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Harvey Weinstein is on Trial. His Enablers Are Not

Harvey Weinstein, an elderly white man who has a paunchy face and is balding, wearing a suit but looking haggard, looks toward the camera while in court.
Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles in November.
(Etienne Laurent
/
Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
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On a fundamental level, there are two sides in the Los Angeles trial of Harvey Weinstein: the four women who said he sexually assaulted or raped them, and Weinstein’s lawyers, who said any such encounters either didn’t happen or were “transactional,” and thus consensual.

But such a bilateral framing ignores the critical (and morally repellent) behavior of people known in legalese as “unindicted co-conspirators.”

In plain English, they are Weinstein’s enablers: the assistants who the victims say helped the convicted rapist procure women and then abandoned them once they were in Weinstein’s lair; the Weinstein colleagues who ignored obvious warning signs and punished those who reported the same; and the lawyers who not only tried to threaten whistleblowers but bought their silence through onerous non-disclosure agreements.

These people served as the equivalent of Weinstein’s getaway drivers: while they didn’t technically rob the bank, they brought Weinstein to the scene of the crime and whisked him away so he wouldn’t be caught.

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Weinstein's Assistants

During the five weeks of Weinstein’s Los Angeles trial — in which he was charged with multiple counts of rape, oral copulation and sexual battery — two women testified that two different Weinstein assistants essentially delivered them to the producer and then walked away knowing what would happen next.

Lauren Young said that Weinstein assistant Claudia Salinas guided her into his hotel suite, and as soon as Young was brought into the room’s bathroom, Salinas shut the door and left Young alone with him.

“This was a girl I thought was my new friend,” Young testified. “I just couldn’t believe she would do that to me.” Salinas testified that while she had met Young, she didn’t arrange the meeting with Weinstein.

Separately, a woman identified as Ashley M. testified that another Weinstein assistant, Bonnie Hung, told her she would be present for a meeting with Weinstein in a Puerto Rico hotel room. Ashley M. said Hung then closed the door as soon as she entered the room with Weinstein, where she said he sexually abused her.

Hung testified that she has no memory of Ashley or a trip to a hotel room.

Flagging Concerns

In a story in The Hollywood Reporter this week by Rebecca Keegan, former Miramax executive Lauren O’Connor recalled how she sent an email flagging her concerns about Weinstein’s behavior to the company’s human resources department two years before The New York Times and The New Yorker published their Pulitzer Prize-winning Weinstein stories.

The response? Within hours, Weinstein’s lawyer David Boies reached out to O'Connor, but wasn’t interested in her concerns. He was calling to make O’Connor shut up and go away, and within days he had extracted a non-disclosure agreement. (Boies also infamously hired spies from a company called Black Cube to try to intimidate witnesses and harass reporters.)

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The legal system can handle the likes of Weinstein.

Sadly, those who helped him along the way can skate, unlike the women they failed to protect.

What questions do you have about film, TV, music, or arts and entertainment?
John Horn, entertainment reporter and host of our weekly podcast Retake, explores whether the stories that Hollywood tells about itself really reflect what's going on?