Friday, October 25, 2019

Not So Congenial

From Slate:

Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who faces a rape trial in New York City in January, was confronted when he showed up at an event for emerging actors and artists in Manhattan Wednesday night. Weinstein attended the monthly Actor’s Hour event at a Lower East Side bar, alighting at a table with an entourage as stand-up comics performed sets. The comedians were reportedly instructed not to mention Weinstein, who has been accused of rape and sexual assault by dozens of women, many of them young and aspiring actors.

Comedian Kelly Bachman, however, confronted what she referred to “the elephant in the room” and “Freddy Krueger.” “I didn’t know we had to bring our own Mace and rape whistles to Actor’s Hour,” Bachman said from the stage, to boos from what sound like men in the audience, one of whom shouted, “Shut up.” “Sorry, that killed at group therapy for rape survivors,” she continued. “I have been raped, surprisingly not by anyone here, and I’ve never been able to confront those guys, so just a general ‘fuck you.’ ” “At one moment during her comedy set, which is about sex, she yelled ‘consent is important’ and stared directly at Weinstein,” BuzzFeed reports.

A male comedian succeeded Bachman, after which each of two women, one an actress and the other a comedian, directly confronted Weinstein and were "escorted out" of the bar.

Things having not gone well

Alexandra Laliberte, the organizer of Actor’s Hour, explained to BuzzFeed News the reasoning behind allowing Weinstein to attend an event of the very sort he once specifically preyed on. “I welcome all walks of life into my space,” she said. “I protect them by freedom of speech.” The organization, however, later issued an apology via Facebook, saying it “apologize[s] wholeheartedly for the way the situation was handled.”

It appears that Laliberte has not stated how she thinks the matter should have been handled, whether she would bar Weinstein or a similar man in the future, or what she would expect from comedians performing there. But she should not have instructed- or even merely urged- the performers to ignore him.

One person on Facebook maintains that on Instagram Laliberte has stated that Weinsten was "not invited by the organizer or anyone associated with this organization." Not having been there, I don't know any more of the interaction between Weinstein and the women than the Slate writer noted, and thus don't know whether they should have been tossed out.

Nonetheless, I've never been one to support blacklisting, and I won't start here. Unless an individual presents a threat to the safety of anyone at the venue, he or she should not be barred from attending.  Still, a comedian- in this case, Bachman- must be free to respond to any person in the audience, assuming it's not a private individual.

Weinstein should not have been blackballed, and at least on Wednesday night was not. However, you pays your money and you takes your chance. He paid his money (presumably), took his chance, and may regret that he did.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is most alarming here is the couple bombastic males in the audience booing Bachman's comments. If Weinstein wasn't a fairly well-established monster, (which he is), you should not be so thin-skinned to not be able to handle jokes that you don't agree with. The fact that this happened in NYC is a further reminder of how dangerous and pervasive rape culture is in entertainment and other industries. The fact that the current white house administration emboldens rapists, molesters, and thugs, well, we have a lot of work to do. Kudos to Bachman for her courage.

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