The best way to watch Harvey Weinstein walk himself into a Manhattan police precinct on Friday morning was via NBC News’ Periscope.
As the former Oscar-winning Hollywood producer and “king of indie film” marched from his black car into the police station, NBC correspondent Craig Melvin began naming some of the 95 women who have come forward with allegations against Weinstein ― Lucia Evans, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Lupita Nyong’o, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek. Reaction icons started floating up the right side of the screen, little hearts of different colors, one after another after another, until they formed a cloud of “likes.”
We, the people of the internet, were engaging in a collective act of schadenfreude, and it was delicious.
Women are so often told to contain our anger, to make it more palatable, less “aggressive,” small enough to contain within the male prerogative. But I’m angry at men like Harvey Weinstein, and there’s nothing palatable about it.
The man who beckoned young women to his hotel rooms for the sole purpose of using them, who hired ex-Mossad agents to track anyone liable to expose him, who had vast resources at his fingertips and used them liberally to try to silence the dozens of women he (allegedly) victimized ― even that man is no longer untouchable.
That man had to walk past reporters as he entered a police station, submitting to the cheap cop pornography of the perp walk. That man looked haggard and tilted his head low to avoid eyes and questions. That man also carried two books with him into the police station, biographies of Big Men in Show Biz — Elia Kazan, and Rodgers and Hammerstein — because he is, after all, exactly the kind of prick who fancies himself both a legend and a victim of a pious mob. That man was charged with rape, committing a criminal sex act, sexual abuse and sexual misconduct.
It is still shocking to see powerful men face criminal charges for harming women, and even more shocking to see them convicted. And the process leading up to that ― the public offerings of private pain (hers and hers and hers and hers and hers and hers and hers and hers and hers and hers and hers …), the scrutiny of that pain, the way it’s picked apart and held up to the light and valued according to how neatly it can be added to a pile of other women’s pain ― is not a pretty one. The rapid rise of the Me Too movement has been exhilarating to witness but also exhausting.
There are few moments of relief when an eternity of systemic abuse is being unpacked and processed. When those moments do present themselves, your instinct is to seize them like a prize. Weinstein is the man behind some of the most recognizable films of my lifetime, but surely the footage many of us will most remember him for is Friday’s walk. A big man in a blue sweater, displayed like any other perp for our delectation, tokens of self-pity and self-regard in the crook of his arm.
As Rose McGowan tweeted Friday morning: “We got you, Harvey Weinstein, we got you.”
I hope all 95 women who have said Weinstein violated them saw the footage, and I hope they let themselves feel even a nanosecond of pleasure. When (some) men are (finally) held accountable for their abuses, it does not undo the pain and damage they’ve wrought. But maybe, just maybe, it feels damn good to watch.