What are some dirty Bollywood secrets

Hollywood's Dirty Secret: Why Harvey Weinstein Is No Exception

In the cult film "Casablanca", the French police chief Capitaine Louis Renault was once "shocked, shocked!" - I felt the same when I heard that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein had been accused of molesting and rape women for decades.

Of course we all knew that.

I have been working as a correspondent for the "Hollywood Reporter" for more than 10 years. Everyone I know had heard these stories before: Harvey Weinstein, producer of Oscar-winning films like "The English Patient" and "Pulp Fiction", is a sex offender. He gropes women, he pressures them to have sex with him and in return offers roles in his films or career help. No sooner had reports appeared in the "New York Times" and "New Yorker Magazine" than at least 30 women spoke up, including actresses such as Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rose McGowen and Asia Argento. They were also harassed by Weinstein, and at least four women accused the Hollywood mogul of rape.

You won't be the last.

How seductive it is to see Harvey Weinstein as an anomaly, a monster in the midst of Hollywood's politically correct progressives. And Harvey fits into the picture, the fat, angry man who regularly insults his business partners, employees and even innocent film reporters, almost a caricature of the schoolyard bully. But when it comes to sexual harassment, Weinstein is no exception. The fact is, harassment is like the red carpet in Hollywood.

The Cosby trial ended without judgment

Weinstein is not the first case

Before Weinstein hit the headlines, it was Bill Cosby, the popular comedian, TV star and - according to the testimony of dozen women - serial rapist who had drugged and molested women for decades. It wasn't long ago that two of the most powerful men on Fox News, chairman Roger E. Ailes and star host Bill O'Reilly, had to resign over alleged sexual assault. Roy Price, head of Amazon Studios, was suspended this week on similar allegations.

A distinction must be made here: Harassment is not just rape. Accusations are not evidence. But all of these cases point to a perverse pattern: powerful men - and they are always men - primarily take advantage of young women.

None of this is new. The term "cast couch", which rather belittles the seriousness of the sexual assault, has existed since Hollywood has existed. Child star Shirley Temple stopped making films at 21 to escape the constant sexual advances of producers, studio bosses and fellow actors.

The power to decide whether to make a film and who gets a role lies in the hands of a few men - that is the essence of the film business, fertile ground for exploitation.

Men dominate the film business. They are producers, studio bosses and directors, and there is no shortage of beautiful young women competing for roles. Rioting women were fired, their names were blacklisted, and careers were ruined.

Meryl Streep called the incidents "shameful"

Hollywood looks the other way

Perhaps that explains why Harvey Weinstein was able to (supposedly) misbehave for so long. In Hollywood, sexual harassment was just a kind of noise floor, "that's how business worked." But all of us who heard the rumors and did nothing - I am one of them - are responsible for what happened and is still happening.

The media and the Hollywood elite are now throwing Harvey Weinstein to the wolves.

And that's right. But it would be dangerous and hypocritical to pretend he was an exception, that the problem of sexual harassment was not inherent in the system.

It would be as hypocritical as pretending that here - in smug old Europe - there is no such thing. There were also abuse scandals in England, for example about BBC presenter Jimmy Saville, who for decades attacked dozens of boys and girls.

Allegations also in Europe

I don't know whether there have been similar cases in the German film industry. But that's no reason for complacency, there are even less powerful women in the media here than in Hollywood. Heidi Klum, German model and US presenter of "Project Runway", a show produced by Harvey Weinstein, hit the nail on the head when she said it was naive to believe that such behavior only exists in Hollywood.

It doesn't just happen in Hollywood, says Heidi Klum

In an interview with People Magazine, Klum called the Weinstein scandal an example of how badly women were still treated worldwide. "It would be hard to find a woman - myself included - who has never felt intimidated or threatened by a man who has taken advantage of his power, position or physical stature."

Something will have to change

The only glimmer of hope I see in this scandal is that maybe something will change now. Dirty secrets can no longer be hidden so well in the age of smartphones and social media. If they do come to light, there are consequences.

Just days after the first article in the New York Times, Weinstein was shot. The academy will meet on Saturday to discuss how to proceed. Amazon suspended Roy Price just hours after the allegations became public. The Bill Cosby case ended in fruitless trial, but even if he doesn't go to jail, he will never go back to work.

Slowly, too slowly, Hollywood is taking notice. Slowly, too slowly, the victims of abuse are raising their voices. Slowly, too slowly, women are taking positions of power in the film industry that will allow them to change things.

It won't happen quickly, but it will happen, I'm sure of it.