The moral vigilantes are on a witch hunt

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Pradip Rodrigues

One may as well write an obituary for Harvey Weinstein the brains behind some of the greatest Hollywood movies like Shakespeare in Love, Gangs of New York and a slew of other multiple award-winning films. He could’ve embezzled millions, ruined thousands of people financially or perhaps have physically beaten up other men and he may well have been given a second chance after rehabilitation. But no, he sexually assaulted some women a sin that calls for his total professional destruction. Five years from now Weinstein may emerge rehabilitated, even his Creator will have forgiven him after he’s paid big time for his sins but do you think the guardians of morality would ever give him the opportunity to use his significant talent? He is a walking dead man and nothing he can do will ever be enough punishment for his sins. Could he be capable of one of the greatest movies ever made? Perhaps, but we will never know because he will never be given the opportunity to entertain us again.

Look at how the guardians turned on Bill Cosby seeking not just to ruin him financially and professionally but also to ensure he goes to his grave in disgrace. These are flawed men and stress, pressure and absolute power can make most people do and say things that are against everything they would otherwise stand for.

Jian Ghomeshi, another fantastic CBC host who still has years of great talent in him is operating on the margins of the net. Ditto Fox TVs top host Bill O’Reilly and the late Roger Ailes the man who shaped careers and changed the cable news network.

Look what happened to Dominique Gaston André Strauss-Kahn the man who headed the IMF and may have been France’s President. He lost it all when he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in NYC.
I am not advocating that these men in positions of power should be let off lightly because of their potential and contributions to society. Of course they need to be punished but here’s the thing, we have liberal advocates who stress the need to rehabilitate criminals and let them become contributing members of society. We give child molesters the chance to integrate into neighborhoods after they’ve done time and proved they have changed their ways. Even terrorists or suspected terrorists could now expect sympathy if they had mental health issues. I suspect even these powerful men have some mental issues they need to sort out, so why don’t they deserve a second chance if not some sympathy?

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Why don’t we give these men in power the opportunity to comeback after they’ve been punished and have taken steps to change?

When it comes to celebrities and top movers and shakers who sexually assault or harass women in the workplace, society in 2017 will condemn them to professional death.

The women who complain are often highly educated and come from higher socio-economic backgrounds. They are ambitious and naturally then seek out mentors or anyone who can help further their career. The way I see it most men and women in the workplace have to prostitute themselves in some way or the other. I see people with good moral and social values look the other way when they see a fellow colleague singled out by management or put through unnecessary mental anguish because the paycheck is more important than upholding a sense of what’s right and wrong. Millions of office workers have to endure mental stress from having to work at jobs where they endure some form of exploitation.

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The difference is that most men and women who’ve been exploited financially, wounded mentally and have suffered medical problems as a result of office bullying or worse don’t have the opportunity to fight back. The ‘victim’ of the boss’ sexual advances will go along if it is worth her time and it gets her where she needs to be professionally.

This may in part explain why women who come out against powerful men do so when they are a little past their prime and have little or nothing to lose except gain a whole lot of publicity for their ‘bravery’. Who knows these actors could all get together and even star in a reality show one day and profit from their harrowing experiences.

The women who hung around Jian Ghomeshi at his prime mostly wanted something from him-contacts, a break and publicity or just got taken in by his celebrity status and personality. If Jian wasn’t Jian or Harvey Weinstein wasn’t who he was, these women would’ve extricated themselves in a hurry and moved on to someone really worth the while.

While it is a well-documented fact that men in positions of power often use it go get what they need, most of the time it is maintaining and getting even more powerful but at times they make a mistake, if it is of a sexual nature, rarely will they recover from it.

“How do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking?” she said. “Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and sexuality?”

Fashion designer Donna Karan had a point when she said (and was promptly slammed for it), “You look at everything all over the world today, how women are dressing and what they’re asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.”

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Men in positions of power rarely ever complain about seductive women who tease or flirt with them because they mostly enjoy the attention. That’s the problem. No one really questions why women looking for a break in any profession would accompany their boss alone on an out of town assignment or would spend hours being ‘coached’ alone with the boss or spend a weekend at a conference, again alone with a boss. If it went off alright, no woman would bravely come forward to out the boss.

Depending on their fortunes they will do whatever it takes to get ahead and if not they can simply report the ‘crime’ in real time rather than decades or years later. That would seem more genuine, don’t you think?

While there is no doubt in my mind that being sexually assaulted or having to fend of pawing men in the workplace is traumatic, I would also like to add that being exploited, underpaid, overworked and kept on the edge by managements ranks up there too. So a manager or a company owner could potentially professionally destroy dozens of employees, bully them and cause them needless grief and stress and get away with it. However if he is makes a pass at the wrong employee or makes some sexual advances he could be the next Harvey Weinstein.

I am all for people like Mr Weinstein and Mr Ghomeshi to be brought to their knees for their disgusting behavior, but let them contribute their talents to society after they’ve been punished. And also while on the subject, lets also have some recourse for employees who are psychologically traumatized by men and women in power to a point that they suffer a loss of self-esteem and come close to a nervous breakdown.

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