Male athletes, musicians, directors, producers, doctors – these are all men in power, which is not a bad thing. However, when that power is taken for granted, it becomes a disaster. That is what happened in the Harvey Weinstein scandal, in which a Hollywood producer was accused of sexually assaulting a number of actresses.
It is also said that while allegations have just recently come out, people in the industry have known about it for years, but have kept hush about it. While a scandal like this may be unfortunately common in our society, it revisits a topic that has also been common, whether it is acknowledged or left in the dark. That is the topic of privilege, more specifically, the power of privilege among men in power.
Stories have come up over the years, where notable figures have received special treatment – people keeping quiet about their wrongdoings – simply because of their status. It’s believed that Weinstein’s has been known in Hollywood for years. However, because of his status, he’s been off the hook for so long. This isn’t a new situation, as an example of privilege shows up in the Bill Cosby scandal as well. But it’s important to note that Hollywood isn’t the only place where privilege can be used to a bad advantage.
A significant example of this was found in the Baylor rape scandal last year which nearly let football players that were accused of rape off the hook simply because of the fact that they were football players, and getting the football players in trouble would be bad for the football team.
This incident is one of the more notorious college football scandals ever, as the entire Baylor football program has been sailed into the gutters inevitably for good. What was the most disappointing aspect of this scandal was that the coaches and athletic managers knew about it, and kept it hidden from the public.
The Weinstein Scandal is nearly the same as the Baylor Scandal: it involves men in power letting that power go to their heads and people protecting them from getting in trouble by it. Even more recently Hollywood director James Toback was accused of assaulting multiple women in the industry. While the accusations haven’t been fully developed yet, this is just another example of a male with the power of privilege.
Power that goes to a person’s head doesn’t just turn out to be a disaster for that person; it also becomes a disaster to everyone around that person. And that’s what happened in each of these cases. These men in power took advantage of that power and for years, rather than being punished, they were protected.