But if Harvey, why not Donald?

It ruined Harvey Weinstein (for the moment at least) but it hasn’t ruined Trump. Why is that?

As the aftershocks from Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct spread to other powerful men in Hollywood and media, a group of women for whom the allegations are “gross but familiar” are wondering if the fallout will reach an even more powerful man – the one in the White House.

During the course of his presidential campaign, more than 10 women came forward with accusations that Donald Trump had touched or kissed them without consent – something he bragged about on the infamous 2005 Access Hollywood tape when he said stars like him could “grab them by the pussy”.

A number of other women accused Trump of unwanted sexual advances. And like so many of the Weinstein stories to come out this month, their claims have remarkable consistency.

And yet there he sits just the same – insulting women from his Top Platform while he’s at it.

Three of them spoke with the Guardian after the allegations against Weinstein – who denies the claims against him – came to light, to revisit their accusations against Trump.

Although they are glad women have spoken up against the Hollywood producer and feel the culture may finally change, they are worried the relative silence of men will continue to allow abusers to rise to power.

They are Cathy Heller, who told the Guardian last year that in the late 1990s Trump forcibly kissed her on the lips the first time they had ever met; Kari Wells, a former model and Bravo Actress, who said Trump aggressively propositioned her in 1992 while he was dating her friend; and Jessica Leeds, who said Trump assaulted her on a plane in the early 1980s when he allegedly groped her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.

They are just a fraction of the women who have said Trump attacked them.

Trump has denied all allegations, at various points threatening to sue his accusers and calling their accounts “total fabrication” and “pure fiction”. He also suggested some of the accusers were not attractive enough for him to have assaulted them, saying of Leeds: “Believe me: She would not be my first choice. That I can tell you.”

Of the ongoing legal case against him, he has said: “It’s totally fake news. It’s just fake. It’s fake. It’s made-up stuff, and it’s disgraceful.”

But by now we have a long and detailed record of Trump brazenly lying, so his denials might as well be his used kleenex.

For Leeds, one of the first women to come forward with her story last year, her frustration revolves around just how little effect the renewed attention on sexual assault seems to be having on the man occupying the White House.

“Mr Trump was able to slough off the whole thing and that was very disappointing,” Leeds told the Guardian last week. “I think perhaps without the Weinstein stories I probably would have slipped more and more into the background.”

The pussy tape should have destroyed his public career once and for all. Instead he was elected president. It’s a punch in the face to all women.

And men needed to make it clear that Trump’s brand of “locker-room talk” is unacceptable, she said. “It would be nice at this point if we started hearing from men on this issue, because it’s not one-sided.”

For example, Leeds referred to Gwyneth Paltrow’s story in which, after Weinstein allegedly made a move on her, she confided in her boyfriend at the time, Brad Pitt. Paltrow came forward with her story this month, Leeds noted, but we have not heard from Pitt.

“Some of these men, it would be helpful if they could speak out. And until they do, maybe we’ll get it off our chests and feel better about ourselves, but I don’t think it’s going to change,” she said.

That should be as true for men in Washington as for those in Hollywood, said Leeds.

I don’t see it happening though, because for far too many men it just is not the case that Trump’s brand of “locker-room talk” is unacceptable. For far too many men it’s entirely acceptable, though maybe not something they want to say to their own daughters. Examining why it’s not ok to say to or about My Daughter™ but is ok to say in the locker room is too much to ask. These guys are busy.

3 Responses to “But if Harvey, why not Donald?”