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Is Harvey Weinstein ‘just the tip of the iceberg’?




File photo: Harvey Weinstein speaks during a panel discussion after a screening of the documentary
File photo: Harvey Weinstein speaks during a panel discussion after a screening of the documentary "Bully" at MPAA on March 15, 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Kris Connor/Getty Images for The Weinstein C

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In the last week, dozens of women have come forward claiming Hollywood studio executive Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them. 

Through a publicist, Weinstein has denied any non-consensual sexual contact, and said he is seeking treatment. Weinstein has since been fired from his company. 

Take Two's A Martinez spoke with Melissa Silverstein, founder and publisher of WomenandHollywood.com,  a website devoted to gender equality in the industry, about how pervasive behavior like Weinstein's is in Hollywood.  

"Unfortunately, he's just the tip of the iceberg," said Silverstein. "There's going to be a lot more stories revealed because women are feeling empowered now that they are seeing that there's potential to be heard and for there to be some change." 

Indeed the spotlight has begun to turn on other leaders in entertainment. Amazon Studio chief Roy Price was suspended after a producer claimed he sexually harassed her. Price declined to comment.

How the problem is exacerbated in Hollywood

Silverstein explained how creative industries like Hollywood have the added challenge of an unconventional work culture: "A lot of business takes place at films festivals and other places where things are happening more informally than in an office, per say."

Silverstein and others have voiced the desire to move business meetings to offices and out of hotel rooms and other intimate locations.

An individual's recourse if further complicated by the mix of freelancers and independent contractor, added Silverstein. "Lots of employees are not necessarily employees of an entity that you have a chain of command to make complaints to."

What needs to change

Advocates like Silverstein have called out the film industry's portrayal of women and identify a connection between how women are regarded behind the scenes and in front of the camera. "Hollywood is an industry run by men and the movies, generally speaking, are for men," said Silverstein. "So what we see are women not being enough protagonists in stories and when we see some women, they are sexualized on an ongoing basis."

Ultimately, Silverstein told Take Two that the solution is to employ more women in leadership roles. "Part of this problem is the lack of female leaders in this industry and the lack of opportunity to grow," said Silverstein. "And this means that the narratives and the stories that are told are by, and about, men." 

To hear the full interview with Melissa Silverstein, click on the media player above.