The word “bravery” has been used to describe Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech on Sunday evening — a speech seen as the potential launching point for Winfrey’s White House run. What, exactly, did Oprah do? She said that sexual harassment was bad, in front of a crowd of Hollywoodites shamed into saying the same after decades of participating in it.
Oh, the courage!
It wasn’t just Oprah: actor after actor stepped to the microphones and virtue signaled about the lack of female power in Hollywood. They all wore black dresses in solidarity with sexual abuse victims, and spoke in support of Time’s Up, a movement to end such abuse. All of which is great! Except that watching Hollywood decry sexual abuse feels like watching NFL executives decry concussions: these people have been making bank on a town that thrives on sexual abuse. Watching them fete themselves for their newfound heroism is galling, to say the least.
During Oprah’s speech (she of the multiple pictures kissing Harvey Weinstein), we watched a cutaway to Meryl Streep (she of “God, Harvey Weinstein” fame and the standing ovation for Roman Polanski). If that doesn’t say all that needs to be said about Hollywood, nothing does.
But we’re supposed to cheer Hollywood for its newfound wokeness. We’re supposed to pretend that their message of empowerment has nothing to do with being caught with their hands up skirts. We’re supposed to believe that these thoughtleaders who cheered Woody Allen just six years ago when he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes should continue to be our thoughtleaders on issues of protection against sexual abusers.
How about, instead, a little humility? How about a few apologies for doing and saying nothing? How about a little guilt? How about Meryl Streep, instead of leading the charge for Oprah for president, saying a few words about her relationship with Weinstein and how she wishes she had evidence to speak up sooner? How about a special appearance by Rose McGowan, who lost her career thanks to Weinstein, and who led the #MeToo movement before any of these successful actresses came forward with their own stories?
But no. We’ll instead be treated to talk about Hollywood’s stunning bravery yet again. Because no matter the question, the answer is always the same: our celebrity overlords are always right, even when they’re egregiously wrong.