Even in a city and industry that prides itself on strict adherence to anti-gun orthodoxy, Hollywood Producer and Democratic mega-donor Harvey Weinstein distinguished himself as an enemy of law-abiding gun owners. In a January 2014 interview on The Howard Stern Show, the mogul launched into a lengthy anti-NRA tirade.
The rant started when Stern, a carry permit holder, asked Weinstein whether he owned a gun. Weinstein responded, “I don’t think we need guns in this country, and I hate it. And I think the NRA is a disaster area.” The producer went on to share his plans to make an anti-NRA feature film, titled, The Senator’s Wife. Weinstein noted, “I’m going to make a movie with Meryl Streep, and we’re going to take this head-on. And they’re going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them.” The mogul also contended that the movie would damage the gun industry, stating, “Gun stocks, I don’t want to be involved in that stuff. It’s going to be like crash and burn.”
It’s nearly four years later and The Senator’s Wife is reportedly still in the development stage. However, Weinstein’s grudge against NRA is back in the national spotlight, thanks to the producer’s bizarre attempt to deflect attention from a spiraling sexual misconduct scandal.
On October 5, the New York Times published an article titled, “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades.” The piece detailed allegations that the mogul used his position of influence to make unwanted sexual advances towards young women in the movie industry, including movie star Ashley Judd.
That same day, Weinstein issued a statement that addressed the Times’s story and attempted to excuse some of his behavior. Oddly, following a series of tepid apologies and justifications, the statement turned to NRA.
The beginning of the final paragraph of Weinstein’s statement read:
I am going to need a place to channel that anger, so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah.
Weinstein’s clumsy attack on gun owners was immediately seen for what it was, an attempt to distract the public and curry favor with anti-gun Hollywood. The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel remarked on Twitter, “Gotta love how Harvey Weinstein’s statement includes swipes at NRA/Trump. Clear message: Hey guys, i’m a good liberal. Give me a pass.” Even MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tweeted, “Weinstein’s attempt to rally liberals to his side by attacking the NRA is gross and absurd and I hope people don’t fall for it.”
The ploy didn’t work. In the days since the Times ran their initial article, a host of other women, including stars Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, have come forward and accused Weinstein of sexual harassment. Some of the more recent allegations have taken on an even more serious character, with the New Yorker reporting that Weinstein allegedly raped at least three women. The New Yorker report also included an account of an N.Y.P.D. sting operation where Weinstein was allegedly caught on tape mistreating a woman.
The allegations have put several prominent Democratic politicians in a difficult position. CBS has reported that Weinstein-hosted political fundraisers have brought in more than $5 million for Democrats.
An ardent Hillary Clinton supporter, Weinstein hosted a June 2016 fundraiser at his Manhattan home that reportedly raised $1.8 million for the failed candidate. Further, according to the New York Times, in October 2016, Weinstein “co-produced a Broadway fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign that was headlined by former President Bill Clinton, her husband, and Chelsea Clinton, her daughter, and featured dozens of performing artists.” Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are among the prominent politicians who have disgorged themselves of Weinstein’s money in the wake of his sex scandal.
It should not come as a surprise that an individual who has allegedly used his influence and physical stature to overpower and abuse woman would detest the right to keep and bear arms. Published research on sexual assault from Florida State Professor of Criminology Gary Kleck concluded that rape victims “who resist are much less likely to have the rape completed against them than nonresisting victims,” and that, “[t]he form of resistance that appears most effective in preventing rape completion is resistance with a gun, knife, or other weapon.”
As for Weinstein’s recent threats against NRA, gun owners shouldn’t lose any sleep over the alleged sexual predator’s bluster. Even if Weinstein weren’t preoccupied with mounting legal woes, the producer isn’t much for follow-through. In response to criticism of his 2014 comments on The Howard Stern Show, Weinstein said he would curtail his support for violent movies. Weinstein said, “I have to choose movies that aren’t violent or as violent as they used to be,” and, “I know for me personally … I can’t continue to do that. The change starts here. It has already. For me, I can’t do it. I can’t make one movie and say this is what I want for my kids and then just go out and be a hypocrite.” A year later, Weinstein put out the blood-soaked Quentin Tarantino film The Hateful Eight.
On October 8, the Weinstein Company board, which includes Weinstein’s brother Bob, fired the embattled producer. Given the criminal implications of some of the allegations against the mogul, and reports of an FBI investigation, it is has yet to be determined if Weinstein’s retirement party will be held at a state or federal penitentiary.