Stop Politicizing Sexual Assault

In the fallout of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault revelations, Fox News has been on a frenzy to lambaste liberal Hollywood. Weinstein is a massively successful producer in the film industry and a fervent Democrat, having been a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton in the latest election. Fox News has honed in on Weinstein’s relationship to Clinton in order to criticize the left as a whole; see recent headlines like “Denouncing Weinstein - What Took Democrats So Long?” and “Weinstein’s Ties To Clinton, Obama Run Deep.” While Weinstein’s crimes were horrific, they have nothing to do with Democrats, and Fox News’ attempt to politicize the scandal is reprehensible. 

Perhaps most transparent was Tucker Carlson’s take on the situation. In this clip, Tucker claims that attempts to cover up Weinstein’s abuses resulted from progressive politics as a whole. With a startling lack of self awareness, Tucker juxtaposes NBC releasing the Donald Trump “Grab’em by the pussy” tape and NBC’s cover-up of the Weinstein situation, saying,  “They’re a political shop, not a news organization. They ought to stop pretending otherwise.” Somehow, the irony was lost on Tucker with that one. While he is justified in criticizing NBC for refusing to publish a story about Weinstein’s abuses (along with the rest of those who protected Weinstein), this has nothing to do with politics. Throughout the media industry, Weinstein’s crimes were appeased because of his immense power and wealth, not because of his political affiliation.

Fox News’ eagerness to throw mud at progressives over Weinstein likely stems from the sexual abuses of top Fox News hosts and executives exposed earlier this year. Most notably, Fox News founder Roger Ailes was accused of sexual harassment by multiple former employees of the network. It seems Fox is now attempting to drag down the left via Weinstein to say to the world, “See? They’re just as bad as us.”

Let us not forget, however, that plenty of liberals politicized accusations of sexual assault against Donald Trump throughout his campaign. From multiple accusations against Donald Trump along with the infamous  “Grab’em by the pussy” tape, many on the left broadly painted all of Trump’s supporters as misogynists. There is obviously a clear difference between politicizing the sexual assault accusations of a candidate for president of the United States and those of a film producer, but shaming an entire political party for the crimes of one of their own is ridiculous. It was wrong when liberals did it to Trump supporters and it is wrong now.

Ideologically, Harvey Weinstein stands opposite to men like Donald Trump and Roger Ailes. What they had in common was unchecked power, vile sexual predation, and a culture of appeasement surrounding them. Trump, Weinstein, and Ailes all used their positions of extreme influence to take advantage of vulnerable young women and silence those who sought to condemn their acts. To tie this behavior to one side of the political spectrum is dangerously deceitful - perversion has no political affiliation. Instead of using these scandals to gain political points, we should be criticizing the dangerous culture of power abuse and misogyny  that exists in all industries and political organizations. No group is above this, and to pretend otherwise stands in the way of meaningful progress against sexism and abuse.

CPR AdminComment