Column: The bravery of Jennifer Siebel Newsom facing Harvey Weinstein — and facing us all
It’s been a few weeks since the news broke that a Hollywood producer was abusing women. There’s a lot of blame here. For sexual harassment, you can blame the victims. For not telling people, you can blame the victims. And for the media, you can blame the victims.
But for Jennifer Siebel Newsom, it wasn’t her job or her career that was going to be harmed by sexual harassment in the workplace.
Siebel, a Democratic candidate in the California primary for lieutenant governor, was one of the first major Hollywood figures to come forward with allegations against Weinstein. She was the only person to go public and her decision to come out was courageous.
But it also shows how much needs to be done to educate — and to change the culture of power, both in Hollywood and on the national level — to make sure everyone’s seen as an equal. And that every woman can expect to be treated with respect.
Siebel’s decision to speak out against Weinstein, and to share her story, has brought an important conversation to a head, and one that is long overdue, especially when it comes to abuse in the entertainment industry. The conversation isn’t over — it’s just starting.
She’s one of the most powerful women in politics, with a campaign to run against a sitting lieutenant governor. And you could make a convincing argument that she’s one of the most powerful women in Hollywood.
That’s true of all the women in her profession — from actresses to directors to writers and screenwriters to producers. And it’s true of the men in it, too. They’re just now getting the messages that women aren’t just commodities to be bought like any other good.
They are people, and they deserve to be treated like people.
Weinstein was already a movie producer. He made movies like “Basic Instinct,” “