I watched Untouchable the other night. I thought it was closer to its 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes than the 71% at Metacritic they list on the IMDB page. After reflecting on what I saw, what struck me about it was how depraved Harvey is, and I don’t mean about all the obvious rape and assault. The problem is actually much worse than it appears, and it’s already pretty bad. “They” say rape isn’t about the sex, it’s about power. At least, in this case, “they” are exactly right, and spectacularly so.
Look at his second wife. Smokeshow! And not just a trophy; a successful woman on her own. He had 2 kids with her, so they had sex at least twice. She seemed honestly taken aback when the scandal broke. This activity is something, given his schedule, I can credibly believe that he could hide from her. In my estimation, she spoke from a place of relative normalcy about the marriage, so I’m relatively sure he could have been getting at least some sex at home.
Hugh Hefner built a media empire on the “backs” of some of the most beautiful women in the world. In the process, he had scores of willing, live-in girlfriends for decades, even though he wasn’t a great-looking guy. He was rich. He was connected. He could give these women a boost in finding fame and fortune. I watched The Girls Next Door, and read about what happened afterward, because it was fascinating to see how all of this worked. The “naked” trade of a consensual sex life for access to money and other rich people. As I understand how the system worked, most of these girls found other boyfriends at the parties Hef threw, and moved on naturally, of their own accord, and everyone involved seemed to feel this system was a good trade.
Given Harvey’s empire, and the enormous wealth and influence he wielded in the movie business, it would seem to me that he could have done essentially the same thing as Hef, and on an even grander scale, given the larger and more-reputable business. It would have been nothing to him to keep a bevvy of beautiful women on hand, put up in nice places, for him to visit on his whim. It’s clear that women who want to work in movies are a little different than women who want to pose naked in magazines, but, for purposes of this discussion, you can leave them out of it entirely. With his wealth and connections, he could have kept a stable of pure, gold-digging girlfriends. But he didn’t do that. He coerced women. Aspiring actresses. Assaulted them. Raped them. For decades.
It wasn’t about the sex. It was most definitely about the power and the subjugation. To me, this doubles the horror of the scandal.
And don’t give me the BS that people didn’t know. Everyone knew. Everyone. By the time the scandal finally broke, even I had seen and heard enough rumors to know he was a monster. The fact that his brother, the people in his company, and the entire industry looked the other way for 40 years triples the horror.