Weinstein: The Inside Story | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Weinstein: The Inside Story

TV Critic Morgana Chess looks at Panorama's documentary Weinstein: The Inside Story, as it offers a glimpse into an industry that failed so many women

Gross stories of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and the suffering of his accusers have been unavoidable in recent months. We’ve all blanched at the extensive headlines, articles and twitter feeds detailing his vile exploits as more than 100 women have so far come forward to accuse him of sexual harassment and assault. Christened the ‘Weinstein effect’, the fall of Weinstein has also led to the Hollywood blacklisting of other big stars, such as Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K, or at least questioning, as is the case with Aziz Ansari. The real question on everyone’s lips, though, is: is this the watershed moment? Has the industry really been changed for good? The high-profile #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have continued to gather momentum and awards season has been awash with speeches about equality and permanent change, but Panorama’s new BBC documentary makes you realise that there are well-ingrained systems to unravel and that these crimes go much deeper than the perversions of one man.

The real question on everyone’s lips, though, is: is this the watershed moment? Has the industry really been changed for good?
Panorama significantly chose to release their one-hour documentary just ahead of the Academy Awards, where Weinstein has always been such a dominant presence, and focus their attentions on the complex machinations that he and his team used to conceal his crimes. We see a web of lawyers, journalists and even an Israeli intelligence agency, operating through the dirty trade of stories and blackmail to keep the mainstream press off the scent and suppress all suspicion surrounding Weinstein.

Because suspicion certainly existed. We observe the varying degrees that other people were involved, from active manipulations and shady cover ups, to simply turning a blind eye. The documentary shines when it offers us glimpses of Weinstein’s personality, vile as that may be. People who were close to him speak of his abusive, bullying character and how it wouldn’t take a genius to translate that to his behaviour in the bedroom, and yet, almost everyone remained silent. People knew, that much is certain. We also learn, however, that Weinstein’s notorious arrogance was mingled with a level of insecurity and a fascinating paranoia about the press, helping to provide the momentum for his publicity machine and its deceptions.

We hear from several of his female victims, and their raw, emotional stories never end in the bedroom
We hear from several of his female victims, and their raw, emotional stories never end in the bedroom. Having escaped the physical clutches of their abuser, the women are then routinely met with bullying, intimidation, and the threat of losing their careers, as everything possible is done to suppress their stories. Victims were dismissed as liars, as Weinstein’s machine would force them to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements and literally buy their silence, then humiliate and demonise them in the press as money-grabbers to deflect all attention away from Weinstein’s own misdeeds. As one woman accurately puts it, ‘it’s not about sex, it’s always about power’. The documentary lets us hear nauseating secret recordings, proving Weinstein’s vile arrogance and persistence, and we learn how meetings were literally engineered so that Weinstein had access to hundreds of women, one-on-one.

An hour is barely enough to scratch the surface and achieve any true depth in this documentary, but that is by dint of the horrific extent of Weinstein’s exploits, rather than Panorama’s efforts. The episode still offers an important insight into an industry that enabled such crimes to be suppressed for so long, and gives us a more poignant understanding of the victims who suffered for it.

Second year English Literature student



Published

23rd March 2018 at 9:00 am

Last Updated

23rd March 2018 at 9:20 am



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