“He was alternately generous and supportive and championing, and punitive and bullying”

Gwyneth Paltrow describes the aftermath of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment to the New York Times: “He was alternately generous and supportive and championing, and punitive and bullying.”

See Reel Girl’s post from yesterday. Like most abusers, Weinstein wasn’t abusive 100% of the time . What I wrote in a nutshell: contradictory behavior is how abusers confuse victims, keeping them paralyzed, quiet, and powerless.

No human is perfect but an abuser will rarely, or have a very hard time, taking responsibility for negative behavior. Abusers rarely give sincere apologies. Abusers don’t seek the support necessary to make change because they don’t want to change. Their behavior works for them. If their behavior doesn’t work for you, that’s your problem. Abusers lack empathy. While they may have episodes of seeming to understand your feelings, it’s from a clinical perspective, there’s little or no emotional resonance. They don’t feel what you’re feeling.

When 22 year old Paltrow told her boyfriend, Brad Pitt, about Weinstein’s abuse, Pitt approached Weinstein at a premiere. He told Weinstein never to touch Paltrow again. All of Hollywood was afraid to stand up to Weinstein, but young Pitt (“Thelma and Louise” Pitt?) did the right thing. So, men of Hollywood, the year is 2017. Why do I hear crickets? Don’t you think now is the time to publicly speak out against Weisntein and in support of your colleagues, the women of Hollywood? Women, everywhere, actually. I have to say, my whole blog, Reel Girl, feels pretty pointless when I’m trying to eek out powerful stories about women from this cesspool of misogyny.


3 thoughts on ““He was alternately generous and supportive and championing, and punitive and bullying”

  1. Don’t give up, Reel Girl!
    You will never know what difference your comments make and you helped open the debate. Yes Pitt could have gone public, but maybe he was just as dazzled. Maybe she begged him not to. Maybe they talked deep into the night. Maybe feeling her boyfriend’s protection was enough for her at that age.
    Honestly, this sort of thing happens at every level. People get away with things and people feel helpless and stunned and afraid of speaking out and it’s not for us to always say, “You should have…” Because we don’t actually know what we would do if we felt someone had power over not just our job, but something much more important – our reputation. Powerful people can wreck that with a click of their fingers.

    I have just heard the hidden tape of him in the hotel. It is sickening. You hear a bit of fear in his voice… but also the aggressive threats of the bully. And nothing was done with this? You are used to this, he tells her, despite her denial. The point is, women didn’t think anything would be done, and it wasn’t. We cannot blame one single person.

  2. Did Brad Pitt do the “right thing” or did he stand up for HIS girlfriend and then leave Weinstein to continue and escalate this pattern of behavior for another 23 years?

  3. Amen. You nailed the description of abusers. One man who has been very vocal against Weinstein is Anthony Bourdain. Meryl Streep’s letter pretending she didn’t know makes me sick.

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