Television

Documentary About Harvey Weinstein More Unsettling Than Any Horror Movie

Hulu's Untouchable is a relentless accounting of the mogul's sexual misdeeds.

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Untouchable. Available Monday, September 2, on Hulu.

When the career of megaproducer Harvey Weinstein collapsed into a heap of #MeToo rubble a couple of years ago, there was a certain sensation of tumbling through a crack in time.

Anybody with even a passing acquaintance with Hollywood remembered the casting couches of the old studio strongmen like MGM's Louis B. Mayer, whose sexual proprietorship of his contract actresses extended even to ordering a teenaged Judy Garland to take her meetings with him while sitting on his lap. (That made it easier for him to cup her left breast when he told her he loved the way she sang from the heart.) But really? In 2017?

It was a feeling familiar to many of Weinstein's employees. "I remember meeting him," says one former (male) minion during an interview for the documentary Untouchable, "and thinking, 'This person can't exist.' He is just such a caricature of a Hollywood mogul that hasn't been around for decades."

As it turned out, the moguls were, if anything, more numerous and more voracious than their predecessors. Everybody from Dustin Hoffman to Louis C.K.—more than 250 men, by one count—was accused of behavior toward women ranging from grotesquely porcine to flatly rapacious. In many cases, the charges came from multiple women.

There are so many questions raised by all this, even beyond the snarky ones. (Such as: When the CBS human resources office posted openings for the job of being on call to perform oral sex on CEO Les Moonves, how much experience was required?)

One that's at once among the most important and most intriguing: Is this sort of sexual buccaneering by bosses common in workplaces outside Hollywood? Are the hallways at Microsoft and AT&T also playgrounds for predators? And if it's strictly a show-biz phenomenon, why? Is there some peculiar sexual pathology that's attracted to, or bred by, dressing people in costumes and ordering them around a stage?

There aren't really any answers to these questions to be found in Untouchable, an unremittingly harsh account (that's not a complaint but a compliment) of the Weinstein scandal that, after briefly appearing on the festival circuit early this year, gets its first real exposure this week on Hulu.

But if you want a crash course in Weinstein's thoroughgoing and possibly criminal loutishness (his trial on sexual assault charges is scheduled early next year), you couldn't possibly do better than this report from British television documentarian Ursula Macfarlane.

With an impressive—and often gut-wrenching—array of interviews with Weinstein's victims, former employees and journalists who dragged it all out in the open, Macfarlane traces Weinstein's managerial misdeeds all the way back the 1970s, when he was a concert promoter in Buffalo.

As he graduated from small-fry local promoter to big-time movie producer (Miramax, the company he formed with his brother Bob, churned out artistic and critical successes like Sex, Lies and VideotapeShakespeare in Love and Pulp Fiction as if it were an assembly line), Harvey Weinstein's sexual skullduggery kept pace.

Relatively unimaginative ploys like, "Oh, the hotel forgot to book your room, wanna stay in mine?" turned into demands for topless massages and masturbation in front of mirrors and finally Caligulan depravity resulting in shattered toilets stained with blood.

None of this was any secret to Miramax employees. One resigned after a friend she had recommended for a job as Weinstein's assistant reported being raped on her first day of work.  A secretary to Bob Weinstein was so horrified after opening and reading a detailed letter from an attorney representing one of Harvey's victims that she quit on the spot—and shouted "Your brother is a fucking pig!" on her way out the door.

In some ways, the grimmest interviews in Untouchable are those who didn't quit, who stayed on what some of them called "the Harvey train" even though they at least suspected what was going on.

"When you were with Harvey, you were going out to dinner with Sean Connery and Leonardo DiCaprio," explains one, looking into the camera but with obvious difficulty. "He created an energy around him that made you feel like you were at the center of the universe."

For many women, however, the center of the Weinstein universe felt more like the bottom circle of Hell. And their nightmarish, broken accounts make it clear that the definition of sexual assault can be hazy when the assailant is a boss and the victim an underling.

"When you read about rape, you read, 'Okay, well, the girl screams "no!" and kicks and screams,'" recalls actress Paz de la Huerta of her encounter with Weinstein. "But that's not exactly right. The way in which he overpowered me left me with no way out."

Not that women were Weinstein's only victims. As Untouchable makes clear, he abused everybody, sexually or otherwise. "In a lot of ways," remembers one female ex-employee, "he was tougher on the guys." Favorite tactic with the guys: hurling five-pound ashtrays at their heads."

And in the end, both his hubris and temper had both grown so much that they could be contained neither by the walls of Weinstein's office or even any sense of public propriety.

When a female reporter at a Manhattan book party asked him what he thought was an impertinent question about a Miramax film, Weinstein shouted, "Who let this cunt in here?", then put a headlock on her boyfriend (also a reporter) and dragged him out onto the sidewalk. "I'm glad I'm the sheriff of this shit-ass fucking town," Weinstein bellowed. Wear that badge with honor, sir.

NEXT: New Orleans Magistrates Get a Cut of Fines and Bail Money, and That’s a Problem

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  1. Oh, he was found guilty by a court then?

    1. I’m sure they’ll find that this was all just a big misunderstanding.

      1. Big money types can do as they please as the governmental offices who SHOULD be regulating them choose not to do so, but, instead, take advantage of the money these fiends have. Cut government at ALL LEVELS by at least 50%.

    2. This! Exactly!

      “But if you want a crash course in Weinstein’s thoroughgoing and possibly criminal loutishness (his trial on sexual assault charges is scheduled early next year)”

      So, has he been proven guilty in any court other than the court of public opinion…which swallowed the ’80’s Satanic Ritual Abuse scare hook, line, sinker, and (for that matter) rod, reel, and waders?

      I’m not saying Weinstein is a nice guy, or even not a swine. I’m saying that he is being accused of a whole raft of behavior that nobody charged him with at the time, and now it’s years later. If he’s been hailed into court based on actual evidence, documentation, prior accusations that we can PROVE he derailed? Fine. Get a conviction and throw away the key. But if the accusations come under the heading of ‘This person is now saying this half a dizen years after the fact.’ then the makers of this documentary and the publishers of this magazine article deserve to be sued into the stone age.

      Powerful men are frequently swine. And we tolerate this far too goddamned much (I’m looking at the grave of Teddy ‘Chappaquiddick’ Kennedy). But #MeToo has been largely bullshit from the start. Not because I necessarily disbelieve the accusers, but because so many people simply believed them without much proof of any kind.

  2. IMO, the most shocking thing about the Weinstein scandal is that a man with such progressive and feminist political views — Democratic donor, pro-Planned Parenthood, anti-NRA, etc. — could turn out to be such a misogynistic creep in his personal life. It’s just totally out of character.

    Oh well. At least we still have Joss Whedon carrying the torch for straight cis-male feminism in Hollywood.

    1. Is this the same feminism that gave Bill Clinton a 100% pass because he was on the right, I mean left, side of issues?

      1. Being impeached is a 100% pass?

        1. Feminists were calling for him to be impeached?

  3. Weinstein is my HERO!!! Just like the vast majority of Epstein’s trysts I guarantee the majority of the sluts he nailed performed willingly. Now they supposedly regret it sniffing around for some shekels.

    1. Whose child is this?

    2. “The vast majority” performed willingly? So what percentage of the accusers were actually raped? A quarter? Maybe it’s ok if it’s only 10%?

  4. Not that women were Weinstein’s only victims. As Untouchable makes clear, he abused everybody, sexually or otherwise. “In a lot of ways,” remembers one female ex-employee, “he was tougher on the guys.” Favorite tactic with the guys: hurling five-pound ashtrays at their heads.”

    Did any of them say “No, I don’t want to have a five-pound ashtray thrown at my head.” before he did it? Any “Stop throwing five-pound ashtrays at my head!”s? I didn’t think so. The way they walked around having Y chromosomes and crania, they were asking for it.

    Of course, in all the hoopla, we can all name a half dozen men who he threw ashtrays at and can point to that moment at the Oscars where Seth McFarlane’s ashtray-throwing joke really outed the whole thing and kicked off the #metoo movement.

    1. Did any of them say “No, I don’t want to have a five-pound ashtray thrown at my head.””

      Most men outside of Hollowood would have thrown the ashtray back at him

      1. Most men in Hollywood are only men in the biological sense.

        The 80s action star generation is probably the last collection of American Hollywood male stars with any significant testosterone measurements.

      2. Not wanting to “victim blame” here, but…how were the men *dressed*?

        1. How does one dress as a target for thrown ashtrays?

      3. I’ve had one or two total assholes for bosses in my time, but nobody ever tried throwing something at me or taking a swing at me. If that had ever happened to me, or pretty much any man I know, the asshole in question would be explaining himself to the cops if he was lucky, or would get the shit kicked out of him if he wasn’t lucky.

        -jcr

  5. Is there some peculiar sexual pathology that’s attracted to, or bred by, dressing people in costumes and ordering them around a stage?

    I look at it the opposite way. Is there some peculiar pathology that drives someone to want so badly to be in Hollywood movies that they are willing to put up with this behavior?

    1. That’s it exactly. There’s such a mystique that women will do anything for a chance to be a star. If you live anywhere within a hundred miles of Hollywood then you know at least one male who pretended to be a Hollywood producer to get a girl to fuck him.

      1. If you live anywhere within a hundred miles of Hollywood then you know at least one male who pretended to be a Hollywood producer to get a girl to fuck him

        From whence one also comes to understand why being a Hollywood producer may be particularly attractive to a certain type of man who lacks the charisma that he might have needed had he chosen a different walk in life.

  6. Funny how he thought going after the NRA was his best possible diversion from all this. Special place in hell for sure. Once he is tried and convicted by a jury of his “peers” of course. At least he still has his Harvard lawyer.

  7. Is there some peculiar sexual pathology that’s attracted to, or bred by, dressing people in costumes and ordering them around a stage?

    Not anymore, the APA removed homosexuality from the DSM in the 70s. Nowadays, a questions like this, even in jest, might get your grants revoked and maybe even stripped of tenure.

    1. Is there some peculiar sexual pathology that’s attracted to, or bred by, dressing people in costumes and ordering them around a stage?

      Seriously, Weinstein was a producer, not a director. The more I read this statement the harder it gets to tune out the “queers love the theater” tone.

    2. I thought this was odd too. Weinstein isn’t a director. It sounds like the author has some… interesting thoughts on the type of people that Hollywood attracts.

  8. >>>But really? In 2017?

    why the fuck not, if it’s the cost of fame … work a desk job in Omaha

  9. This guy certainly sounds like scum. I hope the courts get to the truth of the matter and a just decision is reached. I am doubtful though.

  10. Too bad this documentary didn’t come out about 5 or 6 years ago. I’m sure it could have been made 5 or 6 years ago, but there wasn’t any interest then. Funny how when you think you’ve discovered a maggot-infested pile of offal just lying around, it turns out everybody’s known all along it was there, it’s just that nobody wanted to be the one to say anything.

  11. Yeah, but here’s the problem – I’ve seen too many documentaries. Very few of them are actually documentaries though. They’re pushing a narrative and so you really can’t trust anything. What you have is a lot of hearsay put on the screen in a ‘just asking questions’ format.

  12. One that’s at once among the most important and most intriguing: Is this sort of sexual buccaneering by bosses common in workplaces outside Hollywood?

    No.

    And if it’s strictly a show-biz phenomenon, why? Is there some peculiar sexual pathology that’s attracted to, or bred by, dressing people in costumes and ordering them around a stage?

    Yes. When you’re in an industry that attracts a large number of exceptionally attractive women who want nothing more than to be in your industry, and are willing to do just about anything to get into it, you’re going to have a metric fuck ton of sexual impropriety.

    1. AND the “qualifications” for which often seem to be primarily, if not exclusively, good looks and youth. Which means a fuck ton of competition. (there are lots of good-looking young women, not that I’ve been looking or anything…)

    2. When you’re in an industry that attracts a large number of exceptionally attractive women who want nothing more than to be in your industry, and are willing to do just about anything to get into it, you’re going to have a metric fuck ton of sexual impropriety.
      This is half of the equation.

      A large number of women competing for a small number of positions in an industry where it isn’t what you know, but who you get “discovered” by, provide the prey. Couple that with the “whos” who can pick the right films to back gaining absolute power, and being corrupted absolutely, as the predators, and the result is Hollywood.

      1. Strange to me that everyone assumes these women are victims. Do they have no “agency”? I would bet that those that succeed see guys like Wienstein as their prey and feel pretty damn good about exploiting their weakness.

        1. +1 Ahem…Jennifer Lawrence apparently.

          You can decide indeed. ‘Hm. On the one hand I have to fuck this gross degenerate but I become famous and I can always pretend it never happened. On the other, if I don’t do it I go back to bartending and banging beaus in the bar. Do I really want this?

          Agency.

  13. “Caligulan depravity resulting in shattered toilets stained in blood”?

    Dude.

    1. Not hyperbole. He was literally Caligula.

  14. Not that women were Weinstein’s only victims. As Untouchable makes clear, he abused everybody, sexually or otherwise. “In a lot of ways,” remembers one female ex-employee, “he was tougher on the guys.” Favorite tactic with the guys: hurling five-pound ashtrays at their heads.”

    I remember a filmmaker who was trying to make a deal with Weinstein and backed out, describing Weinstein as “Jabba the fucking Hut”.

    1. Worse yet, his contract required that he dress as slave Leia from Return of the Jedi during production meetings.

  15. I don’t want to back anyone or side with this person or that person, but I’m starting to notice that the majority of these documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and even HBO are bogus. There was the Jinx that had doctored audio, the MJ one that is provable false just using the released court documents, the Netflix one about global warming that used footage in a misleading manner, I saw one about Shkreli that was misinformed, and just about every one jumps into it already deciding for the viewer what to think.
    They really aren’t documentaries anymore. At this rate one could think Harvey is a swell dude just because a documentary said he was garbage.
    Also, why do we need to know about Harvey? Are any of us in Hollywood and if so is there something we can learn from any of this? Probably not. Harvey isn’t keeping anyone up at night. Why do we care. We just want movies to entertain us.
    “Creepy guy tries to screw actresses”
    Yeah. No shit.

    1. No shit they’re bogus. Have you noticed the garbage they produce? And the Obamas have a show now.

    2. is there something we can learn from any of this?

      Yes: If you’re a woman or gay man who is young and attractive, you can still fuck your way to the top, and never suffer any consequences for doing so, because if your whoring comes out, you’ll be seen as a helpless victim.

      1. Point me in the direction of the dude I have to blow. I’m taking the easy way to the top.

  16. When did Reason start re-printing Jezebel drivel?

  17. “Is there some peculiar sexual pathology that’s attracted to, or bred by, dressing people in costumes and ordering them around a stage?”

    I think there are several factors at work here:
    1. Bad behavior in media or Hollywood gets more press attention than bad behavior in say, the soybean wholesale industry.
    2. To some extent yes. Actors and actresses are expected in engage in quasi-sexual stuff as part of their job, and in a sense Weinstein was taking that expectation to a horrible extreme. Anecdotally, I’ve also heard some bad stories from stage theatre. It seems like a kind of loose, uninhibited culture. Unfortunately, inhibitions exist for a reason.
    3. The economics of Hollywood really favor the bosses. If a normal boss behaved like Weinstein, nobody would want to work for him and he would be at a heavy competitive disadvantage. But in Hollywood there are so many talented people (particularly actors/actresses and writers) trying for so few positions that you can exploit them however you like. The more banal version of this is all the people working for dirt pay or at unpaid internships in the hopes of getting their feet in the door.

  18. “If it’s strictly a show-biz phenomenon, why? Is there some peculiar sexual pathology that’s attracted to, or bred by, dressing people in costumes and ordering them around a stage?”

    Every day, more beautiful women turn 18 and new ones turn up in Hollywood every day, who are willing to do almost anything to become famous. Getting famous requires exposure, and getting exposure often depends on the qualitative choices of certain men whose casting choices can be easily informed by beautiful women who are willing to make a trade.

    Jack and Jill went up the hill
    each with a buck and a quarter.
    Jill came down with $2.50
    And she’s not ashamed of it at all.

    That unwilling women would sometimes fall into the web of these scumbags is hardly surprising. What is surprising is the mystery some people are feigning about the whole process. How could this happen, really?! Preventing this kind of harassment requires a sustained and purposeful effort. We’ll never see the end of it if people don’t realize that. Thinking this doesn’t go on, people must be incredibly naive.

    Do they know why there are “booth babes” at electronics trade shows? Do they know why guys pay $20 for an order of buffalo wings at Hooters? Do they know why cars sell better when beautiful women are standing next to them? Do they know why there are cheerleaders?

    Instead of pretending to be stupid, let’s not. Grow the fuck up!

    1. Every day, more beautiful women turn 18

      And more beautiful boys turn 9.

      Do they know why there are cheerleaders?

      It’s hard to understand why cheerleading in public schools is even legal. They don’t actually have dancing poles on the fields yet, but give it time.

  19. What’s the point of getting old, rich, and fat if you can’t rape anyone? Do you want civilization to collapse?

    1. You’re obviously a Napoleon Hill fan.

      Do you want civilization to collapse?

      No, but you’ve made it clear that you do.

  20. It took my years to getting around to watching Shakespeare in Love but I finally did not long before this started making the news. When watching the movie’s sex scenes, all I could think of was whoever had come up with them obviously had no respect for women or even for love making and I was right.

    1. There’s a good point in this.

      The sex scenes in Hollywood are borderline porn and are to the point I ask how anyone could do this on camera? So much for the suggestive powers of love. You don’t have to act out every single love scene as if you’re a couple of rabid pigs knocking things off the table.

      I can’t stand those scenes in Hollywood. So low class.

      Clearly, someone is getting off on this crap and it looks like it’s the weirdo scum buckets putting these films together.

      And they know they’re pathetic humans that’s why they virtue signal so hard.

      Just look at the latest lame celebrity video on ‘equality’ led by Maya Rudolph and Melinda Gates. Apparently, it will take 208 years to ever reach full ‘equality’.

      How fucken retarded and sufficiently illiterate do you have to be to actually by into this nonsense.

      Rudolph is apparently horrified for her daughters.

      Yeh. She’s married to big shot director Paul Anderson. Her daughters are just about as privileged as it can get.

      Da fuck is this world?

      1. You can shoot sex scenes and still have passion, fun, love, romance, playfulness, raw physical lust or some type of intimate connection. The scenes in SiL have none of that. Just two emotionally disconnected people going through motions. I believe on scene the man is even having a conversation with Shakespeare. No connection, no lust, passion and not even any fun. Just doin’ it for doin’ its sake.

        1. That’s why I love Film Noir or Silver Screen classics love dynamics.

          Far superior in my view.

      2. a couple of rabid pigs knocking things off the table.

        Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  21. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $30h – $72h…how? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new… after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

    Heres what I’ve been doing… ,,,

    CLICK HERE►► ONLINE WORK

  22. The part about Judy Garland in Mayer’s lap harks back to her part in Judgment at Nuremberg, a 1961 movie with Judy, Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich and William Shatner. She was badgered by the nazi defense lawyer for having sat in an older man’s lap in possible violation of National Socialist “mixing” laws. That movie is just full of surprises and suppressed backstage politics.

  23. I think the message is very clear: women should never go on a date with any major Democrat donor without fully equipping themselves with pepper spray, a taser, and a 1911 loaded with snake rounds just to be prepared if the asshole fails to control himself.

    -jcr

  24. He is great, I’d love to watch his documentary if don’t have microsoft compatibility telemetry error to fix. Anyway. Thanks.

  25. He has admitted nothing. What a smear job.

  26. Just another ‘friend of the Clintons’. Nothing to see here. Move along.
    Strange how the Clintons are friends with some of the scummiest people on the planet.
    Birds of a feather I guess.

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