Finally a man is stepping up and taking real action to help women — at his own expense
As the dust settles around the Harvey Weinstein scandal and people are actually sitting up and taking note of the sexual abuse and harassment women have quietly endured for all of history, finally, a man is stepping up and doing something concrete to end that culture at his own expense.
Kevin Smith, the actor/director behind Clerks, was one of the first men in Hollywood to denounce Weinstein when his decades of predatory behavior came to light. But now, Smith is putting his money where his mouth is. On his podcast, Hollywood Babble-on, Smith announced that he’s donating all future residuals from The Weinstein Company, which produced several of his hit films, to Women In Film, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing the careers of women in the entertainment industry.
“My entire career is tied up with the man. It’s been a weird fucking week,” Smith said on his podcast. “I just wanted to make some fucking movies, that’s it. That’s why I came, that’s why I made Clerks. And no fucking movie is worth all this. Like, my entire career, fuck it, take it. It’s wrapped up in something really fucking horrible.”
And as the future of The Weinstein Company is a little uncertain right now, Smith promised he will donate $2,000 of his own money to WIF monthly if The Weinstein Company company goes under.
Sure, men have been speaking out about sexual assault and harassment in the wake of the Weinstein scandal. They’ve denounced the man. They’ve apologized for their own past transgressions. But what no men have yet done (until Smith, that is) is put the women who have been victimized in Hollywood before their own careers. Smith is giving up all future profits he could make that are connected to Weinstein, saying unequivocally that the women who have come forward and shared their stories are more important than the money and the success and they fame that he has found.
On his podcast, Smith continued, “I’m not looking for sympathy. I know it’s not my fault, but I didn’t fucking help. Because I sat out there talking about this man like he was a hero, like he was my friend, like he was my father and shit like that, and he changed my fucking life. And I showed other people, like, ‘You can dream, and you can make stuff, and this man will put it out.’ I was singing praises of somebody that I didn’t fucking know. I didn’t know the man that they keep talking about in the press. Clearly he exists, but that man never showed himself to me. It all hurts, and it didn’t happen to me, but it all hurts. So I feel like there are so many people that we know of now, and maybe even more, that were made to do horrible things to make their dreams come true and maybe didn’t even get to touch the dreams; this fucking dude chased them away.”
Men have been witnessing and largely ignoring gendered violence for as long as women have been talking about it — so, forever. The men are the majority of the perpetrators, they’re the silently complicit bystanders and they’re the ones with the power. It’s on men to change the culture that allowed Harvey Weinstein (and countless, countless other men with power) to abuse and harass women at will. This is one step toward that.
Now to see if other men will follow suit.