In the case of public figures, there’s also no real case to be made for “letting go,” since the odds any of these aforementioned men will play a large or direct role in any of our lives are miniscule. Our interactions are less personal than they are distant, symbolic, and economically oriented.
Jewish sage Maimonides wrote in Teshuvah 1:1, “Similarly, one who injures a colleague or damages his property, does not attain atonement, even though he pays him what he owes, until he confesses and makes a commitment never to do such a thing again.’” In other words, from a Jewish point of view, there must not only be a confession, but also remorse and a real commitment to change one’s behavior going forward. So, for example, Harvey Weinstein trying to distract from accusations of rape and sexual assault by announcing he would take on the National Rifle Association doesn’t fly, Jewishly speaking.
Forgiveness is a powerful force. But without real change, it’s also meaningless, which is why standards are crucial.