In the wake of bombshell sexual harassment allegations against film executive Harvey Weinstein, some viewers of late night comedy are left wondering why top hosts have been relatively quiet on the story.
On Friday, The Daily Beast, amongotheroutlets, called out comedians like Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Myers, James Corden and Stephen Colbert for not addressing the story in their Thursday shows. The allegations against Weinstein had broken via a New York Times story published that afternoon. But as the Daily Beast notes, those shows have previously addressed news released just a few hours before taping.
On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah did make a brief reference to the shocking report on Thursday, as an aside while covering Carolina Panthers player Cam Newton’s sexist remarks to a female reporter. Data from Grabien indicates that was the only mention of Weinstein’s name on late night shows that night.
Colbert has since made a joke about the accusations on Twitter:
Ultra-conservative outlets like Breitbart and The Daily Caller have also jumped on the bandwagon, painting the lack of material about Weinstein as hypocritical compared to late shows’ response to similar allegations about right-wing figures like President DonaldTrump, former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and former Fox anchor Bill O’Reilly. Weinstein, in contrast, was publicly devoted to liberal causes, and calling him a Hollywood insider would be massively downplaying the incredible amount of power he’s wielded in the industry.
On Saturday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted directly at Kimmel, asking for his “thoughts” on Weinstein. Kimmel replied that he thought the story was “disgusting” ― it was unclear if he was referring to the allegations themselves, or to the Times’ coverage. He then tweeted a video of President Trump’s infamous “grab ’em by the pussy” tape.
Of course, O’Reilly and Ailes are better known to the general public than Weinstein, and Trump was running for — and now holds — the most powerful political position in the country. But it’s still raising eyebrows that prominent comedians have apparently been less gung-ho about mocking or criticizing people more in line with their own politics and closer to their own industry.
The lackluster response by comedians also fits into a larger trend of Hollywood figures speaking out less on Weinstein than they have about comparable scandals in the past.
The Times’ story on Weinsten detailed numerous accusations of abuse and harassment spanning decades from women who have been employees or associates of the media mogul. The story leads with allegations from actress Ashley Judd, who said that two decades ago, Weinstein invited her to what was ostensibly a business breakfast, only to come to the door wearing a robe and asking “if he could give her a massage or she could watch him shower.”
Other details include Weinstein allegedly grabbing the breasts of an Italian model, and reaching a $100,000 settlement with actress Rose McGowan.
Another explosive allegation emerged on Friday, after a local TV news anchor revealed to HuffPost that Weinstein allegedly trapped her in an empty hallway and masturbated in front of her.
A third of the board members of The Weinstein Company have resigned in the wake of the allegations. Weinstein himself is taking an indefinite leave.