What’s Current: Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty on rape charges

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

Embed from Getty Images

  • Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty on rape charges. His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told reporters:

“Mr. Weinstein has denied these crimes. He has never engaged in non-consensual sex with anyone. As terrible a crime as rape is, it is equally reprehensible to be falsely accused of rape. In his view, he has been falsely accused of rape.”

  • A “hyper-masculine” culture in pipeline work camps (dubbed “man camps”) has led to a notable increase in sexual assaults, specifically against Indigenous women living in these remote areas.
  • Jocelyn Macdonald reports on the recent assault against a lesbian accused of being a “TERF,” which took place outside a St. Louis pub.
  • Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced Stanford athlete Brock Turner to only six months in jail for sexually assaulting and attempting to rape an unconscious woman, has been recalled from office.
  • Teespring pulls “Fuck TERFs” shirt from its online store.
  • Stephen Colbert reminds Bill Clinton that his behaviour “was the most famous example of a powerful man sexually misbehaving in the workplace” of his lifetime.
Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

Like this article? Tip Feminist Current!

Personal Info

Donation Total: $1

  • TwinMamaManly

    In my web travels I have just come across a fantastic and very apt name for these anti-terf misogynistic cis-hetero-male wearing lipstick assholes – “troon”. According to the Urban Dictionary it used to mean an “ugly woman who looks like a man” (which isn’t very nice) but it has now evolved into a transphobic slur for a transwoman (originating with the alt-right, these strange sociopolitical times make for some strange bedfellows). I will now use the word “troon” word to name these particular violent transactivists with much satisfaction.

  • therealcie

    I’m just waiting for the moment when this “terf” crap gets someone killed.
    Also, re: Harvey Weinstein, of course it wasn’t rape, it was just boys will be boys. These women are too sensitive! (sarcasm)

  • Kathleen Lowrey

    & quite probably the rape of Eileen Wellstone while he was a Rhodes Scholar. He started young.

    • calabasa

      They usually do.

  • cday881@gmail.com

    To those who opposed the recall effort against Persky, maybe Michele Dauber meant to send a message to the broader legal community.

  • susannunes

    Millennials really have no business talking about Bill Clinton. You have no idea whatsoever what you are talking about, and it shows. Your post is laughably ignorant. ALL of those women, Lewinsky excepted, were paid off by paranoid billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife and company to lie in order to distract Clinton from doing his job. These fascists, and that is what they were and are, wanted to force him out because they couldn’t prevail in the voting booth. You don’t even mention the witchhunt by Kenneth Starr. This is how brazenly ignorant your post is. Shame on any person who upvoted your post.

    BTW, Juanita Brodderick gave a sworn deposition UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY DENYING she was EVER raped by BC. Where are your facts beyond right-wing tabloids? How do you even have the conscience to post what you have posted? Your post cannot under any circumstances go unchallenged because it is NOT one bit true.

    What was attempted against BC was a coup by right-wing interests paranoid they were losing their longstanding Southern Strategy, starting with Nixon, because both Clinton and VP Al Gore were southern. It failed, but here I read women who claim to be feminists who have NO clue what they are talking about AT ALL. So-called feminists, especially the millennials, should refrain from talking about this case at all because it is obvious they have no memory of what happened.

    What I have written is fact, whether you like it or not. BC’s only foul up in this area as president was with Lewinsky during the 1995 government shutdown thanks to Gingrich and company trying to hijack it over Medicare (and Clinton was going through a tremendous amount of pressure), who has capitalized on the notoriety and has flat out LIED about claiming he took advantage of her. This woman actually pursued him, flashing her thong panties at him, bragging to friends about getting her presidential kneepads, a groupie exactly like her mother. She is a loser like all the rest of the women. BTW, Clinton moved her out of the WH internship to the Pentagon for the very reasons of impropriety and loyality to his family, whereupon she bragged about her unconsummated “affair” with Clinton to partisan hack and coworker Linda Tripp. Now those are facts, which can be verified. The only man who “took advantage” of her was Kenneth Starr, and she knows it. You should, too, but you are too young to remember this or forgot it. After all, this was over 20 years ago.

    • Kathleen Lowrey

      I am 47. I used to think all the bad news about the Clintons was a “vast right wing conspiracy” just as they insisted. Then I read more widely. The right wingers who wanted to get them had a LOT to work with.

      It is similar to Julian Assamge: that the U S govt really does want to get him does not mean he didn’t sexually assault anybody. More than one thing can be true at the same time.

    • My above report came chiefly from a speech by Andrea Dworkin in 2002. The only thing I can say is to go read the lengthy Wiki coverage of Juanita Broaddrick . Toward the end, it sums up much of the “controversy.” She never recanted her rape accusation and still holds by it today, and she has many believers, both male and female, in high progressive circles. Her story stands on very solid ground, just as solid as the Ray Moore accusers. (And don’t forget all the adulterous sex–to me that can be just as destructive to women)

      Why all the ad hominem material in your “response.” You have absolutely no idea about whom I might be. So why pretend you do. You even miss the most basic, most general aspects of my identity. I have no idea of yours, and you truly have no idea of mine.

      • calabasa

        This commenter has a bugbear about the Clintons. She believes in a vast right-wing conspiracy to defame them, including planting evidence with Scotland Yard indicating he was reported for rape while a visiting scholar in Oxford at age 19 (charges were dropped; aren’t they always?)

        It’s not worth talking to her about, or about Roman Polanski, either (another rapist she inexplicably defends while trashing all the others).

        I get it. I mean, I may not have liked BC, but I liked HRC and was disappointed with the Faustian bargain she was forced to make by supporting her philandering rapist husband. Of Bill Clinton my Welsh grandfather memorably said, “He looks like he’d smile and shake your hand while he was pissing down your leg.”

        (I agree with this assessment. He seems to me to be a clear-cut case of a smarmy, slimy, self-aggrandizing narcissist, like Trump only smarter).

        But Chinatown used to be my favorite film, and now I can’t watch it ever again. I understand how gutting it is when someone you liked or looked up to turns out to be a rapist. I understand this intimately and personally (it is horrific when it’s a family member, or someone you love with whom you are in a relationship).

        It still doesn’t make it right to defend them and subscribe to elaborate conspiracy theories, IMO.

      • calabasa

        I disagree that adulterous sex is as destructive to women as rape.

        I know someone, beloved in my hometown, who runs a popular liberal business, whose husband is a serial rapist. I outed him for assaulting me when I was 17 and he was 24. Several more women came forward, including his wife’s friends. His wife came forward and said “he admitted it and would enter into ‘restorative justice’ (cough cough, bullshit) with any victims who wanted it.” Afterward of course he retracted his confession and claimed all encounters had been “consensual.” His wife is now interfering with his victims’ (her friends’!) therapy to prove to herself it was “consensual,” because that’s how much better a serial philanderer who slept with her best friends is in her mind than a serial rapist.

        An ex of mine raped me at least in part because he realized it didn’t bother me that the minute our relationship wasn’t working he went out and slept with other women (I was mostly concerned for them). I think it was galling to him how much worse he felt about things not working out than I did, and how he could not get to me, so he did what he knew would be the worst thing to me, that *would* get to me and *would* really break my heart, and it did.

        I don’t think adultery is anywhere near as bad for women as rape, no.

  • rosearan

    Yuk! Clinton apologized to everyone, except Monica Lewinsky. This is the young woman he sexually used and
    rejected, and whose life he destroyed. Yes, I know. She got off on sex with a powerful man. But their affair went the way of most married man-other woman scenarios – the woman’s fuckability inevitably wanes, especially when the adultrous man is one half of a major power couple. Of course, they didn’t expect to be found out. When they did, he received nothing more than a constitutional rap over the knuckles and went on to amass untold power and riches, while she became the ultimate slut-shame victim.

  • shy virago

    You’re right!
    And all the other women he abused and raped whose names we don’t know.

  • Liz

    That fucking Grin!

  • marv

    Not quite on topic here but it is deeply troubling that the #MeToo movement exposing harassers and rapists is not seeing porn as a major illustration and cause of misogynist conduct. So much dead thinking in the world even in relatively progressive drives.

    • Meghan Murphy


    • Jani

      Agree with you 100%. In the wake of #metoo several porn performers committed suicide, and although it’s difficult to speculate, I can’t help wondering about the significance of rape and sexual abuse in the porn industry. It’s difficult for any woman to successfully prosecute her rapist, but I suspect it’s probably impossible for a woman reporting being raped whilst working in the porn industry. The treatment of women on porn sets is horrific and I’m not just talking about the “performance” for the cameras. It’s not unknown for all the men on the set to take their turn with each performer after the shooting is over. Meanwhile these women are being plied with alcohol, cocaine, meth or whatever. Consent? What consent? Meanwhile a considerable proportion of the male population are wanking off to this “harmless fun”. That the porn industry is exempt from the #metoo discussions is bizarre.

      • marv

        Yeah, revealing the harms of porn is something like opposing the church in the middle ages.
        You risked persecution, death threats and more. Those protestants who did object only opted for a modified patriarchal faith not abolition of god and patriarchy. Feminist porn is a coinciding blunder.

        • Jani

          Yes, it’s like crack cocaine for their dicks. I’m getting really bored with porn apologists: “it’s not all violent… the women who do it are there by choice… what about feminist porn?… women watch porn too…what about 50 Shades of Gray?…” and all that crap. Well I have news for those people — there were women pornographers in the 1970s, there were 70s “porn stars” like Mary Millington who “loved” making porn and “loved” sex (but committed suicide at the age of 33), and on and on. The most disturbing thing about the Weinstein stories, apart from the sheer number, was how closely his behaviour resembled porn scenes. We know anecdotally that very young women are experiencing aggressive sex acts at the instigation of their boyfriends who have grown up with internet porn, and don’t get me started on “consensual violence”. I once stumbled upon a blog where a woman who was into “kink” detailed the abusive behaviour of her ex partner. But it wasn’t “kink” that was the issue, she said. Oh no, of course not. That just happened to be where he inflicted a lot of pain and abuse. Maybe one day she might join the dots, but talk about brainwashing.

          • marv

            “Yes, it’s like crack cocaine for their dicks.”

            Terribly funny!

            Surely the issues you mentioned are more urgent than climate change, pipelines and pollution but interrelated. Porn and BDSM however don’t make the news.

            We have to tie up the Strong Man – Patriarchy – and plunder his House.

    • calabasa

      This is a huge part of what drove me away from the private “metoo” FB page that popped up in my city after the hashtag campaign began.

      The page was run by “sex workers” and polyamorists and people into BDSM and camming. The page was created for area women to out rapists and abusers, most of whom were serial cases; every other day there’d be some “FYI” type “reminder” along the lines of: “Hey ladies! Several of these guys frequent area sex workers, so be careful!” “Hey ladies! Several of these guys have been spotted at play parties, so be careful when gettin’ your freak on!” “Hey ladies! Several of these guys are members of the local polyamory community; we women are trying to get them kicked out right now but for some reason the male leaders of the community are not on board and are asking for evidence and stuff.” “Hey ladies! Be careful when dancing because several of these guys have been spotted at burlesque shows and are part of the burlesque community!” And on and on.

      It was ridiculous how they twisted themselves into knots about how “progressive” and “feminist” all this bullshit that attracts rapists actually is. The head mod was absolutely flabbergasted that my ex–who, for the record, while we dated said he was unequivocally against legalizing prostitution and that it was bad for women (because he was telling me what I wanted to hear), now an outed rapist, who had raped me and other women, had been working on this very cool project with her writing a series to “lift up the voices of sex workers” in the community. She was *shocked* by this! A guy writing pro-sex-work crap turns out to be a rapist! It just made me laugh! Of fucking course he was!

      She ended up twisted herself in little knots to come to the conclusion that men are such shit they were “only worth fucking” (not falling for) and “might as well take their money,” and that’s how she could reconcile “sex work” being “empowering” when she knew the majority kind of men who go to sex workers–the kind who are more likely to rape them, and other women.

      All of this was all the more upsetting because of several women who were victims of CSA and rape (including an old friend of mine) who were working as prostitutes because of long-term C-PTSD making employment difficult, and who were also sold the “sex work is empowering” line. How “empowering” can a profession be that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for a “disposable class” of women who are often survivors of the worst kinds of abuse? Would porn and prostitution exist in a world which was economically fair for women and in which girls and young women were not routinely raped and abused growing up? If the answer is “no,” how do we justify it?

      • marv

        I have heard it said the center of patriarchy can not hold. If prostitution is the center it is holding firm in many places. Your reference to economics is key to change. Affordable even free housing/education and a guaranteed livable income untied to employment are essential solutions, among others.

        • Tobysgirl

          I’m very pleased to see this pointed out. If you are anti-prostitution, anti-porn, it is essential to be pro-social safety net. The best thing that could happen for women and children is for everyone to be guaranteed housing, health care, nutrition, and education, with a stipend on top of that. This is why I could not comprehend Gail Dines sitting on stage with a conservative Canadian politician whom one assumes does NOT support the guarantee of basic needs — could someone explain this to me?

          • Meghan Murphy

            She’s trying to get shit done. I agree that we absolutely need social safety nets if we are ever going to hope to get women out of prostitution, but at the same time, the NDP won’t share a stage with us, what do we do?

            (Also, I actually don’t know that Gail was familiar enough with Canadian politics to know that the Cons shouldn’t be allied with… )

  • calabasa

    I don’t think she did actually recant. There’s also the fact that accusations of rape against him go back to the time he was a visiting scholar at Oxford (he would have been about 19). He was accused of rape by a woman working at a bar; it was later dropped, but the report remains. He was also accused by a student of inappropriate groping/non-penetrative assault while in his office when he was a law school professor at the University of Arkansas. All of this is well before he ran for political office. To believe that someone went back and planted all this evidence, including the report at Scotland Yard, and paid some women to act as victims, is a level of conspiracy theory belief on par with the Birthers during Obama’s campaign. I think this is a simple case of Occam’s Razor: which is more likely, there is a vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton/the Clintons, or that a man is a rapist?

    I know which one I think is more likely.

    His behavior vis a vis adulterous affairs and sex addiction makes perfect sense as well. According to research, sexual narcissists who are the most likely to rape are also more likely to have a higher number of partners, to regularly use coercion in their arsenal, to be charming, and to have indiscriminate sex; they may rape when they are rejected or when their coercion/seduction techniques have failed and they are still faced with opposition. It makes perfect sense to me that the “callous cad” type is also the type most likely to rape (and get it away with it–your average date rapist/acquaintance rapist/partner rapist, who abuses his spouse while also having extramarital affairs), and research bears this out.

    Entitlement is the name of the game here; entitlement and reactance when met with rejection to what they perceive themselves as being entitled to; entitlement, reactance, and power.

    • Tinfoil the Hat

      I do not defend Bill Clinton. He is a scumbag and a user of women. I wish Hillary had had the courage to admit what he is, and to divorce him.

      I just questioned the Broaddrick situation, is all.

  • Tinfoil the Hat

    I am not defending Clinton. I am defending Ms. Lewinsky, at whom commenter susannunes has directed a disgusting amount of misogyny.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I mean, I’m mostly just guessing… We are in a tough position, as feminists, because no one is on our side. Also, when it comes to effecting change on a political and legislative level, we have to work with whoever is in power or whoever can help us get shit done. If the Cons are in power, we have to lobby them, whether we like it or not.

  • marv

    When it comes to misogyny Julian and Bill are alike. Male power protects them from prosecution. And all war, mass surveillance and right or left political institutions are constructed by men. Neither man would say this truth.

  • marv

    Saw the Pianist but not Chinatown. It fails like the whole mainstream and alternative film industry to examine the patriarchal structures of social life. Men’s hierarchies are evident in the plots but not exposed as men’s making. Male made gendered roles are portrayed without question. The brutality may be abhorred but not the male infrastructure of society which actually gives men like Polanski and Clinton power over women and power to be successful by men’s standards.