Weinstein’s fame for sexual trespass had began early, when he was a live performance promoter in Buffalo. As he aged, his affect waned — the entire film business waned — simply as he was in search of youthful prey, from a cohort that “more and more spent their free time on social networks like Fb,” Auletta reminds, “relatively than going to the flicks.”
After the producer, then in his 60s, lunged from his workplace sofa at Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, a 22-year-old Miss Italy finalist, in 2015 — “when he reached for her breasts like he was at an all-you-can-eat buffet,” as Auletta places it — she did what many earlier girls who had been in her place, frightened of Weinstein’s towering energy, had been loath to do: She known as the police. A publicist’s try and discredit Gutierrez was met with indignant cries that she was being “slut-shamed.” The fourth wave of feminism had arrived with an enormous splash, pulling Weinstein and his ilk into the undertow.
And but the male foreman of the jury that convicted Weinstein, Auletta factors out, cited the testimony and conduct of male witnesses, not feminine victims — “suggesting,” Auletta writes, “that ‘imagine girls’ might face a steep uphill climb.’” He proposes as an alternative “hearken to girls”; however one key lady’s voice is forged as soul-crushingly loud.
Trying to find Rosebud, Auletta alights, for lack of higher explanations, on the Weinstein brothers’ flame-haired and apparently flame-tempered mom, Miriam (for whom their firm was named, together with their milder father, Max, a diamond cutter who died of a coronary heart assault at 52). A childhood good friend advised Auletta that Harvey referred to Miriam as “Momma Portnoy,” after the shrill character in Philip Roth’s “Portnoy’s Criticism.”
Bob, who by some means averted rising right into a “beast,” as Harvey is repeatedly described right here, permits for the opportunity of Miriam’s frustration at her life’s limitations. “She might have been Sheryl Sandberg or one in every of these C.E.O.s of an organization. She had that type of smarts,” he advised Auletta. As an alternative, she proudly introduced rugelach to her sons’ headquarters, and had an epitaph worthy of Dorothy Parker: “I don’t just like the environment or the gang.”
As there was a roving “fifth Beatle,” so there have been a sequence of Miramax executives nicknamed the “third brother” — loyalists who helped to allow unhealthy conduct — and, chillingly, a form of “conveyor system to funnel girls” to Weinstein’s lodge suites. If you happen to’re not within the NC-17 and sometimes disgusting particulars of what occurred in these suites, nor within the headsmacking convolutions of nondisclosure agreements, maybe you’d desire one of many disgraced protagonist’s suggestions from the extra tasteful period he worshiped, Elia Kazan’s autobiography, “A Life,” or a e-book Weinstein was usually seen carrying throughout trial preparation: “The Brothers Mankiewicz,” by Sydney Ladensohn Stern. Herman Mankiewicz is credited with the screenplay for “Citizen Kane”; his brother, Joe, wrote “All About Eve.”
Recalling these nice motion pictures, and even some from Miramax’s glory days within the ’90s, feels dispiriting, as the images, to paraphrase “Sundown Boulevard,” proceed to get smaller. Going alongside for the journey of Weinstein’s gradual rise and fall, even with the in a position Auletta at one’s aspect, can really feel much more dispiriting, like getting on a kind of creaky curler coasters at a pale municipal playland.
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