There is a scene in the movie New Jack City that could best describe the current situation that Hollywood finds itself in. Nino Brown, being played by Wesley Snipes, has been arrested after running a large, violent drug organization at the height of the crack epidemic. The moment of judgment for Brown has come for him in the courtroom. Brown stands up at that moment implicates all the other guilty parties involved and during the course of a poignant monologue utters the following line: "This thing is bigger than Nino Brown."
To those who have seen the movie, this is an apparent reference to levels of groups involved in the drug trade especially in inner cities. Even though Nino Brown is the "Big Bad" in the New Jack City story is merely a piece of the overall problem, another Nino Brown will appear in due time. Nino Brown may be gone, but the institutions that created him will remain. However, this context of this conversation could be flipped and brought into the real world by replacing Nino Brown the fictional character with another name: Harvey Weinstein.
Harvey Weinstein, Man And Monster
Harvey Weinstein, former head of Miramax and the Weinstein Company, was removed from power after a New York Times article described all the sexual assaults and harassment he has performed over the course of his career. The aftermath has seen all of us read and watch in horror as more and more actresses come out to confront their former attacker. The names go from A-lister's, to up-and-coming actresses, all the way to journalists and Weinstein Company employees. The open secret of these disgusting acts is easy to see referenced in movies, television and articles in the years preceding this. While it is good that this is coming to life and hopefully justice and closure begins for the victims and their families, we have to remember that "This thing is bigger than Harvey Weinstein."
Just like Nino Brown at the beginning of this article, the "Big Bad" sexual predator Harvey Weinstein may be gone but those institutions that created him remain. The secrecy, culture of silence, and protection around these horrible people remain. That system will continue to create monsters like Weinstein. While we cannot destroy the pillars of this culture overnight, we can start to be the change in our communities.
Sexual Violence And Geek Culture
A vital place we can start the change is comic conventions. We all love attending comic conventions, but we have also seen the dark side of these cons. The harassment of cosplayers, fans getting too touchy, and the abusive sexual language towards female and male cosplayers alike. As a creative community, we cannot allow these moments of abusive behavior to occur. We have to make these places where we celebrate the best of geekdom a place where all are welcomed and protected. Policing and reporting ourselves as it relates to sexual harassment and sexual abuse will go a long way towards breaking down these long-standing problems.
Online is a more difficult place to navigate as it relates to protecting people because your options for defending harrassed members are limited. If you see sexual harassment going on online, then step up and report them to the administrator of the website. The most significant thing about the recent Weinstein sexual harassment cases is that when the victims came forward, they were met with pushback from people. Pushback should never occur in any of these situations; any allegation needed support and to be addressed immediately. No one should live in fear for years because of fear of being honest. It does not matter if your Harvey Weinstein, Andy Signore or Harry Knowles this behavior is unacceptable. Its bigger than Harvey Weinstein, and it affects all of us. The community needs to come together to destroy the toxic culture of sexual abuse and harassment not just around Hollywood.
We use the entertainment medium as our escapism from a real world that can, at times, be a dark place. The characters that we find in those world's become manifestations of the courage, power and strength we can only imagine obtaining. Well, here is our moment to be the protectors that we have always wanted to become, time for us to step up and be the heroes for our fellow dreamers. To the reader of this article I ask that you become part of change so that we can defeat this blight on our community.