The Fall of Harvey Weinstein


#4004

Years ago my employer merged with another employer. As part of the effort to integrate, we staged a meeting where the execs all came together to meet each other, etc. The two CEOs gave short speeches to introduce themselves, their team, their culture, etc. I still recall today hearing the other company CEO talk about how financially responsible they were, how it was a practice that execs traveling together on business always opted to share hotel rooms in order to demonstrate that fiscal responsibility. I remember thinking at the time ‘these people are out of their minds’. Later it came out that the entire other executive team had participated in accounting fraud for years. I don’t really see how the one thing caused the other, but it’s weird nonetheless.


#4005

Well this is pretty intense.


#4006

Of note, claims have arisen against Vic Mignogna. Many people may not know the name, but he’s a famous voice actor who has had notable roles of the English-dubbed Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist, Broly from Dragon Ball, and most recently Qrow from RWBY (whose studio has just cut ties).


#4007

Liam Neeson, what are you doing?

For context:

40 years ago, Neeson found out someone he knew was raped.

“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson says. “But my immediate reaction was…” There’s a pause. “I asked, did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person.

“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some [Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers] ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could,” another pause, “kill him.”

Neeson clearly knows what he’s saying, and how shocking it is, how appalling. “It took me a week, maybe a week and a half, to go through that. She would say, ‘Where are you going?’ and I would say, ‘I’m just going out for a walk.’ You know? ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘No no, nothing’s wrong.’”

He deliberately withholds details to protect the identity of the victim. “It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that,” he says. “And I’ve never admitted that, and I’m saying it to a journalist. God forbid.”

“Holy shit,” says Tom Bateman, his co-star, who is sitting beside him.

“It’s awful,” Neeson continues, a tremble in his breath. “But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the fuck are you doing,’ you know?”

All three of us know – Neeson, Bateman and I – that this is a distressing admission. “I come from a society – I grew up in Northern Ireland in the Troubles – and, you know, I knew a couple of guys that died on hunger strike, and I had acquaintances who were very caught up in the Troubles, and I understand that need for revenge, but it just leads to more revenge, to more killing and more killing, and Northern Ireland’s proof of that. All this stuff that’s happening in the world, the violence, is proof of that, you know. But that primal need, I understand.”


#4008

At least he is the one telling the story. Maybe he’s trying to make a point about something. I’m willing to listen.


#4009

Reading it, sounds like he’s trying to say that what he did was a terrible thing and he is still struggling trying to deal with it.


#4010

I read about this yesterday on the AV Club in an article that was hyper-critical of Neeson. I thought it was an honest sharing of a personal story from a 66 year-old bloke recounting some racist feelings from earlier in his life that he now regrets and has grown past. I don’t think it’s fair to rake him over the coals for this and I was surprised and glad to see that folks in the comments section seemed to agree.

Edit: Just as we seem to be doing here… I mean, if Nesrie isn’t pissed… ;)


#4011

Yeah, I saw that bit and my first thought was, “What the hell is a cosh? Some type of club?” and it is apparently. But then I recognized that he knew all of this was wrong and sincerely regrets his actions, realizing how lucky he was not to have found anyone that night.


#4012

To admit that someone felt capable of becoming a murderer yeas ago, and the intent to murder someone who wasn’t even guilty just of a certain race, that’s a hard one. That’s a really hard one. Going public with it, even harder. I don’t see why this would sink him. He has a demon in his closet that he knows about it, and he’s not really excusing it either. Maybe others can use him as an example.


#4013

I agree with all of the above. I think Neeson struggles with what he did 40 years ago. I dont think he should be “deleted” or whatever the kids say.

That said, it was really weird to pop out this story, unprompted, during what should’ve been a softball press junket for his next generic action movie. It would be a shame if this screws his career up.


#4014

Yeah, I’ve got no issue with this. It takes a lot of guts to come forward with something like this and I can’t really think of any motivation to do so unless it’s just been something that’s eating you up inside and you need to get it off your chest. And if it’s eating you up, you’ve clearly realized how wrong it was and have improved as a human being.


#4015

You’re right, though it really shouldn’t be so weird to say something personal, honest, and substantive during an interview. Even a press junket type of interview. That’s why this getting drummed up as a controversy is so galling to me.


#4016

I don’t think it’s getting “drummed up” as a controversy. It’s controversial. Neeson admited that 40 years ago he reacted to a rape by trying to incite a fight with a random black person so he could kill them. There’s no way that wasn’t going to be an issue for some people.


#4017

I think this has kept him up nights. It’s pretty horrific, but we need to forgive people engaged in a genuine attempt to change themselves for the better, particularly when it’s not an “I’m sorry… that I got caught” apology.

It’s also easier in a case like this, where he didn’t go through with it. The evil bits didn’t win, but he’s still processing the fact that they could have.


#4018

He’s going to take a few lumps for a little while but I don’t think it’s going to sink him.

This, from his later interview:

Roberts pushed back, pointing out that Neeson “asked about color. You didn’t ask if the person was tall or short, big or small. You immediately went to race.”

The actor conceded that, but said he did ask those other questions of his friend who he said has since died.

He said he would have had the same reaction had his friend said her rapist was white.

I think that’s bullshit. He was just going to up and murder the first white guy he saw… does he really think that would be his first reaction? I doubt it. Sounds like he will need to struggle with this for a little longer.


#4019

You’re right that it’s controversial, but the article I read yesterday, I felt, was quote unquote drumming it up. Outrage culture, media clicks, and all that kind of thing. Here it is…

Even the title and list-of-questions angle is sarcastic and glib. And I usually like their writing.


#4020

Reading the follow-up interview with him, it seems to be very clearly an episode in his life that he regrets, and has moved past.

Honestly, I feel the outrage (at least what I’ve seen) is overblown. He did not actually do anything, after all. Yes, he says that he went out with the intent to kill, and yes - his logic for doing so was morally indefensible, but at the end of the day he didn’t do it. No matter how abhorrent the act, thinking of doing something is not a crime.


#4021

I thinking this is probably going to sink Neeson and it’s mostly going to due to differences in cultural context. He still “thinks Irish” and this statement reflects contexts and perspectives that aren’t going to carry over and that’s probably what’s going to end his career.

I do remember though in Dublin one tour guide humble bragging about getting stabbed in a bar fight during his “interesting life” spiel, another bragging about his son in the army and how his granddad helped the IRA, and another spitting about how the Northern Irish are still no good when the crowd wasn’t looking. This dramatic and violent ways of thinking won’t be understood by the rest of the world anymore, and Neeson being a “lad” up to some dark thinking isn’t going to get much sympathy (even as the real context about the rape gets lost).


#4022

I think Terry Crews said it best.


#4023

Terry Crews really said that? It’s pretty spot on, I think.