Recently in the New York Times, Salma Hayek alleged Harvey Weinstein once claimed he could have her killed her if she rubbed him the wrong way – or refused to, as the case may be. After working in and around Hollywood for a decade, I not only believe her, but I would take such a threat seriously.
That’s because Hollywood is a town where many rise to a level of such power and hubris that they believe they are gods who can say or do anything they want, and get away with it.
But Hollywood is hardly the only place where such demigods have risen in recent years. They are in Washington. D.C., in state capitols and courthouses across America. They sit in the board rooms, the corner offices of highly successful companies and in the broadcast booths and on talk show sets from coast to coast.
In all those places we can hear the thud of the mighty falling back to earth. And that’s a good thing. Because this nation was founded not just on the principle of equality but in opposition to special interests. The reality of privileged people with extra privileges has eclipsed the rights of everyday citizens.
The bottom line is that there is a revolution underway. And it’s one that nobody saw coming. But it was bound to happen. Where it will go next is the big question.
What about the election of Donald Trump? Whether you voted for him or would like to see him dragged out of the White House by Robert Mueller in handcuffs, it shook things up. One of the most powerful political standard bearers of our time, Hillary Clinton, was suddenly held accountable, and called on the carpet, dragged down from her pedestal of inevitability and power. That happened at least partially if not entirely because of her high-handed actions regarding classified government emails.
The revolution quickly moved to Hollywood, where power brokers like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey were knocked from their powerful perches by a slew of sexual harassment claims. And within weeks that revolution spread throughout Hollywood and back to Washington and across America. It seems like the list of members of Congress will just keep growing. We’ve already seen karma arrive for Al Franken, John Conyers Jr., Trent Franks and Tim Murphy. Judge Roy Moore lost a supposed “gimme” election.
But the latest allegation by Salma Hayek takes this movement up a notch. If it’s true, it takes the revolution to a new level of importance and relevance. Why? Because it makes this not just a sexual or political issue, but an important socioeconomic discussion. And that’s where the word “revolution” really starts to take on its meaning.
Weinstein’s behavior was staggering. As Hayek reported: “The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, ‘I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.'”
“Don’t think I can’t.” That phrase moves this discussion from the sexual to the sociopolitical.
The fact is there are powerful people in Hollywood, in Washington and in the corporate offices of our society that believe they can have men and women killed, or at least have god-like power over them. Fortunately we are all being reminded we live in a nation of equal men and women, not gods and slaves, where nobody has a godlike right over another.
Remember Orwell’s Animal Farm, and the chilling phrase: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”?
We don’t mind some people being more successful than others. That’s not only their right but a great incentive to others. But we do have a problem with that success bestowing special legal, moral, or human rights not shared by all. That goes completely against the American grain.
We are all equally deserving of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness – and respect – in the eyes of God, and should be such in the eyes of the law, in the eyes of our employers, and hopefully in the eyes of our friends and our neighbors. And maybe too in the eyes of the media, who could do a whole lot to rid us of these pesky and abusive demigods if they stopped putting them up on such a pedestal at the expense of the rest of us.
Where this revolution will go from here is unsure. Ironically it could also bring down President Trump himself if he is found to be guilty of any wrongdoing, which of course has yet to be seen.
But one thing is for sure, everyday Americans are starting to see these people for what they are – those who flew too high and got burned by the sun. Not just because they broke the law or the rules of society but because they had the audacity, the hubris and the foolishness to think, “Don’t think I can’t.”