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The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


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How Men are Reacting to the Harvey Weinstein Scandal


Slider image by Sara Saidel.

Imagine a life where your career depends on a secret. A horrible secret that if told, would ruin your life. This is what it’s like for women in Hollywood who were sexually assaulted by film mogul Harvey Weinstein. Throughout the month of October, over 40 women have spoken out against Harvey Weinstein. These actors spoke of being harassed and abused by Weinstein as he threatened to end their careers should they refuse to comply or tell the media about his manipulative ways. Weinstein’s actions have been a well-kept secret in Hollywood for decades, and the sudden release of these narratives have made ripples in the media and have brought new focus on sexual assault in Hollywood, politics, and other public institutions. In addition to accusations by women, and an outpouring of support from fellow sexual assault victims on social media, men in both Hollywood and local communities have had strong reactions and opinions to the Weinstein allegations.

It’s easy to for men to criticize famous men in the spotlight for their wrongdoings toward women, but it’s much harder for men to own up to instances in their own lives when they were disrespectful and cruel towards women, or a time when they could have spoken out about someone else’s harmful actions. Right now, the majority of men in Hollywood that are speaking out against Weinstein are coming to the defense of the many women he’s harassed with heartfelt and compassionate responses on Twitter. Famous actors like George Clooney, Ben Affleck, and Woody Allen, have all expressed their disgust at his actions and questioned what they can do to help women who were harassed and how to make sure this never occurs again.


While most of the responses by male stars have been received well by the “twitter-verse,” others have been met with controversy. Matt Damon’s statement that “As a father of four daughters, this is the kind of sexual predator that keeps me up at night” has earned some criticism. On first glance, Damon’s response could be viewed as caring and compassionate like other’s reactions, but many have criticized Damon’s reasoning, suggesting that men’s condemnation of sexual assault should not be contingent on having daughters, sisters, or wives. Rather, men should be disgusted because human beings should not be sexually assaulted, regardless of whether or not they have a connection to the victim. Having a daughter, a wife, or female friends shouldn’t be what pushes people to speak out against sexual harassment and sexism. It should be a sense of rage that one gender isn’t being treated with respect and equality and  that should be push people to speak up.

Cody Welton, the head of the science department at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, said that he was “saddened and not all surprised” by Weinstein’s actions. In reference to the fact that seuxal harassment in Hollywood has been happening for decades without anyone speaking up about it, Welton said “I think that this ‘open secret’ culture exists in many different areas of our society. It is a problem of men in power using the ambition and vulnerability of women to take advantage of them. This kind of sexual assault and rape often occurs in any part of our society where this kind of power imbalance is found.” Welton, who has a daughter, said that the “as-a-dad perspective” is a “tone-deaf and privileged way to view this situation. We should feel compassion to our fellow humans whether or not we are a dad or a husband or a boyfriend.”

Cody Welton, Chair, HBHA Science Dept. holds up a sign. He said, “we should feel compassion to our fellow humans whether or not we are a dad or a husband or a boyfriend.” Photo by Sara Saidel.


Welton said that in order to support women and to make sure this never happens again, “Men need to realize that women face many pressures and dangers in our society that men do not. Men need to listen to women. Men need to hear what women are saying. And men need to responsive to the changes that women are asking for. ”

Since the allegations about Weinstein came out, there have been multiple cases like this one that have recently come to light. Famous actors like Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, and Senator Al Franken have been accused of sexual assault or misconduct and have apologized. Roy Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court justice and current candidate for the U.S. Senate, was accused of pursuing and sexually assaulting young girls when he was in his 30’s, yet he is still running for election.

These new allegations have made me think a lot about what is happening here. The action of assaulting another person isn’t something that just happens; it’s not a mistake. There’s a thought process that the perpetrator goes through. At one point a person think to themselves “I want to do this” and when given the choice to make a bad decision, they make the executive decision to force themselves onto another person. This makes me think a lot about what parents should be teaching their children. There are two basic morals that need to be taught from a young age: self-control and respect.

Rabbi Neal Schuster shares a similar opinion. He said “rather than looking at it as which women do I feel fearful for or protective of…we need to thinking, what do I need to teach my children, and in particular, what do I need to teach my son, so that they don’t become someone who does this.”

Rabbi Neal Schuster, Senior Jewish Educator at KU Hillel, said “… what do I need to teach my son, so that they don’t become someone who does this.” Photo by Sara Saidel.

Our constant reaction to sexual assault can’t be, ‘which of my female friends do I need to be protecting from sexual predators,’ it needs to be teaching boys from a young age strong morals to prevent them from making bad choices, and this can only be done through education. Parents need to teach their sons about respect for other human beings but also about their own sexuallity and how to make healthy choices that don’t hurt anyone involved. Sexual assault cases have been coming out increasingly in the news recently, and it is my hope that parents take this opportunity to teach their children so the next generation of boys and girls are filled with respect for one another and are educated enough so that if they are presented with the decision to make a bad choice, they choose the right one.

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