We should acknowledge that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has at long last done the right thing by voting to expel Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from the Oscars organization. To show how far attitudes have shifted on tolerating sexual harassment and sexual assault in Hollywood, the vote to expel came less than a week after Cosby was found guilty on three charges of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004.
By contrast, the ejection of Polanski comes exactly 40 years after he pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, then fled to Europe to avoid punishment (that was a plea bargain charge; what he was actually accused of doing was drugging and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl.) It also comes 15 years after the Academy honored him with a Best Director Oscar and some of the same stars who recently gave themselves standing ovations for speaking up against sexual predators gave Polanski a standing ovation. They also patted themselves on the back for defiantly defending his artistic prowess against us intolerant conservatives who never believed that being talented at directing or acting was an excuse for raping anyone, let alone children (note to Polanski: let children alone!) It’s nice to see that it took only four decades for the celebrities who lecture us mere mortals on our inferior, unenlightened morals to agree with us on that point.
But while the “Me Too” movement has finally scored a major court victory against a Hollywood celebrity, shamed the Oscar people into ejecting rapists, and claimed a number of scalps in the acting and TV news realms, there’s one place you’d expect to be ultra-sensitive to mistreatment of women, yet the movement seems to have stalled there. That’s in the Democratic Party, which lionizes Bill Clinton and Ted “Cocktail Waitress sandwich” Kennedy.
For a brief period, there was a flurry of women coming forward to complain about sexual harassment or worse by Democratic political figures and the lack of outrage over it from a party that seems to have a bottomless supply of outrage. The movement claimed a couple of powerful liberal legislators in Al Franken and John Conyers. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand dared finally to address the donkey in the room by asking why the party had so long ignored and demeaned the many women who have made very disturbing allegations against Bill Clinton. But recently, all that seems to have quietened down and gone away. Sen. Gillibrand has even backed off, even though nothing has changed in terms of what Clinton’s accusers have to say about him. So what happened?
Turns out it wasn’t an accident or a natural fading of interest. As Daniel Greenfield of Front Page Magazine reports, the squelching of the “Me Too” movement within the Democratic Party was the result of a concerted, ruthless counter-attack plan involving pressure from donors, threats to careers and counter-accusations against the accusers. Like moderate Democrats who speak out against Nancy Pelosi then somehow end up voting for her, they faced a Hobson’s choice: shut up and get back in line or get out of politics. You can read the sordid details at the link.
Does it make you furious? Me, too.
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