Starting with Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly and film producer Harvey Weinstein, they’ve fallen like so many dominoes in the glare of publicity and grim public testimony from the women (and, in a few cases, men) they mistreated — all those predators, gropers, sexual abusers of Hollywood, TV, the news, magazines, comedy, and politics, including a former president. Their films, their shows, their roles, their books have been cancelled, sent to the trash bin of history. Not so long ago, they were the big dogs, the winners of our world, and now, shown up for how they misused their power and prestige, they’ve been humiliated just as they humiliated others.
Oh wait, actually not all of them. I can think of one who didn’t go down at all. He won. He made himself great again. He got away with it.
In the full knowledge of what that particular big dog had done to women, with at least 10 of his victims coming forward to offer public testimony against him, with a filmed self-confession of what sort of behavior he had considered perfectly permissible for himself as a “star” — with all of that in plain sight practically 24/7 — a near-majority of the American people elected Harvey Weinstein president, or at least the Harvey Weinstein of 2016. That should be sobering indeed.
Pussy-grabber Donald Trump waved all of it aside as so much “locker room talk” and “fake news.” He threatened to sue. He denied everything, instead accusing his political opponent, Hillary Clinton, of aiding and abetting her husband’s sexual predation. And it all worked. The evangelicals voted for him. His “base” went for it. They elected a self-confessed predator president and, exactly a year later, in Alabama, with recent revelations about Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore’s scandalous behavior toward a 14-year-old girl and other young women, it just may happen again in the very same way based on the very same playbook. Moore has, of course, denied (almost) everything, labeled it all “fake news,” threatened to sue, attacked the “Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs,” and is even raising money off it. And it’s at least possible that he may still win the special election for the Senate seat of Attorney General Jeff Sessions next month by staying on the same path into the wilderness of sexual predation that Donald Trump pioneered in 2016. (Keep in mind that if a story broke tomorrow that Hillary Clinton had, in her thirties, approached a 14-year-old boy in a similar fashion, evangelicals across the South and that same Republican base would surely be up in arms about it.)
I suppose it’s hardly surprising that we’re on a predatory planet. The question is: What’s to be done about it? On that, TomDispatch’s jock culture correspondent Robert Lipsyte has some thoughts about the men (and this should ring a bell for many of us) who never spoke up when the big dogs barked. It’s certainly a perspective we guys should think about at this moment, given the big barker ensconced in the White House.