Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, whose habitual mistreatment of women was publicly revealed last week, once claimed: "Hollywood has the best moral compass."
In 2009, Weinstein circulated a petition demanding the release from detention in Switzerland of Roman Polanski, who pleaded guilty to the rape of a 13-year-old girl in the late 1970s. "We are calling every filmmaker we can to help fix this terrible situation," Weinstein said at the time.
Here's what he told the Los Angeles Times in an article published Oct. 1, 2009 (emphasis added):
In an interview, Weinstein said that people generally misunderstand what happened to Polanski at sentencing. He's not convinced public opinion is running against the filmmaker and dismisses the categorization of Hollywood as amoral. "Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion," Weinstein said. "We were the people who did the fundraising telethon for the victims of 9/11. We were there for the victims of Katrina and any world catastrophe."
Like Polanski, Weinstein is now facing allegations of rape from three different women. On Tuesday, the New Yorker published a disturbing two-minute audio clip of Weinstein attempting to coerce a model into his hotel room. In the taping, which was captured during a 2015 NYPD sting, Weinstein admits to having previously groped the woman.
Weinstein's absurd contention that Hollywood "has the best moral compass" actually fits pretty well with the industry's apparent decades-long cover-up of his own behavior. In fact, there have been quite a few hints in recent years that the moral rot in the film industry goes a lot deeper than most people suspect -- this is just the latest shoe to drop.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.