There seems to be no shortage of news about Harvey Weinstein. Reports and allegations of sexual harassment and rape committed by the now disgraced Hollywood producer have been growing by the days, and don't show any signs of stopping. Women in the entertainment industry have been stepping forward to share their own stories of encounters with Weinstein, or other instances of abuse by men in power. But women aren't the only ones speaking up in light of the Weinstein scandal. Men have also been stepping up to either show their support for these women or condemning the producer, like director J.J. Abrams.
Abrams attended the Hammer Museum's annual Gala in the Garden in Los Angeles to introduce fellow director Ava DuVernay, who was being honored at the star-studded event. But before the Star Wars: The Force Awakens director presented DuVernay, Abrams had a few words to say about Weinstein:
"Someone said to me the other day that they are sick of hearing people talk about how disgusting it is. I don't think enough can be said about how viciously repulsive his abuse of power was. He's a monster. There are other monsters but there are those who fight monsters and tonight is all about those who fight monsters."
Abrams isn't the only one to criticize #HarveyWeinstein. In fact, The Family Guy creator and comedian Seth MacFarlane had called out the producer in a much more subtle way back in 2013 when he hosted the Oscars. MacFarlane took to Twitter last week to reveal the truth behind a joke he made about Weinstein during the ceremony, which, in light of recent events, is extremely unsettling:
You can also watch a clip of MacFarlane taking a hard jab at Weinstein below:
Since the New York Times broke the story about the Weinstein scandal, more than 30 women have come forward, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan, and most recently Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey. The many stories shared by these women, and other women who have been subjected to harassment or sexual assault by men in power, points to a larger problem of not only abuse but an accepted silence on the issue. What a lot of these women's experiences have in common is the idea that if they spoke up and tried to fight back against the gross injustice and humiliation they would be victim shamed, seen as overreacting, or worse — no one would believe them or take what they've been through seriously.
If there's anything to take away from the Weinstein scandal it's raising an awareness on a problem that hasn't gone away, and is a lot more common than we think it is. Sexual harassment and assault aren't isolated incidents that only happen in Hollywood — it can happen in any situation or any work environment. The way forward is to stop claiming women were "asking for it," and instead put a stop to the men who think it's acceptable to treat women in a certain way and then believe they'll get away with it — as Weinstein and other men like him have gotten away with for years. The time for women to remain silent is over.