For decades, the alleged victims of Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment have remained silent. (Weinstein's spokesperson, Sallie Hofmeister, told The New Yorker, "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.") But in the wake of the New York Times' lengthy profile spotlighting women who claimed Weinstein had allegedly harassed them article, those stories are getting attention. In fact, there will be a BBC documentary about Harvey Weinstein that will focus how his career has been tarnished by the scandal. (Bustle has reached out to Weinstein's rep, but did not receive an immediate response. His lawyer declined to comment.)
The U.K. public broadcaster confirmed in a Dec. 18 report by The Hollywood Reporter that it has indeed commissioned a feature-length documentary that aims to chart the rise and fall of Weinstein's career (which, of course, goes hand-in-hand with the rise and fall of his reputation). Through a series of interviews with "the many actresses who have been brave enough to tell their stories" (i.e. their alleged sexual harassment and/or sexual assault at the hands of Weinstein), the documentary promises to offer a "definitive" take on what its production company calls "one of the most far-reaching scandals in Hollywood’s history — one which is still developing."
In October, the New York Times published a breakout report detailing the accounts of several women who claimed they'd suffered sexual harassment (to varying degrees) by Weinstein. The producer was subsequently fired from the Weinstein company, and, though he denies any charges of non-consensual sex, has since released a statement that read, in part
“I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.”
The film, which has a 90-minute runtime and is slated for an early 2018 release, will not only incorporate the voices of Weinstein's alleged victims (some of whom have never spoken out on this issue before), but also those of a whole medley of producers, directors, lawyers, journalists who've been tangentially involved with the scandal.
And, though the documentary's executive board is chock-full of middle-aged men (Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn of Lightbox productions will serve as joint EPs on the project), seasoned documentary trailblazer Ursula MacFarlane will direct. In an interview with Variety on Dec. 17, Simon Chinn expressed the importance of hiring a woman for the job, saying,
"I think [MacFarlane] will come at the story with a female perspective. She's an incredibly sensitive filmmaker who will be able to relate to many of the victims of [Weinstein’s] alleged abuse with great sensitivity."
The documentary (whose working title, at this point, is simply Weinstein) hopes to shed a bit more light on the Hollywood problem receiving increasing awareness. Because, while actors like Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan broke the decades-long silence about the alleged years of sexual misconduct, the issue is not a recent one. "As much as people knew a lot about Harvey and his reputation," Chinn told Variety, "there was plenty that we didn't know."
BBC's Weinstein-centric documentary aims to fill in some of those gaps, and, in a broader sense, the film aims to get to the bottom of some critical questions that lie at the core of the issue: How did Weinstein allegedly get away with this until now? And what does it say about the power dynamics in Hollywood?
According to Lightbox, the documentary will "delve into the complex mix of money, power, exploitation and abuse that developed with the emergence of the studio system in the 1930s" as a means of cracking open the "culture of fear and abuse that permeates Hollywood." By examining Weinstein scandal as a small example of a widespread, systemic issue, the film will also scrutinize the Hollywood industry through a larger lens. And that sounds long overdue.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.