When I was young and I would whine about some injustice, my father would say: Who ever told you life was fair?
I thought he was cynical, but I’ve come to believe he was right. There is no fairness in a world where a serial rapist like Harvey Weinstein can settle a class action lawsuit without even dipping into his own pockets. The defunct Weinstein Company’s insurance will foot the bill to pay off some—not all—of his victims. It will also pay his attorney’s fees.
So, to clarify, in this country ordinary people are priced out of buying health insurance and, in many neighborhoods, prohibited from buying flood insurance, but a multi-millionaire Hollywood mogul can purchase rape insurance. This is America.
These days, Weinstein is hobbling around on a walker and playing the role of a doddering old man. Have you noticed how men who are faced with criminal consequences tend to wither, while women seem to grow stronger? Look at Martha Stewart. She did time in federal prison for illegal stock trading and spent half a year under house arrest. She emerged like some sort of poncho-knitting phoenix to rebuild her empire and her reputation. Meanwhile, Weinstein, Paul Manafort, Bill Cosby, and others seem to undergo rapid age progression when faced with consequences for their actions. Men, it seems, are the weaker sex.
To be clear, Martha Stewart’s deal wasn’t fair either. When an ordinary woman is released from prison, she has a terrible time finding and keeping a job. Further, in many states, home confinement means the prisoner must shell out for an ankle bracelet and monitoring service fees. No one explains how a person with no income and dim prospects is supposed to shell out hundreds of dollars every month for the privilege of staying home. But at least Stewart took her punishment like an adult and didn’t assume the role of an invalid in a pathetic plea for sympathy.
Weinstein still faces criminal charges. It’s possible he could serve time in jail, but it isn’t likely. Weinstein is supposed to be under house arrest, but he’s pretty lackadaisical about it. He disables his ankle monitor when he wants to travel outside the approved parameters and then just shrugs and says “whoopsie” when he’s caught. This week, the court raised his bail because he keeps dropping off their radar and they fear he’ll hop on a private jet and disappear. If the court is worried about an ordinary person skipping trial, they lock that person behind bars and deny bail. So why does Weinstein get special treatment? Oh, right, he’s a rich dude in America.
Harvey Weinstein is a sick, depraved, evil man. There is nothing he can do to change that. He still has not admitted any wrongdoing. He still seems to believe that he’s the victim in this mess. And he’ll probably live out the rest of his life in secluded luxury. Sure, he won’t be able to make more films or play king of the Oscar parties, but he’ll never be hungry or cold or poor.
Harvey Weinstein deserves to suffer. He deserves to be castrated with no anesthesia. He deserves to be boiled in a vat of hot oil until he turns into one large oozing blister. He deserves to grovel for every breath he takes from now until the day he dies. He deserves public shame and private misery. Instead, he’ll keep most of his money and will probably try to make some sort of comeback. He’s already tried to resume his social life in New York. When a club patron and a comedian called him out, they were booed and one was asked to leave the venue. What the hell is wrong with us? Why are we demanding civility for a monster?
Weinstein is using the legal system to protect his assets from being seized by victims or by the courts. In America, that is absolutely legal.
But it’s damn sure not fair.