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Judgment Day: Harvey Weinstein Scandal Could Finally Probably Won’t Change Hollywood’s Culture of Secrecy

(Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)

and report:  Harvey Weinstein’s implosion has been cathartic for Lauren Sivan, one of the dozens of women who have come forward in recent days alleging that the once-celebrated mogul was a serial sexual harasser and abuser. It’s a moment of justice and public condemnation that seemed all but impossible to imagine mere weeks ago when Weinstein enjoyed a position as one of the most powerful figures in media, a skilled operator whose connections stretched from Capitol Hill to Wall Street and whose sense of entitlement knew no bounds.

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“You reap what you sow,” says Sivan. “I know that he believed for years that he was untouchable, and a lot of people helped him be untouchable.”Weinstein’s precipitous fall has been stunning, if not a long time coming. He’s been fired from his own company, ostracized by his longtime friends and collaborators in the entertainment industry, transformed from power player to butt of late-night talk-show jokes, ditched by his wife and abandoned by the Democratic political leaders who once coveted his endorsement. The Weinstein Co. is weighing a sale to Colony Capital.

Along with Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and L.A. Reid, Weinstein is a sign that the old methods that stars and top executives used to cover up their sins isn’t working. Their praetorian guards of lawyers and spin-makers, their penchant for paying hush money to victims and making them sign draconian nondisclosure agreements that prevent them from going public, can no longer buy silence.

[Read the full story here, at Variety]

Hollywood’s veil of secrecy has been pierced, and such complicity and enabling may no longer be tolerated in a company town that has long protected its own.

“We are shining a bright light on aggressors and powerful offenders as an example to every other employee out there,” says TV commentator Wendy Walsh, one of O’Reilly’s accusers.

CREDIT: PETER STRAIN FOR VARIETY

As the chorus of accusers grows daily and as Weinstein finds himself isolated and abandoned by the A-list stars and directors he once claimed as friends, the conversation in Hollywood is pointing to a major shift. The hope in the industry is that the alleged abhorrent behavior by Weinstein and the other perpetrators will trigger some genuine soul-searching across the entertainment business and beyond.

Instead of simply inspiring big names in the industry to release anodyne statements that are light on substance and heavy on synonyms for deplorable, there’s an urge to have a deeper conversation about how to improve the climate and culture in Hollywood so whistle-blowers are supported and predators aren’t rewarded with corner offices, private jets and a license to operate with impunity. Read the rest of this entry »

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FBI Harvey Weinstein Probe Ordered by Trump Justice Department

The FBI has opened an investigation into disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein for alleged sex crimes, DailyMail.com has learned – on orders from Trump’s DoJ.

  • The FBI has opened an investigation into Harvey Weinstein for alleged sex crimes, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned on Wednesday 
  • Three women, including Actress Asia Argento and Lucia Evans, have come forward and claimed the producer forced himself on them sexually
  • The DOJ’s order is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein’s friendship with President Trump’s defeated rival Hillary Clinton
  • Weinstein donated heavily to Clinton and although she said she was shocked and dismayed by his actions, she hasn’t returned any of his contributions
  • The 65-year-old is said to be planning to depart for Europe in order to receive professional treatment and go to sex therapy in wake of the scandal
  • His hasty international departure sparks fears of a Roman Polanski-style situation, where he dodges prosecution in the U.S
  • Polanski has managed to avoid US officials since he plead guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old in 1978

Ryan Parry reports: The FBI has opened an investigation into Harvey Weinstein, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned.

DailyMail.com understands the move came at the behest of the Department of Justice, run by Donald Trump‘s Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which instructed the bureau to investigate the mounting allegations leveled at the movie mogul.

While it is unknown whether the DOJ order came directly from Sessions, the move is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein’s friendship with Trump foe Hillary Clinton.

The move by the DOJ came amid rumors that Weinstein plans to head to Europe for sex rehab – leading to fears of a Roman Polanski-style situation where he dodges prosecution in the U.S.

The FBI can both look at whether he has committed any federal crimes in the U.S. and prepare extradition proceedings if he remains in Europe.

The FBI has opened an investigation into disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein for alleged sex crimes, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned

The FBI has opened an investigation into disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein for alleged sex crimes, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned

The move came at the behest of the Department of Justice, run by Donald Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The move is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein's friendship with Trump's rival Hillary Clinton

Among the allegations against Weinstein, which the FBI is expected to examine, is that he forced Lucia Evans, a student who wanted to be an actress, to perform oral sex on him in New York in 2004.

New York State has no statute of limitations on rape and criminal sexual acts – its legal term for forced oral or anal intercourse.

The move came at the behest of the Department of Justice, run by Donald Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The move is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein’s friendship with Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton.

Hollywood powerhouse Weinstein has traveled the globe promoting his movies and the belief is that he could have committed sex crimes in several countries.

So far five accusers have given accounts of attacks in France, while allegations of attacks in London have also surfaced – any of which could lead to charges there.

The FBI has field offices in both countries and could assist prosecutors there with their cases.

A spokesperson for the FBI in New York said: ‘We do not confirm or deny the existence of ongoing investigations.’ Read the rest of this entry »


Introducing: The Roman Polanski Center

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Bad for the Glass: No Roman Polanski Deal, But Sides Have Talked 

The Gunson testimony has been at the heart of attempts to resolve the case. Taken on a provisional basis when it appeared Gunson’s life might be in danger from illness, it touches on a supposedly broken promise by the late Judge Laurence Rittenband to limit Polanski’s sentence for a 1977 statutory rape conviction to time he served during a prison psychiatric evaluation. Only a month ago, Braun insisted that opening the sealed testimony was among his principal aims.

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“I am only interested in obtaining the Gunson transcript and obtaining a ruling on whether a California court will respect the ruling of the Polish Court,” he wrote in a February 21 email, which referred both to the testimony and to a determination in a Polish extradition hearing that Polanski should remain free.

That Braun, at least for purposes of the Monday hearing, was pushing his Gunson demand to the side lent credence to what my colleague Dominic Patten has spotted: Rumors that Polanski’s lawyer and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, though still at loggerheads in court, have been talking. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Focal Lengths and Lenses used by Great Directors 

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[VIDEO] REWIND: Jerry Lewis on Film Criticism; Pauline Kael

JERRY LEWIS: “Pauline Kael. She’s never said a good thing about me yet. That dirty old broad. But she’s probably the most qualified critic in the world. Cause she cares about film and those who are involved in it. I wish I could really rap her. But I can’t. Cause she’s very very competent. She’s knows what she’s talking about.”

editor-commen-deskEditor’s note: I stumbled upon this at Roger Ebert’s site while searching in vain for Pauline Kael’s 1974 New Yorker review of Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” – often referred to in lists of Kael’s most notorious “got it wrong” reviews. Because Chinatown (along with the Godfather series) sparked my interest in the 1970s  renaissance in American filmmaking, I watched and studied Chinatown endlessly, I’m particularly interested in Kael’s contrarian view of it. I haven’t found yet, it may not be online. So unless I track it down in one of Kael’s books – or a reader is kind enough to point me to it – I’ll have to simply enjoy the things I found instead of what I was originally looking for.

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Primarily, things other critics have said about Kael, and her book “I Lost it at the Movies”. In particular, this interview. On Ebert’s site I found this Jerry Lewis appearance on the Dick Caveat Show, and it’s marvelous! An unexpected show of admiration for film reviewers.

What impressed me is Jerry’s acceptance of even the harshest criticism of his movies, as long as the critic actually took the time to examine the work, and wrote a serious analysis of the movie he made. Otherwise, he had no patience for it. Read the rest of this entry »


Japanese Movie Poster: ‘Chinatown’, 1974

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Chinatown 

USA, 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston


‘Taxi Driver’: The Book

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[PHOTO] Faye Dunaway in ‘Chinatown’

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Source: Seattle Mystery Bookshop


‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Clinton, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen

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New York Magazine’s Cosby feature

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Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Classic Scene from ‘Chinatown’: ‘I Goddamn Near Lost My Nose, and I Like it. I Like Breathing Through it’ (1974) HD


[PHOTO] Wrong Movie Quotes

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Roman Polanski Hopes Poland Won’t Extradite Him

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Filmmaker Roman Polanski says he hopes Poland won’t extradite him to the U.S., where he is wanted in a 1977 sex case.

The Oscar-winning director is in Poland preparing for a movie, which he is planning to film in February and March.

“I will submit myself to the procedure and we will see. I have confidence in Poland’s justice system.”

The U.S. justice authorities recently asked Poland to arrest and extradite Polanski, 81, who has Polish and French passports. In October, prosecutors in Krakow, where Polanski has an apartment, questioned him but refused to arrest him. They are planning to question him again following the arrival of the extradition request this month…

In October, he was in Warsaw for the opening of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and then traveled to Krakow, where he met the prosecutors. He hired Polish lawyers in anticipation of the extradition request. Read the rest of this entry »


‘He Has His Father’s Eyes’

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Mia Farrow, Rosemary’s Baby 1968


Manson Family Flashback

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Producer Arnon Milchan Reveals Secret Idenity as Israeli Spy

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Arnon Milchan’s double life as a Hollywood producer and Israeli spy reads like a script for a film he produced.

After years of speculation about his past, Milchan admitted he had worked as an Israeli spy and arms dealer, even after coming to Hollywood, in a report on Israel’s investigative TV show “Uvda.” The Israeli businessman-turned-Hollywood producer behind “Fight Club,” “Pretty Woman” and “L.A. Confidential” admitted to buying arms that were going to be used by Israel to build nuclear bombs.

“I should have been aware of that, of what I’ll go through, and said, ‘F**k you. You know what? I did it for my country, and I’m proud of it,’” Milchan said about the industry’s disapproval about his sordid past.

Milchan’s company New Regency has produced more than 120 films since the 1970s. He has worked closely with Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski and Oliver Stone, as well as Robert De Niro, Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck, who appeared in the special that aired Monday.

Read the rest of this entry »


Roman Polanski Risks Arrest at Film Festival in Poland

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GDYNIA, Poland — Director Roman Polanski has risked arrest and extradition to the U.S. by attending a film festival in Poland. Polanski, who fled the U.S. in 1977 after pleading guilty to sex with a 13-year-old girl, is at the Gdynia Film Festival to deliver a masterclass for film school students and present a screening of his film “Venus in Fur.” He arrived late Thursday. Both events are on Friday. Read the rest of this entry »


Remembering Cinematographer Gilbert Taylor

Cinematographer on the first Star Wars film who worked with Hitchcock and Polanski

A scene from Repulsion, directed by Roman Polanski with cinematography by Gilbert Taylor. 'He mostly used reflected light bounced off the ceiling or walls,' recalled Polanski. Photograph: Moviestore Collection/Rex Features

A scene from Repulsion, directed by Roman Polanski with cinematography by Gilbert Taylor. Photograph: Moviestore Collection/Rex Features

A scene from Repulsion, directed by Roman Polanski with cinematography by Gilbert Taylor. ‘He mostly used reflected light bounced off the ceiling or walls,’ recalled Polanski.

The British cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, who has died aged 99, was best known for his camerawork on the first Star Wars movie (1977). Though its special effects and set designs somewhat stole his thunder, it was Taylor who set the visual tone of George Lucas’s six-part space opera.

“I wanted to give it a unique visual style that would distinguish it from other films in the science-fiction genre,” Taylor declared. “I wanted Star Wars to have clarity because I don’t think space is out of focus … I thought the look of the film should be absolutely clean … But George [Lucas] saw it differently … For example, he asked to set up one shot on the robots with a 300mm camera lens and the sand and sky of the Tunisian desert just meshed together. I told him it wouldn’t work, but he said that was the way he wanted to do the entire film, all diffused.” Fortunately for everyone, this creative difference was resolved by 20th Century Fox executives, who backed Taylor’s approach.

Read the rest of this entry »


Leftism: ‘Forget It, Jake. It’s Chinatown.’

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Posted By Roger L Simon On January 3, 2013

I went shopping with my family on New Year’s Day at the “premium” outlet mall in Cabezon, California, outside Palm Springs — the kind of place where you traipse around for hours in the hopes of scoring a $225 Prada tie for 30 bucks, or a $700 Versace sweater for $135.

A large number, possibly a majority, of the shoppers there are well-heeled Chinese who have flown over to binge on Yves Saint Laurent, etc. products — many of which were made in their home country in the first place. Dressed in designer clothes, these mostly young and trendy Chinese are the privileged scions of the Communist Party. Their parents and grandparents are the ones who played along and did their best not to make waves, even cooperated, throughout the mass murders of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

Now, they and their kids are reaping the harvest of their modern state capitalist system that still flies under the banner of communism, a false flag operation if ever there was one. Ironies abound, and those same ironies provide a snapshot of what constitutes “leftism” in our own culture.

Idealism is not the point, nor has it been for ages.

Leftism has devolved into a kind of scam run not only on others but also on the self. Leftists are brilliant at convincing themselves of their own altruism and then broadcasting it to the public, thus providing cover for the most conventionally greedy and selfish behaviors. We see that in our society all the time: the quondam Marxists of Hollywood, the media, and the academy blathering on about economic equality while living lives the Medici could not have dreamed of.

Part of this construct is a “prevent game,” a public persona and system erected so privilege cannot be questioned or undermined. A nomenklatura more successful and sophisticated than anything ever conceived in the Soviet Union. The result of this is a highly stratified society. As is well known but scarcely reported, blacks and Latinos have actually done worse under Obama than other groups. Normally, that would be unconscionable, considering the rhetoric. But as we know, it’s all about the rhetoric. Reality is unimportant — an inconvenience.

Relatively unbridled capitalism has always been the best way out of this, the best way to true social mobility, but our nomenklatura doesn’t want to admit this because it might threaten them and their perquisites. It would blow their cover.

I suspect those Chinese shoppers knew this better than anyone, having lived through a similar experience ratcheted up to the nth degree. Although I was too polite to do it, I wanted to question them. I would have loved to know what they say to each other in the privacy of their own homes, not that they would be likely to tell me.

But there was something to learn from watching them. I felt like a detective and it made me think of Roman Polanski and Robert Towne’s Chinatown. I also thought of myself, of the way I was when I was a leftist. Yes, I drove a Porsche then (a used one). And had a house in the Hollywood Hills. And ate at gourmet restaurants. And there were plenty like me. I was part of a class. I felt safe and protected for many years, though finally I just left it. I couldn’t stand the hypocrisy anymore. Or maybe I just lost the ability to convince myself of my own altruism.

Whatever the case, when it comes to the truth about leftism, it’s about the cover it gives. Or, as Bob Towne put it: “It’s Chinatown.”


Article printed from Roger L. Simon: http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon

URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2013/01/03/leftism-forget-it-jake-its-chinatown/