F.O.H., Friend of Harvey, is how one of Harvey Weinstein’s employees claimed he instructed her to “keep track of” his would-be prey in her phone, a practice that began before she worked for him. According to another female employee and his accusers, Weinstein would set up meetings with potential victims in conference rooms, or hotel lobbies, with his staff, to make the potential prey feel safe. According to a New Yorker exposé on Weinstein, if staff showed up for the meeting, it wasn’t long until Weinstein excused them, so he could be alone with the woman with whom he hoped to seduce or rape.
Such a set-up is called a honeypot.
It’s how to trap women who will likely not consent to sex and, allegedly Weinstein’s go-to move, the New Yorker reported. Like Trump, Weinstein’s philosophy on women and sex is reduced to audio, thanks to a police sting in 2015 after a model filed a criminal complaint against Weinstein for allegedly groping her. Weinstein, the cofounder of Miramax Films, told the actress: “Come on. I’m used to that,” when she asked him why he grabbed her breast after she said no. In response to the model’s pleas not to go to his room, Weinstein’s orders become increasingly threatening and desperate. “I will never do another thing to you,” he said. “Don’t embarrass me in the hotel. I am here all the time.”
Lack of consent, for Weinstein, according to many of the women in the article, was not an obstacle, but a turn-on.
In his first post-allegations statement, Weinstein said he caused a lot of pain, and will atone by making his mother proud and funding women’s causes. What came next was what anyone versed in rape culture expected him to say: Mr. Weinstein unequivocally denies anything other than consensual sex with those women. (Because after they’re done with you and the jig is up, you’re a part of a collective they wish would go away so they can be left to their money and power and privilege — unfettered).
Nearly 50 women alleged Weinstein sexually harassed them or sexually assaulted them, including at least three allegations of rape. Weinstein, that romantic son of a bitch, is accused of not only putting women’s hands on his erect penis after he tricked them into coming to his room, but several allege forcible oral sex with them, including cunnilingus. On the stand, I am certain he would deny his ability to force cunnilingus because women could obviously squirm away from him, despite his enormous girth. It would be similar to perpetrators who use a woman’s reflexive orgasm during vaginal rape as a defense.
Weinstein’s alleged acts remind us that rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment have little, if anything, to do with sex — and everything to do with power. The fascinatingly sad truth in many of the stories is the women’s attempt to thwart the actions of a man they knew to be a sexual predator by dressing “frumpy,” or ensuring that they meet in the presence of others. Or blaming themselves when he preyed upon them. A skilled predator knows how to exploit a victim’s greatest weakness and for many women everywhere the familiar refrain is “How could I have been so stupid?”
More often than not, shame guarantees silence, and Weinstein, like a good serial abuser, knew it. Weinstein’s reach was apparently so great that when women rejected him, he threatened to “crush” them, and many believe he curtailed their careers, including Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette. When he allegedly assaulted women, he apologized profusely and offered them money, or roles, to buy their silence. He even tried to date some. The cycle goes like this: Abuse, Atone, Abstain, Perpetrate and Repeat. Mostly it worked.
Until it didn’t.
One by one, the women Weinstein is alleged to have assaulted and harassed, with their voices, hands and bodies likely shaking, have said: No more.
Notably, Angelina Jolie reportedly not only turned down Weinstein but actively warned others about his predation. To do anything less seems like a betrayal. While Weinstein is ultimately responsible for his acts, it’s the psychology of the women who enabled the honeypots I will never comprehend.
These must be women who voted for Trump — who are more comfortable following the order(s) of patriarchy than proclaiming a woman’s right to live in a world free from sexual violence and discrimination, all else be damned.
It’s time to usher in the new F.O.H.: Friend of Humanity.