Op-Ed: One lesson from the Weinstein case is that men like me must speak out about abuse
As I discussed in my columns last week, in the last year the New York Times and the New Yorker have published stories documenting the sexual abuse of children at the Hollywood film studio Miramax, at the University of Southern California where former coach Mike Ditka was director of athletics and at the Catholic high school in New Rochelle, N.Y., that was the home of Michael Naughton.
I spoke with Naughton in April about his abuse at his Catholic high school and his subsequent discovery at the age of 8 that he had been abused by a teacher in the school’s athletic program, and the extent of the abuse his parents knew about. Since that interview, I’ve written a column about Naughton’s harrowing story for CNN about the impact of the #MeToo movement. But the #MeToo movement and the attention it’s brought to a series of Hollywood’s biggest names — Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Louis CK, and others — has been less focused on the abuse these men may have suffered in the past, than it is on the abuse they continue to suffer in the present. And that’s a message that needs to be delivered to those who still believe they can get away with it.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, there are plenty of prominent men who have been exposed as abusers or have faced criminal charges for sexual abuse that need to be publicly and publicly shamed at the same time as we demand that the powerful men — even if they’re among the most powerful men in the world — who were recently implicated in the #MeToo movement must be punished for their crimes.
The Weinstein and Spacey cases are emblematic of men who remain in positions of power, often abusing those in positions of power, like the young men who spoke to me in April on a flight to Washington, D.C., for a public hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
In a press conference on Tuesday, lawmakers and witnesses grilled executives from the movie and television industry about sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of men in their employ, which included the powerful Harvey Weinstein.
Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, was