Susan Sarandon on the post-Weinstein era

Susan Sarandon
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“I don’t think we’ve done the cleanup,” says Susan Sarandon as she talks about the shadow that Weinstein’s rape conviction has left over the film industry.

It’s been three years since Harvey Weinstein was convicted of two counts of rape and imprisoned, a series of events that led to the #metoo movement which shook Hollywood. In the years since though, Susan Sarandon thinks that the drive to root those who enabled Weinstein has lost its focus.

“I don’t think we’ve done the cleanup afterwards that we should be doing,” Sarandon said during a ’90s Con panel, in a report published by The Hollywood Reporter. The actor clarified, “I don’t think people talk enough about the people who facilitated the Harvey Weinsteins of the world that are still functioning [and] are equally responsible.”

Sarandon was chatting to Mira Sorvino, who was in turn speaking about how Weinstein used his considerable influence to “stifle” her career following an incredibly successful run which led to a 1996 Oscar for best supporting actress.

Sarandon went on to say that while Weinstein may now be behind bars, many of his enablers were never punished – people she considers guilty too. In her words, they “knew when they were sending people to a hotel, who didn’t pay attention when someone complained.”

For Sarandon, that so many of Weinstein’s enablers were never rooted out is a reflection on the way that female sexuality has remained “a mainstay of this business”, as she says, ever since she began her career in the 1970s.

The actor briefly discussed the pernicious nature of this, adding, “It’s very confusing to be, you know, a young girl and know that they’re checking on your viability according to how sexy you are,” she said. “You know that right? You do know that there’s something going on. They call it a chemistry thing or whatever they want to call it. But that is part of what you’re bringing to the table. Whether you like that or not, that exists.” 

Earlier this year, a major survey of over 5,000 professionals working in Hollywood found that while many believed a cultural shift had occurred, accountability had not improved. “There has been increased awareness of what the problems are, what behaviours are acceptable and what behaviours aren’t acceptable, and what the systems are for confronting those problems,” concluded the report led by The Hollywood Commission. “Now, people are understanding that this is a systemic problem.”

However, the same survey found that only a quarter of the women questioned believed that a powerful harasser would be held accountable. Sarandon’s comments, it seems, are a timely reminder that while progress has been made, there’s still a long way to go.

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