Harvey Weinstein Says He's the Real Victim

In his first public interview since more than 80 women accused him of sexual assault, Weinstein whines that his “pioneering” film work was been forgotten

a photo of Harvey Weinstein with his hands cuffed behind his back
(Photo: Getty Images)

In truly infuriating and rage-inducing news, Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced former Hollywood movie mogul who has been accused of sexually assaulting more than 80 women and is currently facing charges of rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse, and sexual misconduct is claiming he is the real victim in the aftermath of his alleged victims going public.

In his first public interview since allegations against him came to light in October 2017, the 67-year-old alleged rapist told the New York Post he should be remembered for doing more professionally for women than anyone in history, rather than being remembered for the despicable allegations made against him.

“I feel like the forgotten man,” he reportedly told the Post. “I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago. I’m not talking about now when it’s vogue. I did it first! I pioneered it! It all got eviscerated because of what happened. My work has been forgotten.”

Read this next: The Disturbingly Long List of All the Women Who Have Accused Harvey Weinstein (So Far)

To further prove his point, Weinstein proceeded to brag about his “forgotten” works to the Post, citing 2003’s View from the Top starring Gwyneth Paltrow (who publicly accused Weinstein of soliciting sexual massages from her when she was 22), along with the social justice-focused films, Paris Is Burning and Transamerica.

“Gwyneth Paltrow in 2003 got $10 million to make a movie called View from the Top,” he reportedly said, adding, “She was the highest-paid female actor in an independent film. Higher-paid than all the men.”

And though he refused to address the allegations against him, he did take the time to remind the Post of the times he “flexed his humanitarian muscle” and helped produce a charity concert that raised $100 million for first responders from 9/11.

 

The Post reports that Weinstein “remained the characteristic bully” throughout the interview, threatening to end the sit-down each time a question he didn’t like was asked. And to be honest, we’re not exactly shocked by his comments or his reluctance to accept responsibility. Weinstein has long been a man in power—a man wealthy enough to “pay off” any (warranted) bad press against him to keep himself in said position of power.

By playing the victim card, Weinstein is attempting to make his victims the offenders

Weinstein’s comments are a classic case of DARVO, which is the response observed in many perpetrators when accused of misconduct: Deny the abuse, Attack the victim for attempting to make them accountable for their offence, thereby Reversing Victim and Offender.

In calling himself the “forgotten man,” Weinstein is attempting to earn sympathy from others by saying his achievements are being ignored and insinuating that women are ungrateful for the “help” he gave them in their careers, never mind the alleged abuse he made these women endure in return.

By refusing to talk about the allegations against him, and attacking the victims for his failed career, Weinstein is making himself the victim, and his alleged victims the offenders.

Read this next: From Chanel Miller to Rowena Chiu, Asian Women Bring an Important Viewpoint to #MeToo

As Jennifer Freyd, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon who is credited with coining the term DARVO, writes, “[T]he offender rapidly creates the impression that the abuser is the wronged one, while the victim or concerned observer is the offender. Figure and ground are completely reversed… The offender is on the offence and the person attempting to hold the offender accountable is put on the defence.”

And Weinstein isn’t the only powerful white man to engage in DARVO

As author Claire Heuchan noted on Twitter, Weinstein’s claim of being a “forgotten man” is “a stark reminder that powerful white men are so unused [to] facing negative consequences for their acts of sexual violence that to them it feels like being discriminated against.”

And indeed, Weinstein’s not the only powerful white man to have engaged in DARVO behaviour—it seems to be a common reaction by men who are so blinded by their own privilege that any kind of criticism feels like discrimination.

Take Brett Kavanaugh for example. When confronted with Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations of attempted rape, he appeared visually distraught, crying crocodile tears while claiming his entire life—career, reputation, home, marriage and family—had been permanently and irrevocably destroyed.

When former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, later self-identified as Chanel Miller, near a dumpster, his father Dan A. Turner wrote a letter to Judge Aaron Persky before his son’s sentencing saying his “life has been deeply altered forever by the events… He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going(sic) personality and welcoming smile. His every waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear, and depression. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”

Oh, and let’s not forget about U.S. President Donald Trump, who is forever playing the victim card and who believes the entire world is out to get him.

Despite Weinstein’s attempts to sway society’s view of him, people aren’t having it—particularly his accusers

It’s clear that Weinstein is trying to manipulate or change society’s view of him ahead of his criminal trial in January 2020. The interview comes shortly after the alleged sexual predator underwent a three-hour spinal surgery for a back injury he sustained in an August 2019 car accident. Weinstein, who was photographed using a walker during a court appearance in New York last week, said he agreed to do the interview to prove he hasn’t been exaggerating about his ailments. “I want this city to recognize who I was instead of what I’ve become,” he reportedly said.

But his accusers are not staying silent, and have already spoken out about Weinstein’s infuriating interview. On Sunday evening, 23 of the women who made public accusations against the former producer issued a response to his interview under the collective moniker “The Silence Breakers.”

“Harvey Weinstein is trying to gaslight society again,” read the letter posted on the Time’s Up Twitter account. “He says in a new interview he doesn’t want to be forgotten. Well, he won’t be. He will be remembered as a sexual predator and an unrepentant abuser who took everything and deserves nothing. He will be remembered by the collective will of countless women who stood up and said enough. We refuse to let this predator rewrite his legacy of abuse.”

Rose McGowan, one of the first women to publicly speak out against Weinstein, claiming he sexually assaulted her in a hotel in 1997 and sued him over his alleged attempts to silence her rape claims, took to her Twitter account to further voice her opinion on Weinstein’s comments.

“I didn’t forget you, Harvey,” she wrote. “My body didn’t forget you. I wish it could. I refused to sign an NDA after it happened because I knew I would come for you. And I did. This is about stopping a prolific rapist. You.”

Rosanna Arquette, another Weinstein accuser who alleges the former producer tried to sexually assault her in the ’90s, also expressed she would not forget Weinstein, tweeting, “I’ll never forget when you Harvey Weinstein… when you told me that I was making a big mistake. I’ll never forget when you told me look what you did for an Oscar winners career (a lie). I’ll never forget the fear and deep trauma of [American actress] Annabella Sciorra’s voice on the other end of the phone because she was raped by you.”

And Douglas H. Wigdor, the lawyer who is representing three women who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, is calling the interview a “public relations stunt.”

“One cannot feel sorry for Mr. Weinstein while he sits perched in an executive private hospital suite and asks New Yorkers to recognize his prior accomplishments which justifiably have been overshadowed by his horrific actions, his complete failure to accept responsibility, and his recent efforts to force survivors to accept an inadequate and paltry civil settlement,” he said in a statement posted by the Post.

So no, Harvey Weinstein is not the forgotten man. He will always be remembered as one of many powerful white men who used his power to take advantage of women by allegedly abusing, harassing and preying on them. Weinstein created this legacy for himself, and that’s what he should be remembered for.

Read this next: How I’m Navigating the Weinstein News Cycle as a Survivor and Advocate

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