October 5, 2017 –The New York Times published an article that ignited a movement. An article detailing decades of silencing that Harvey Weinstein and people who worked with and for him engaged in was released into the world and opened a floodgate of allegations and brought a reckoning that was long overdue. Two reporters, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, worked quietly for months trying to uncover the details of allegations against Weinstein, the movie mogul who seemed untouchable.
As they discover more nondisclosure agreements and payouts, they realize the scope of the story is beyond anything they could have imagined. Following publication of the article, allegations came in astounding numbers and permeated all aspects of life – high school parties, nearly every workplace, and our daily interactions with others.
This book ends with Kavanagh’s supreme court nomination and confirmation hearing. I remember watching Ford’s testimony in my law school lobby, hearing fragments of people’s discussions about the testimony and whether it was credible, whether the allegation was relevant, and how we move through a changing tide to ensure that there is a cultural shift for the better. This book gives us an opportunity to see the incredible reporting of Kantor and Twohey and their decision to shine a light on something that was kept secret based on fear and complicity. Their story held a mirror up to Hollywood, specifically, and the world, generally—pushing us to reevaluate how we handle sexual abuse and harassment allegations. The complicity and fear that riddled so many stories emphasizes how something becomes systematic.
I am humbled by the bravery of the accusers and the journalists and every single person who took initiative to try to change a broken system. A lot of people, when this movement started, credited a “that’s just how it is” mentality. Many critics of the movement said it went too far but the reckoning does not retroactively bring justice. Rather, it illuminates society’s shortcomings and is a call to do better going forward. If no one ever tries to change the system, how does it ever change? It doesn’t.