Five days after the New York Times exposed Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior, Hillary Clinton is finally all over it. In a statement released just thirty minutes ago, Hillary proclaims herself “shocked and appalled” by claims pouring out from multiple media outlets about Weinstein’s decades-long sexual harassment and worse. Notably, she says nothing about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Weinstein raised for her and Bill and the Democratic Party over the last quarter-century:
JUST IN: Hillary Clinton releases statement on Harvey Weinstein allegations pic.twitter.com/evarlP4q9B
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 10, 2017
Funny, Hillary Clinton spoke last night at UC Davis for an hour and a half, and didn’t see fit to remark on her status as “shocked and appalled” at all. The candidate who lost to Donald Trump in last year’s presidential race complained about his climate-change policies, blamed a recent spate of hurricanes and wildfires on global warming, promoted protests by NFL players during the national anthem, and promoted her book What Happened. What didn’t happen was Hillary mentioning her Hollywood pal and fundraiser Harvey Weinstein, despite having run on a platform of lifting up women and protecting them from the Harvey Weinsteins of the world.
At least her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), has decided to declare Weinstein’s actions as “low-life behavior.” CNN’s Alisyn Camerota wonders when anyone will hear that from Hillary. Kaine dodged at first by saying he’s a Senator, not a press secretary, and then suggested that Hillary would get around to it in her own time. Eventually. Maybe:
“Hillary Clinton spoke for 90 minutes last night in California. But she didn’t mention Harvey Weinstein,” noted “New Day” co-anchor Alisyn Camerota. “Why not?”
“Look, you know, Alisyn, I’m nobody’s press secretary. I’m a U.S. senator and I’m telling you that sexual harassment is unacceptable. And I really think it’s low-life behavior,” Kaine said.
“Hillary Clinton speaks out against sexual harassment often. And I’m sure she’ll have a word to say when the time is right for her. But I don’t — you know, I’m not — I’m not anybody’s press secretary,” he added.
In case you were wondering, Kaine’s not a press secretary. But then again, Kaine says any leader should be out front in condemning Weinstein’s behavior:
“But you would recommend that she do that,” Camerota followed.
“Any leader, any leader should condemn this,” Kaine replied. “I mean, I have a 22-year-old daughter who is starting off, you know, in the work world. And I — when you read the stories about young women feeling pressured by somebody in a position of power, it makes you sick.”
That only amplifies Camerota’s point. Hillary had a 90-minute platform last night at UC Davis, hardly a bastion of counter-progressive thought. She couldn’t spare a single moment to say something like, “Hey, that Harvey Weinstein really turned out to be a pig, eh?” Nothing? So much for being a leader on women’s issues.
Not that Hillary was alone in her silence, at least up to now. Hollywood had mostly kept its mouth shut, especially its male stars, but George Clooney was the early exception to that rule, to his credit. In an interview with The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern, Clooney says that he doubts that Democratic politicians knew much about Weinstein’s activities; Clooney himself was only aware of rumors of womanizing, not abuse. Calling Weinstein “indefensible,” Clooney called on Democrats to return all of their Weinstein money pronto:
“It’s indefensible. That’s the only word you can start with,” he says. “Harvey’s admitted to it, and it’s indefensible. I’ve known Harvey for 20 years. He gave me my first big break as an actor in films on From Dusk Till Dawn, he gave me my first big break as a director with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. We’ve had dinners, we’ve been on location together, we’ve had arguments. But I can tell you that I’ve never seen any of this behavior—ever.” …
This is an interesting moment. I’ve seen a lot of people, from Meryl [Streep] to Judi Dench, come out and say “holy shit,” and I think that that’s been the reaction by a lot of people in Hollywood. I don’t think that people were looking the other way; I think that people weren’t looking, because in some ways, a lecherous guy with money picking up younger girls is unfortunately not a news story in our society.
That’s … not entirely true, at least apart from Clooney himself. He seems to be pretty honest about his own perspective, but Jessica Chastain tweeted out yesterday that “the stories were everywhere” about Weinstein, and that she was warned about interacting with him at all:
I was warned from the beginning. The stories were everywhere. To deny that is to create an enviornment for it to happen again.
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) October 9, 2017
When confronted about why Chastain didn’t blow the whistle herself, the answer didn’t impress her followers:
We hear this same story. Someone could have said something, but didn't bc reasons. Try 2 be as brave IRL as u are in the movies.
— Chica'sBailBonds (@IrinaMoises) October 10, 2017
It looks like more of a case of not wanting to know for Clooney and others. Some other male stars have come forward today, including Ben Affleck, to denounce Weinstein but still claiming that they knew nothing. (Gwyneth Paltrow today hailed Brad Pitt for defending her from Weinstein two decades ago, but failed to note that it means Pitt knew and said nothing.) Clooney wants the DNC to cough up the cash now that everyone knows:
So when you find out how much worse it is than you thought, then it’s a news story. And this is a big news story now. And I feel very bad for all of the victims. I mean, cornering a young anchorwoman in the kitchen and jerking off into a potted plant? That’s not just some rumor about Harvey hitting on a woman; it’s disturbing on a whole lot of levels, because there had to be a lot of people involved in covering that up. That’s frustrating. If politicians knew these stories, I doubt they’d have been taking donations from him at the DNC [Democratic National Committee], and I hope that they will all give the money back or donate it to good causes.
Well, they are donating to what they see as good causes. Primarily, that means other organizations that work to elect Democrats:
Other major beneficiaries of the Weinstein family’s largesse included almost $200,000 to the party’s Senate campaign accounts, $23,200 to its House campaign arm senatorial and $46,350 to Hillary Clinton, the 2016 presidential candidate, and to HILLPAC, a committee Clinton used to support other Democrats while senator. The figures include contributions attributed to Weinstein, first wife Eve Chilton and current spouse Georgina Chapman. …
The biggest beneficiary of funds from Weinstein and his family was the Democratic National Committee, which received about $800,000 in several of its accounts, according to the center, which analyzes political spending.
Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said the party plans to give more than $30,000 to Emily’s List, Emerge America and Higher Heights. All three groups work to elect women to office. Hinojosa said the amount was for the funds Weinstein himself donated to the party during the 2016 campaign.
That’s not donating as much as it is money laundering. But at least they’re acknowledging their connections to Weinstein. The Leader of All Women couldn’t manage even that much, until media outlets began openly reporting her deafening silence.