Today is the International Day of the Girl Child, an appropriate moment for us to take stock of the kind of world we are creating and to commit to making it a more welcoming place for our girls.
Our daughter is just six months old, a time of delightful smiles, playful giggles, and unbridled wonder. The brightness of her spirit already brings so much light to our world.
It is frankly shocking to go from playing with her this week to reading horrifying story after story that tells the tale of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged predatory sexual harassment over three decades, as well as accusations of rape.
Is this what our daughter will face in her future? Men who see her only as a sexual object to take advantage of? Men who use their position of power to exploit her?
While it is natural (and appropriate) to express outrage, disgust, and condemnation of Weinstein’s behavior and to stand in support of the women speaking out (which I do), my real question is how can this long overdue exposure of a Hollywood mogul become a catalyst for a major shift in our society?
How can the next generation of girls not face the kind of harassment, diminishment, and predation that the last has suffered?
Everything that I have heard or read about the Weinstein situation falls short of the one solution that could be a real gamechanger.
And that is to create a boycott of all things Weinstein, including The Weinstein Company that has now fired him. (Here’s a list at IMDB)
Perhaps our greatest power is our willingness to support things with our presence, participation, or money.
What if all of Hollywood (including investors, actors, producers, and staff) boycotted Weinstein and the company that allegedly enabled him all these years?
And what if all of America refused to watch any Weinstein movie, cutting off the funding that can buy the influence, legal teams, and intimidation that silence so many?
I’m not suggesting doing this as a temporary thing, as a subtle bribe to do better next time. No, after witnessing the full extent of the allegations, I am saying, “no more.”
I am hereby taking a vow today to honor all our daughters by committing that Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company will not receive my money or my viewership any more. That applies to past movies he produced as well as future movies and TV shows, even if the company changes names.
This is not a choice made out of hatred. I hope that Harvey Weinstein goes through a deep personal transformation that leads him to take responsibility for the massive damage he is accused of and to spend the remainder of his life making amends.
But for me, I no longer want to support him with my business or my attention again.
We instead need to channel our money and attention to a next generation of more conscious companies, with more women in leadership and more protections of women at all levels.
Instead of a story of redemption, I think Weinstein can best serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks they are so powerful that they can get away with abusing women. A redemption story would ultimately empower other abusers and silence other victims.
The truth is that alleged sexual predators like Weinstein are allowed to escape consequences for a primary reason: money.
By withdrawing all our support from Weinstein and The Weinstein Company, it
shows that even the most powerful men cannot engage in such behavior without putting their future and the future of their companies at existential risk.
It also sends the message to women everywhere that they CAN stand up and speak out because even the most powerful men can be stopped and that the abuse of power can end.
I honor all the women who have dared to speak up as well as the ones who have suffered in silence. I pray that more will feel empowered to speak their truths as well so that we can collectively bear witness to the full, horrifying saga and vow never to repeat it.
I stand as a man and a father who is committed to create a world where our girls and women are safe and celebrated.
It is time for the kind of behavior we are reading about from Weinstein to go extinct.
My pledge on the International Day of the Girl Child is to #BoycottWeinstein, including not watching any of his movies, so that this shocking moment can help transform a culture of abuse and exploitation into a culture of empowerment and celebration for all of our girls.
Join me in making the pledge, copying the above paragraph, and sharing on social media.