 1 year ago
Also, you wanna join and underground intellectual fight club with me?