Backlight: Further Weinstein Repercussions and Twitter Boycotts

These past two weeks it’s become increasingly clear that Hollywood is run by a handful of rich, disgusting, decrepit old white men; luckily, many in Hollywood are now coming forward to criticize the culture of abuse and harassment. Here’s hoping all these painful conversations will lead to further change in the industry. We also have creators who are working hard to put out diverse and inclusive projects, affecting the industry in their own positive ways.

Harvey Weinstein and Harassment in Hollywood

The repercussions of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s investigative New York Times piece on Harvey Weinstein continued to balloon outwards this week, with actresses and actors speaking up about sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct within the film industry.

In a follow-up, New York Times published an article containing numerous accounts of actresses being harassed by Weinstein, with Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette, and French star Judith Godrèche among them. Cara Delevingne, Kate Beckinsale, and Eva Green later came forward, and even Terry Crews recounted his own experience getting harassed by a now-deceased studio exec. Crews, who never spoke up about this before now, expressed sympathy for why so many victims remain silent.

Writer Moisés Chiullán agreed with Crews, saying the rampant abuse in the industry is exactly why he left the acting profession. Several notable actors also condemned Weinstein; unsurprisingly, it’s difficult to gauge the sincerity of many of them. Ben Affleck, in particular, has been called out for harassing actresses in the past, and for defending his own accused brother, Casey.

Through all of this Charmed actress Rose McGowan rose up as the most vocal critic of Weinstein, demanding on Twitter that Weinstein Co. dissolved its board and advertisers pull all funding for their films. (Amazon has since canceled two Weinstein Company projects.) McGowan’s stake in this is very personal; she alleges that Weinstein raped her back in 1997. She is the fourth woman to come forth with such an accusation.

McGowan’s Twitter account was briefly suspended after she tweeted a screenshot of an email where a prominent person’s phone number was visible. She was quickly reinstated, but a call went out for women to boycott Twitter for a day to protest its policies. The hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter was used to spread the word.

On the flip side of this, many women of color called out the hypocrisy of organizing now, only now, and not when Jemele Hill was suspended from her job for her tweets, or when Leslie Jones was harassed off the platform simply for starring in Ghostbusters, for example. Many also pointed out that silence is exactly what abusive men want.

As a result, while many (white) women left Twitter for a day, many others used the opportunity to amplify the voices and work of women of color using the hashtags #AmplifyWomen and #WOCAffirmation.

Both movements seemed to be successful; many women of color used the day to positively community build and reaffirm each other, while the boycott caught CEO Jack Dorsey’s attention. He claims Twitter is working on implementing “new rules around: unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorify violence.”

Cool Projects by Cool People

A spy film starring a woman and written by a woman of color? Count us in. Keira Knightley is set to star in a yet-to-be-titled film by Camilla Blackett, whose writing credits include New Girl and Fresh Off the Boat.

The CW is rebooting teen alien drama Roswell; this time it’ll focus on a young woman who’s the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants. Carina Adly MacKenzie, who also wrote CW’s The Originals, will write and executive produce.

Spike Lee’s 1986 She’s Gotta Have It film is getting a new take on Netflix, this time as a ten episode series. Netflix’s official synopsis of the project says the series will focus on “Nola Darling, a Brooklyn-based artist in her late twenties struggling to define herself and divide her time amongst her Friends, her Job, and her Three Lovers.”

Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of Gilmore Girls, is back with a new Amazon show titled The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The show will tell the story of Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a 1950s Jewish woman who goes through a divorce and decides to try stand-up comedy.

Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight) and Lil Rel Howery (Get Out) have joined the cast of Birdbox, a post-apocalyptic film starring Sandra Bullock.

Erica Armstrong Dunbar’s book Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, has been optioned for a film. The book tells the story of twenty-two-year-old Ona, who did everything in her power to escape from President George Washington himself, who circumvented laws in order to hold on to his slaves.


Project Joy, started by Mumbai-based filmmaker Suchita Bhhatia, aims to have open conversations about mental health problems in India. Project Joy published a series of four films for Mental Health Day on October 10; you can watch the series on YouTube.

John Constantine is coming to Legends of Tomorrow season and like his comic book counterpart he’ll finally be portrayed as canonically bisexual.

Early reviews of Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok are overwhelmingly positive, thank god. Tessa Thompson has also called for an all women team-up film, a la Lady Liberators. Come through, Marvel.

Gretchen Smail

Gretchen Smail

Gretchen lives and works in SF as a freelancer. If not at work, is probably off eating ramen, petting dogs, or attempting yoga. Tweets too much at @ubeempress.

2 thoughts on “Backlight: Further Weinstein Repercussions and Twitter Boycotts

  1. As someone who works in the movie industry, I can tell you sexual harassment happens at all levels. I have even had a (married!!) actor harass me on set, though I shut him down quickly and he had the sense to be very embarrassed thereafter. I think it helped that the other men around me were laughing at him. That being said, I’m not trying to make a career out of what I do, so I feel free to fight back. If I thought this was my livelihood on the line, then it would be a different story. I have in the past called out other men for harassment when they were doing it to women I knew couldn’t afford to speak up. Not only is your career on the line, many sets require you to sign an NDA covering all things that happen on set. You could be in legal trouble for saying anything. Rose McGowan lost her agent over JUST leaking sexist script notes for an Adam Sandler audition.

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