Weinstein effect

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The Weinstein effect is a global trend in which people come forward to accuse famous and powerful men of sexual misconduct.[1] The term may also refer to the "tipping point" phenomenon which occurred when allegations against American producer Harvey Weinstein created the critical "crack" in a metaphorical dam. It started in the United States after media outlets reported on numerous sexual abuse allegations against Weinstein in October 2017, precipitating a "national reckoning" against sexual harassment.[2]

Preceded by other sexual harassment cases earlier in the year, the reports on the Weinstein allegations and subsequent "Me Too" hashtag campaign, which encouraged individuals to share their suppressed stories of sexual misconduct, triggered a cascade of allegations across multiple industries that brought about the swift ouster of many men in positions of power both in the United States and, as it spread, around the world. In the entertainment industry, allegations led to the ousters of actors and directors alike. Most prominently, actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., and filmmaker Brett Ratner had projects canceled following at least six allegations apiece. Over 300 women accused filmmaker James Toback of sexual harassment. In journalism, allegations led to the ousters of editors, publishers, executives, and hosts, including such high-profile television figures as Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin and Matt Lauer. In politics, accusations of varying degrees of severity were made against politicians such as John Conyers, Al Franken, and Roy Moore. In other industries, the celebrity chef John Besh and other executives in finance and public relations were removed.

The Me Too campaign spread to other countries and languages over social media. Allegations against multiple British politicians created a public scandal and led to the suspension and resignations of three officials. In Canada, comedy festival founder Gilbert Rozon resigned and over a dozen individuals accused Quebec radio host Éric Salvail of sexual misconduct.

American journalists in conversation at NPR spoke of the series of allegations feeling like a tipping point for societal treatment of sexual misbehavior, distinguished from prior sexual misconduct public debates by the public trust put in the celebrity accusers, as opposed to prior cases of publicly unknown accusers.[3]


Harvey Weinstein, the producer accused of sexual misconduct

On October 5, 2017, The New York Times and The New Yorker reported on decades of sexual misconduct claims against film producer Harvey Weinstein, who was dismissed from The Weinstein Company shortly thereafter. Weinstein had previously suppressed these cases through confidential financial settlements and nondisclosure agreements, as was common for celebrity sexual harassment cases, before journalists aired the story. Journalists had similarly and recently brought about political commentator Bill O'Reilly's ouster through reporting on his sexual harassment settlements. In both cases, the publicity of the reports forced their employers to remove the celebrities, and shed public light on the culture of silence surrounding sexual misconduct cover-ups[4] on behalf of powerfull men.

The events that followed the Weinstein allegations were also influenced by prior public cases of sexual misconduct in the United States: Anita Hill's testimony during Clarence Thomas's 1991 Supreme Court nomination, and the mid-2010s Bill Cosby sexual assault allegations. American national attitudes towards sexual harassment also shifted with Fox News television host Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit against the station's chairman Roger Ailes, which led to his ouster and encouraged journalists to pursue rumors about the conduct of Weinstein and Bill O'Reilly, though both Ailes and O'Reilly have denied wrongdoing.[5] Uber software engineer Susan Fowler's charges of sexual misconduct at the company led to the ousters of both Travis Kalanick and Dave McClure. USA Today wrote that 2017 was the year in which "sexual harassment became a fireable offense".[5]


United States[edit]

The Weinstein allegations precipitated an immediate "national reckoning" against sexual harassment and assault in the United States,[4] which became known as the Weinstein effect. Emboldened men and women aired untold or suppressed stories of sexual misconduct in workplaces across multiple industries, leading to the swift international ouster of many men in positions of power. On Twitter, the Me Too hashtag campaign encouraged hundreds of thousands of individuals to share their stories.[6][5] On November 25, 2017, it was reported that the Los Angeles Police Department was investigating 28 open sex crime cases involving Hollywood and media figures.[7]

Entertainment industry[edit]

By late October 2017, cases of ousters included, in the entertainment industry, Screen Junkies co-creator Andy Signore,[8][9] Amazon Studios director Roy Price, Agency for the Performing Arts talent agent Tyler Grasham, and Nickelodeon's The Loud House creator Chris Savino.[4]

Over 300 women accused filmmaker James Toback of sexual harassment.[5] As of November 23, 2017, the Beverly Hills Police Department has opened 12 sexual assault cases in the entertainment industry, including cases against Weinstein and Toback.[10]

On October 17, The Mist producer Amanda Segel accused Bob Weinstein (Harvey's brother) of sexual harassment during the production of the series. His lawyer Bert Fields has denied the allegation.[11]

By early November, the number of cases compounded.

  • Actor Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual misconduct or assault by over a dozen men and announced that he was entering unspecified treatment; his projects were cancelled as a result.[citation needed]
  • Actors Jeremy Piven, Steven Seagal, and Ed Westwick were each accused by a number of women, and each denied the charges.[citation needed]
  • Actor Robert Knepper and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner each received single accusations of sexual misconduct, which each denied. Four more women came forward to accuse Knepper the next month, to which he denied those allegations as well.[citation needed]
  • Actor Dustin Hoffman has been accused of sexual harassment during the 1983 Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman.[12]
  • Director Oliver Stone was accused by both Patricia Arquette and Melissa Gilbert of acting inappropriately towards both of them.[13][14]
  • Comedian Louis C.K. confirmed multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and apologized; he was also dropped from his projects.[citation needed]
  • Six women accused filmmaker Brett Ratner of sexual harassment, canceling his work with Warner Bros. and Playboy, though he denies the charges.[15]
  • On November 10, 2017, former actor and model Scott R. Brunton told The Hollywood Reporter that George Takei sexually assaulted him in 1981, which was denied by Takei.[16]
  • Singer Jesse Lacey of rock band Brand New apologized for sexual misconduct against underage women.[citation needed]
  • Entrepreneur Russell Simmons was accused by Keri Claussen Khalighi of sexually assaulting her in 1991, when she was 17 and he was about 33.[17] Simmons denies that the encounter was non-consensual.[18]
  • Writer Jessica Teich accused Richard Dreyfuss of exposing himself to her and attempting to force her to perform fellatio on him; Dreyfuss denied assaulting anyone,[19] though his son Harry accused Kevin Spacey of inappropriate contact in 2008.[20]
  • On November 17, 2017, it was reported Ryan Seacrest was under investigation for sexual harassment allegations by a former E! wardrobe stylist.[21]
  • Actress Aurora Perrineau filed a police report with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department accusing Girls scriptwriter Murray Miller of sexual assault in 2012, when she was seventeen.[22]
  • Actor Anthony Edwards wrote an essay on Medium in which he alleged that producer Gary Goddard molested him and raped his best friend "for years" starting when they were 12 years old;[23][24][25][26] Goddard's publicist denied the allegations.[27]
  • On November 19, 2017, Jeffrey Tambor announced he would leave his role on Transparent after fellow cast-members Van Barnes and Trace Lysette accused him of sexual harassment.[28]
  • John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, and Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering, announced on November 21, 2017 he would be taking a leave of absence from Disney and Pixar after acknowledging "painful" conversations and unspecified "missteps".[29]
  • Pinegrove cancelled their 2017-18 North American tour dates following accusations of “sexual coercion” against lead singer Evan Stephens Hall.[30]
  • On November 22, 2017, Melissa Schuman accused Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys of raping her when she was 18, an accusation which Carter denied.[31]
  • On November 29, 2017, Andrew Kreisberg, executive producer on Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, had been fired by Warner Bros. Television following allegations of sexual harassment against him.[32]
  • Former Top Chef: Just Desserts judge, Johnny Iuzzini, had been accused of sexual harassment by four former employees.[33]
  • On November 30, 2017, playwright Israel Horovitz was accused of sexual misconduct by nine women.[34]
  • On December 1, 2017, it was reported Justin Huff, a casting director who had been involved in Broadway shows, was fired from his position at prominent casting agency Telsey + Company over internal reports of sexual misconduct.[35]
  • On December 3, 2017, the Metropolitan Opera suspended conductor James Levine over sexual abuse claims that date back over several decades.[36]
  • On December 4, 2017, a woman by the name of Timothy Heller claimed former The Voice contestant Melanie Martinez raped and sexually assaulted her during multiple sleepovers over the course of two days. [37] [38] [39]
  • The following day, actor Danny Masterson was fired from the Netflix series The Ranch after being accused of rape.[40]
  • Lee Trull, the Dallas Theater Center's Director of New Play Development, has been fired from his position after misconduct allegations.[41]
  • On December 7, 2017, Bryan Singer was sued for allegedly sexually assaulting a 17-year boy in Washington State back in 2003 and promising the teenager acting roles if he would keep silent.[42]
  • Musician David Cassidy was accused by Samantha Fox of sexually assaulting her.[43]


In journalism, multiple men were accused of sexual misconduct and subject to ouster or suspension.[15]

  • Glenn Thrush, a political reporter for The New York Times, was suspended for allegedly groping three women.[44]
  • Vox Media editorial director Lockhart Steele was removed in October.[4]
  • NBC News fired Mark Halperin following allegations of harassment at ABC News. He lost his book contract.
  • NBC later also fired their talent booker, Matt Zimmerman, following inappropriate conduct claims.[45]
  • Ken Baker was pulled from the air by E! News while they investigated claims of sexual harassment.[46][47][48]
  • NPR news chief Michael Oreskes was ousted for multiple allegations across prior and current employers.
  • In magazines, allegations led to the resignations of Artforum publisher Knight Landesman, Billboard executive Stephen Blackwell, and The New Republic publisher Hamilton Fish.
  • The New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier apologized following multiple accusations and was removed from The Atlantic's masthead.[15] He lost funding for his upcoming magazine venture.[5]
  • After television host Charlie Rose was accused by eight women of sexual misconduct and harassment, the networks CBS and PBS suspended him but eventually fired Rose on November 21, 2017.[49][50]
  • On November 29, 2017, Matt Lauer was fired from the Today show after an accusation of "inappropriate sexual behavior".[51]
  • That same day, Garrison Keillor was fired from Minnesota Public Radio after being accused of "inappropriate behavior".[52]
  • Also, Teddy Davis, a senior producer of Jake Tapper’s show State of the Union, had been fired by CNN over alleged "inappropriate behavior".[53]
  • On November 21, 2017, Dylan Byers posted a tweet saying that the sexual harassment scandals in media and entertainment were draining those industries "of talent". The tweet was later deleted.[54][55]
  • On November 30, 2017, Vice News fired three employees -- including Jason Mojica, the head of Vice's documentary film unit, and an editor and producer for the company -- for verbal and sexual harassment.
  • This came after The Daily Beast published a story detailing its "sexual harassment culture" and amid news of an upcoming New York Times story.[56][57]
  • Twelve former staff of American Media Inc. accused chief content officer Dylan Howard of misconduct, which the company claims is unfounded.[58]
  • John Hockenberry, was accused of harassment, unwanted touching and bullying by several female colleagues.[59][60]
  • Jann Wenner, co-founder of Rolling Stone, was accused of sexual harassment.[45]
  • On December 11, Ryan Lizza was fired from the The New Yorker[61]


Numerous elected officials and politicians also faced allegations. Longtime U.S. Representative John Conyers of Michigan was discovered to have settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015, leveled by a former staffer who said she was fired for refusing his sexual advances. The complainant received a $27,000 settlement paid from Conyers' office budget.[62] Several other women have come forward with allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by Conyers.[63][64] Conyers stepped down from his position as the ranking Minority member of the House Committee on the Judiciary following the allegations,[65] and later resigned.[66] U.S. Representative Ruben Kihuen of Nevada is accused by his former campaign finance director of repeated and unwanted sexual advances to the point she resigned her position; Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called on Kihuen to resign.[67] Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado accused former Congressman Bob Filner of attempting to forcibly kiss her in a Capitol elevator years earlier; Filner resigned as Mayor of San Diego in 2013 amid multiple sexual harassment allegations.[68]

Radio newscaster Leeann Tweeden accused U.S. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota of forcibly kissing her in 2006 and presented a photo that appeared to show him groping her breasts as she slept; Franken issued an apology.[69] Three other women came forward to accuse Franken of inappropriately touching them at political fundraisers in 2007 and 2008, and at the Minnesota State Fair 2010.[70][71]


  • Webster Public Relations CEO Kirt Webster and celebrity chef John Besh were each removed from their companies, Besh after accusations from 25 women.[15]
  • Two executives were ousted at Fidelity Investments.[5] Local cases were also sparked against a music industry publicist in Nashville and multiple Dartmouth College professors.[72]
  • In November 2017, many college and university professors signed an open letter to the University of Rochester declaring they would not recommend the school as a place to pursue studies or employment to their students due to the behavior of Dr. Florian Jaeger.[73][74]
  • Fashion photographer Terry Richardson was banned by Condé Nast.[5]
  • Steve Jurvetson stepped down from his role at DFJ Venture Capital after the firm conducted an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.[75]
  • Peter Martins, the choreographer for the New York City Ballet was suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct[76]
  • December 9 saw celebrity chef Johnny Iuzzini accused of sexual harassment by four of his former employees.[77]
  • On December 11, celebrity chef Mario Batali announced he was taking leave from his businesses after he was accused of sexual misconduct by four women.[78]


The Weinstein effect has reached international scale. In Europe, allegations of sexual misconduct against many British politicians became a public scandal involving dozens of women accusers across decades and political parties. It led to the resignations of Defense Secretary Michael Fallon and Welsh minister Carl Sargeant (who took his own life, four days after his dismissal).[79]

  • The #MeToo campaign became #BalanceTonPorc ("expose your pig") in France and #QuellaVoltaChe ("that one time that") in Italy.
  • In Canada, accusations against Just for Laughs comedy festival founder Gilbert Rozon led to his resignation, and 15 accused Quebec radio host Éric Salvail of sexual misconduct. Broadcaster and former baseball player Gregg Zaun was fired.[80]
  • Australian television presenter Don Burke was accused of sexual misconduct by several women.[81]
  • Inspired by the #MeToo campaign, South African singer and former politician Jennifer Ferguson publicly accused South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan of rape two decades earlier.[6]
  • The allegations against Weinstein also prompted Björk to accuse Lars von Trier of sexually harassing her during the production of Dancer in the Dark. von Trier said "That was not the case. But that we were definitely not friends, that’s a fact.”[82]
  • In November 2017, 2,000 women working in the Swedish music industry signed an open letter claiming that they had been sexually abused during their careers. The signees included singers Robyn and Zara Larsson and the folk duo First Aid Kit.[83]
  • On November 16, Warner Music Sweden suspended an executive for sexually harassing the label’s employees and artists; he was fired on December 1.[84]
  • Over 300 Icelandic women in politics signed a statement regarding their experiences of sexual harassment from male politicians and have called on men to take responsibility and for political parties to unite against the problem.[85]
  • In the Philippines, artists and online personalities expressed messages of support to his victims.[86] Several netizens also came forward to share their experiences with artists and local band members who allegedly committed sexual misconduct.[87]
  • Ramin Gray, artistic director of the ATC Theatre, has been accused of sexual harassment by eight women.[88]
  • On December 2, Geoffrey Rush stepped down as President of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts following allegations of “inappropriate behavior” during an Australian stage production of the Shakespeare play King Lear.[89]


American journalists in conversation at NPR spoke of the series of allegations feeling like a tipping point for societal treatment of sexual misconduct.[3] They distinguished the moment from prior sexual misconduct public debates by the public trust in the accusers, who in this case were celebrities familiar to the public, rather than the accusers in prior cases, in which the accusers were unknown and became famous for their testimony. Social media had also provided a platform for women to share their experiences and encouragement at a scale that had not existed during prior public debates.[3] The state of California is considering legislation to ban secret sexual harassment settlements.[5]

Two columnists of the USA Today expressed doubt that the trend of public opinion would hold, citing open, public cases without consequential retribution: R. Kelly, Bill Cosby, former President Bill Clinton, and President Donald Trump.[5]

See also[edit]

  • Operation Yewtree, high profile British sex crime investigation that led to an increase in reported crimes
  • Post-assault treatment of sexual assault victims


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Further reading[edit]

Others articles of the Topics Feminism AND Sexuality : Sufiah Yusof, You Know Me Movement

Others articles of the Topic Crime : Hernando Williams, 2017 Berlin terrorist plot, Carl Marino, 2021 Onești stabbing

Others articles of the Topic Feminism : Antimonumenta (Mexico City), Liana K, Antimonumenta (Banca Roja), Anasuya Sengupta, Pakistan Women Muslim League, Worood Zuhair, Colette Pervette

Others articles of the Topic Sexuality : Miss Crash, Sufiah Yusof, Puff Puff (sexual term), You Know Me Movement, Me Too (hashtag)

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