Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino, one of the women who accused movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, is calling for a "mass speaking-out" within Hollywood to end the "atmosphere of impunity" that allows sexual predators to flourish and prey on the innocent.
Writing for Time, Sorvino explains why she finally came forward with accusations against Weinstein after holding them in for so many years. She says she felt fearful of the man who ran the industry like a mafia kingpin, terrifying those beneath him as he threatened to destroy their lives if they ever came forward with the truth.
"I had no idea that the abuse was so widespread, and in some cases, so long-term for the victims," Sorvino says in describing her personal turmoil at keeping her story under wraps for so long.
When a rumored expose on Weinstein nearly broke in 2004, Sorvino remembers feeling relieved that the truth may come out into the open. She describes for Time how she started "crying and shaking" over the news and the pain of seeing the story quashed.
Even as the allegations against Weinstein were made public last week, Sorvino still felt afraid to come forward with her story because Weinstein wielded that much power over people.
"I second-guessed my decision, wondering if I would ever work again, wondering if being a whistleblower would mean being blacklisted," she said.
When the story finally went public, she described feeling "an enormous peace" over finally hitting back against a man who frightened her every time they crossed paths.
Emboldened, Sorvino is calling for all men and women who have been the subject of this type of abuse from powerful figures, be it in Hollywood or anywhere else, to speak out in the effort to shut this madness down.
"It is time for the culture to shift — the age-old tradition of the monied and powerful imposing themselves sexually on the vulnerable and the weak. The Droit du Seigneur must end," she exclaims.
I am here to encourage a mass speaking-out. The atmosphere of impunity for predators who see it as their right to create climates of sexual intimidation, workplaces, campuses or even homes which are not meritocracies but transactional spaces where in order to keep one’s job or wellbeing one must somehow endure or comply with these unlawful advances, must be shut down. Victim-shaming must be quelled, and the real evildoers called out and punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Sorvino may very well get her wish. The Weinstein scandal is slowly proving to be a pivotal moment in the industry notorious for preying on young talents, exploiting their dreams to satiate the sexual appetites of men like Harvey Weinstein. On top of the women who have accused Weinstein, male celebrities have now come forward to describe their experiences with sexual harassment from powerful male executives.
Both actors Terry Crews and James Van Der Beek have come forward with painful stories of male executives groping them or propositioning them for sexual activity. As the scandal unfolds, the question now is where will the next shoe drop?