Harvey Weinstein

From Rose McGowan to Ariane Bellamar, more women are revealing their sexual abuse ordeal in the hands of celebrated A-list stars in the American film industry. Not too long ago, a group of women in the Animation Guild penned an open letter calling for more actions to be taken against sexual predators in the workplace. Their actions were influenced by the piling number of sexual allegations against prominent Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein.

After the New York Times released a report that chronicled how the disgraced producer sexually harassed women in the industry, a floodgate of accusations opened. Over 40 women including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lupita Nyong’o had come forward to say they were also victims of Weinstein’s harassment. On Twitter, hashtag #MeToo is used to encourage victims of the Hollywood mogul to speak out.

Weinstein rose to fame in the 80s when his co-founded independent film distribution company Miramax, acquired the rights to two British films of benefit shows filmed for Amnesty International. Their brilliant tweaking of the films into one compelling narrative entitled ‘The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball’ earned them their first taste of success. A string of successes followed with more films and Tony Awards,fetching them Oscars and Tony Awards.
However, in 1993, Weinstein and his brother Bob who co-founded Miramax sold their ownership rights to Disney while still retaining their head positions at Miramax. But by 2005, they left the company to form their own production company, The Weinstein Company which recently fired him.

Following the recent accusations, Weinstein have been disrobed of his Hollywood clout. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled him, British Academy of Film and Television Arts suspended him, the Producers Guild of America board of directors voted unanimously to terminate his membership, the Writers Guild of America condemned his conduct, and the British Film Institute stripped him of its prestigious fellowship.

Although the producer denied all accusations and rumoured to have checked into rehab, the mounting accusations against him have called for an investigation by different police departments.

It is against this backdrop that the women in animation called for a change in how they are treated sexually at the workplace. They demanded that every studio puts in place clear and enforceable sexual harassment policies and takes every report seriously; the Animation Guild should add language to their constitution that states it can censure, fine, suspend or expel any member of the guild who is find guilty of such conduct; and urge their male colleagues to start speaking up and standing up for women who are victimised.

“It has not been easy for us to share our stories”, the letter reads, “Many of us were afraid because our victimizers are powerful or well-liked. Others were worried that if they came forward it would affect their careers. Some of us have come forward in the past, only to have our concerns brushed aside or our supervisors tell us ‘he’s just from a different era’.

“It is with this in mind that we resolve to do anything we can to prevent anyone else from being victimised. We are united in our mission to wipe out sexual harassment in the animation industry, and will no longer be silent.”