Hollywood joked about Weinstein being a creep for decades
Harvey Weinstein was a serial sexual assaulter, and it wasn’t even a secret. In fact, Hollywood thought it was funny and has been cracking jokes about it for nearly 20 years — with Gwyneth Paltrow first alluding to his predatory nature on The Late Show with David Letterman in 1998. Now, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, we can all experience the "hilarity" of an entire industry ignoring the predatory antics of one of its most powerful and esteemed members.
Tina Fey is famous for fearlessly using her comedy to take pot shots at the powerful. Known for her insistence on being a comedy writer first and actor second, in 2012 she took a decidedly direct jab at Weinstein in her critically acclaimed sitcom 30 Rock. The character Jenna Maroney describes her personal experiences with Weinstein and how her history of somewhat successfully resisting Weinstein’s advances indicated just how fearless she was, as an actress and a woman.
The HBO comedy is no stranger to accusations of chauvinism itself, yet despite the show’s somewhat less than respectful tone towards women the series stars a thinly veiled parody of Harvey Weinstein, with the character Harvey Weingard. The show takes multiple shots at the character for his behavior, often referring to him simply as "Harvey." Given the physical resemblance of the actor who played Harvey Weingard, it’s easy to imagine that Peter Dinklage got a cathartic pleasure in telling the Weinstein facsimile to fuck off in this clip from the show.
Although The Oscars award night gets all the attention, Hollywood still gathers with less pomp for the annual reveal of The Oscar nominations. It’s a smaller room, but with the same big stars. Seth MacFarlane, standing next to Emma Stone in the following clip, is also known for pulling punches with his comedy. As he reveals the nominations for best supporting actress, he quips that none of them have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein anymore. It got a big laugh, showing that likely everybody in the room knew exactly what he was talking about.
This is not really a joke with a killer punch line, but since Courtney Love was sort of a joke in her messier years we included it anyway. It turns out that even drugged-out rock stars can give pearls of wisdom, and her stern warning to stay away from Weinstein, despite her momentary reticence due to legal fears, would have been good advice for any young actress who was headed out to Hollywood. Her prophetic warning may not have been intended to be funny, but it is now, as it turns out that she was one of the few brave enough to break the code of silence — and now we’re all laughing at how stupidly obvious it was.
After the Weinstein scandal, comedians in the industry were split between those eager to laugh about the issue more, like James Corden, who misguidedly joked: "This is a beautiful room, this is a beautiful night here in L.A. It is so beautiful that Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel room to give him a massage." Although the joke fell flat — with several traumatized gasps from the audience — at least he didn’t shy away from making jokes. This was unlike Saturday Night Live, which infamously didn’t even mention the scandal surrounding Weinstein — and you'll likely only need three guesses why …
As Nathan Lane said to Harvey Weinstein when he allegedly threw him against a wall “you can’t hurt me, I don’t have a film career.” Now is the time to get Hollywood out of Weinstein’s predatory grasp, and laugh at him like Lane did, before he locks down his power once again.