In light of the recent sexual harassment and rape accusations leveled against big-time Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, a moment during the 2013 Oscar nominations is raising eyebrows, suggesting the producer's predatorial behavioral was an open secret among the glitterati.
During the presentation for best supporting actress, comedian Seth MacFarlane cracked a joke about the nominees no longer having to "pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein."
"Congratulations! You five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein!" says the comedian.
While the Hollywood press unleashes laughter at the joke, actresses Emma Stone, standing alongside Macfarlane, seems less than amused.
The joke seems telling in the wake of the disturbing accusations which claim Weinstein used his power to obtain sexual favors from actresses in exchange for a promised boost to their careers. The producer has been accused of multiple acts of sexual harassment and assault, including the rape of at least three women.
In eight such lawsuits, Weinstein allegedly shelled-out cash totaling millions in settlements. Adding credence to the accusations, damning audio of Weinstein was released by The New Yorker on Tuesday, wherein the Hollywood titan seemingly admits to groping a young actress’s breasts and attempts to coerce her into watching him shower at the suggested threat of torpedoing her career if she declines.
More importantly, the interaction at the Oscar nominations suggests that Weinstein's behavior was well-known in Hollywood and that he was protected.
According to a report from The Wrap, actors Matt Damon and Russell Crowe allegedly helped squash a damning New York Times expose on Weinstein back in 2004, though Damon has since denied the accusation.