The recently appointed oracle of our nation, late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel, has chosen to fall silent when it comes to sexual harassment. Perhaps his left-wing politics have something to do with it.
After an explosive New York Times exposé revealed extensive sexual-harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, neither Kimmel nor any other late-night host said a word about it. This collective amnesia seems to have affected not just our cadre of progressive comedians, but most of the liberals in pop culture and politics, who aren’t quite ready to bare their claws against one of their own.
The reason likely has something to do with Weinstein’s wealth and power, not to mention his lifelong embrace of the Democratic party. The influential producer has been a familiar face in progressive circles for decades; over the last 30 years, he has given about $769,000 to their causes and candidates.
Weinstein’s swanky dinners have raked in plenty of funding for liberal politicians. He recently met with California senator Kamala Harris in the Hamptons. There’s a picture making the rounds of Hillary Clinton chumming it up with Weinstein at a 2012 gala, standing with her hands playfully on his chest. (Weinstein donated to Clinton’s campaigns ten times between 1999 and 2016.)
Even though prominent women — including actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan — have publicly detailed his inappropriate behavior toward them, and despite his own bizarre public apology, Weinstein has announced that he’ll sue the Times over Thursday’s story. According to Weinstein’s attorney, the investigative article was “saturated with false and defamatory statements” and “relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report.” Any proceeds Weinstein wins in the course of the suit will be donated to “women’s organizations.”
If the piece was false and defamatory, however, one has to wonder why Weinstein openly admitted in his statement that he had to recruit “a team of people” to teach him how to control his twisted inclinations. His statement concluded with an incoherent paragraph in which the producer attempted to deflect attention away from his own misbehavior and toward the National Rifle Association, pledging to channel his “anger” over his own mistakes into fighting for gun control. Apparently some of his anger will now be directed at the Times as well.
Weinstein’s statement concluded with an incoherent paragraph in which he attempted to deflect attention away from his own misbehavior and toward the National Rifle Association.
Even though big-name Democrats are hastening to dump Weinstein’s donations as if the cash were on fire, some progressives are still shilling for the powerful exec. Weinstein is currently being advised for free by Anita Dunn, managing director of the Democratic PR firm SKDKnickerbocker, which did extensive work for Planned Parenthood after damaging undercover videos alleged that the group was involved in illegal fetal-tissue trafficking. Dunn also served as White House communications director under Barack Obama.
Weinstein hired Lisa Bloom, the woman who orchestrated the campaign to oust Bill O’Reilly from Fox News after sexual-harassment allegations emerged against him. Bloom also represented several victims in the harassment cases against Bill Cosby. In her statement, Bloom seemed to give Weinstein something of a pass for his behavior, calling him “an old dinosaur learning new ways.” (She resigned on Saturday after coming under considerable criticism.)
Hollywood and the Democratic party have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to condemn sexual harassers, pulling out all the stops to rake Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, and Donald Trump over the coals — and rightly so. But on Weinstein’s misdeeds, those same voices have fallen silent. In spite of progressive virtue signaling, many on the left value political loyalty more than they cherish principle.
— Alexandra DeSanctis is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute.