Alleged (and probable) serial sexual predator Harvey Weinstein offered a sloppy seconds mea culpa for his record of, if even the smallest bit of it is true, atrocious behavior toward women he worked with. He came of age in a prior era– the Hollywood era in which Roman Polanski could have sex with a 13-year-old girl and (to this day) avoid accountability– wherein bad behavior by powerful entertainment executives “was the culture”.
What he’s saying is correct. That culture existed in an older version of the workplace, and it exists in the modern one. Sexual harassment is far too common. It’s the culture now. The sexual harassment culture of the average VC-funded startup makes Mad Men look restrained. So, yes, that was the culture then and it’s the culture now. People with power abuse it. The people who want power the most are the most likely to abuse it; to them, power is useless if not abused. That’s nothing new, and it probably won’t go away either.
So, Weinstein’s claim is spot-on accurate, and also… it’s no fucking excuse.
This is what I hate about the filth that our society has allowed to take up the most important positions. They legitimately believe that “the culture” justifies terrible actions. As executives, they do terrible things because “the shareholders” will demand it. They soak up leadership positions, but they don’t fucking lead. They do shitty things because the people around them do shitty things, too, and seem for a long time to get away with it. They’re no better than anyone else; on the whole, they’re worse? In that case, why do we keep these expensive, useless people around? Why not throw them aside, with bone-breaking force, so competent people can step up?
Who creates the culture? People do. And some people get a megaphone and their voices carry a thousand times farther than others. No one should rest on “the culture” as an excuse for terrible behavior, but especially not the people with the power to change it. Fuck all these assholes, and fuck the shitty “culture” they hide behind.