From premieres to a perp walk: the beginning of Harvey Weinstein’s downfall has begun.
On Friday morning, the disgraced movie producer was arrested on charges that he raped one woman and forced another to perform oral sex on him. He turned himself in to authorities in Manhattan.
The 66-year-old, who has attended countless movie premieres in his day, is no stranger to strolling through a barricaded walkway flanked by hordes of paparazzi that click, click, click away. But this time, his image isn’t that of a slick, buttoned-up Hollywood Hot Shot—today he went for Innocuous Grandpa.
Gone are the days of the inky black suits and bow ties he wore at Cannes and on Sunset Boulevard, those uber-expensive tuxedos that sucked in his rotund midsection while he stood posing with the very same actresses who were powerless against him.
By choosing a grandfatherly periwinkle blue sweater—his play at a Mr. Rogers-esque look, perhaps?—his calculated intention was to appear harmless, remorseful even. With a copy of Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution tucked under his arm, Weinstein was clearly attempting to bolster his image as an arbiter of the arts. Rather than endearing, the move read as skeezy, insincere, and just icky.
Not unlike Bill Cosby, who wore a marled gray cardigan for his 2015 perp walk, Weinstein attempted to pander to his own previous public persona by evoking images of the craft of show business. But just like Cosby’s attempt to draw on his reputation as the approachable, goofy family man (the Jell-o guy!), Weinstein’s entire past has now been eclipsed by his actions.
There was also the issue of the sloppy execution of his attempt at Harmless Harvey. Did Weinstein want us to feel bad for him, with his wrinkled shirt, his thinning and graying hair, his gut that sagged over the waistband of his pants? Was he pandering for sympathy, as though the intense public shaming (of his own making, mind you) over all these months had taken its toll?
The producer's attempt to rehab his almost mob boss-like image from the days of his reign weren’t fooling anyone. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf, and it certainly doesn't help when he's photographed smirking.
But ultimately, today is not about Weinstein. Today is about the women who never thought they’d see this day come—women like Asia Argento and Rose McGowan who have been vocal about their abuser from the beginning.
As women around the world watch the walk back on social media, affixed to their screens, they feel a glimmer of hope. This is a historic moment, one in which this icky and abusive man stands as a sort of totem for all those other icky men from our collective past—because we all know them.
While Weinstein marches toward the police station, women finally get to march forward.