If they can’t stop themselves from abusing women, should the government step in and investigate?
On his Fox News show on Tuesday night, Tucker Carlson called sexual abuse in Hollywood “epidemic” and said the U.S. government should investigate it.
“It is time for the federal government to get involved,” he said. “The Department of Justice should launch an immediate investigation into Hollywood’s culture of systematic sexual abuse.”
Carlson went on to say there’s “ample precedent” for U.S. government involvement, given that the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama launched more than 300 investigations into colleges and universities, looking to expose and punish them for enabling a culture of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
In 2014, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released a list of colleges and universities under investigation for possible violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination based on sex at schools that receive federal funding.
But government investigations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse, of course, have not been limited to organizations that get government funding.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC, is charged with investigating sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.
The government, for example, is currently investigating charges of widespread sexual harassment of women at Wells Fargo, the third-largest bank in the U.S.
Sexual harassment and abuse cases in corporate America focus on whether a corporation has created or allowed a “hostile work environment” for women.
“The idea of a federal investigation into sexual abuse in Hollywood seems a little out of left field,” said Carlson to his guest, LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham. “And then you see the context for it, which is ample. There have been a lot of investigations along these lines and in different sectors of our society.”
Ingraham agreed, saying there are a lot of resources and “a lot of young lawyers hired to work aggressively on those investigations” of universities and corporations.
Ingraham said she heard about Harvey Weinstein’s abuse of women in 1999.
“This idea that ‘I’m shocked, I’m appalled,’ come on,” she said.
Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob co-founded the movie company Miramax in the late 1970s and, after producing small films, hit it big in 1988 with “The Thin Blue Line” and the next year with “Sex, Lies & Videotape,” starring James Spader and Andie MacDowell. The company was purchased by Disney, and went on to produce “Pulp Fiction” and “The English Patient,” among other hits.
The Weinstein brothers left in 2005 to form their own company, called The Weinstein Brothers.
Harvey Weinstein was fired by the company’s board of directors this week after the New York Times article on his decades-long sexual abuse of women. A long article by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker that followed on Tuesday included allegations by three different women that Weinstein had raped them. In one instance, Weinstein attacked a young woman who’d come to his offices to meet with him, attacking her in a room littered with takeout boxes and exercise equipment and forcing her head down to perform oral sex on him. The woman, at the time a senior at Middlebury College in Vermont, told Farrow that she blamed herself and felt so disgusted with herself for years after that she developed an eating disorder.
On his show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Carlson said the problem is not limited to Weinstein.
“Now, isolated incidents happen,” he said. “But this is a trend. Sexual abuse is epidemic in Hollywood. The people in charge have covered it up and made excuses for it, in each case protecting the powerful from the powerless and abused.”
He pointed to two famous film directors accused of rape who have not only escaped prosecution, but have continued to make movies and have been celebrated by Hollywood.
“Director Roman Polanski raped a child and fled the country, but that didn’t stop him from getting work in Hollywood,” said Carlson. “Nor did it stop Hollywood from giving him an Oscar for Best Director in 2003.”
Polanski pleaded guilty to statutory rape in 1978 for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in his home. He flew to Europe to escape having to serve time in prison for the crime, and has refused to return. He remained in France, where he has continued to make movies.
“A few years later, Harvey Weinstein himself led a petition asking the authorities to cut Polanski a break,” noted Carlson. “That petition was signed by more than 70 prominent Hollywood figures.”
After Woody Allen was accused of sexual abuse by his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, most in Hollywood remained silent. Weinstein, said Carlson, was one of Allen’s biggest defenders, telling reporters, in so many words, that the accusations were irrelevant because Allen was “a comic genius.”
The investigation of sexual abuse in Hollywood should be a non-partisan issue, said Carlson.
“Democrats in Congress say they care about women,” he said. “Now we’ll see if they mean it.”