Tuesday, October 10, 2017

WHEN WEINSTEIN WANTED TO TRASH A VICTIM, SOME OF THE RIGHT'S FAVORITE NEWS SOURCES DID WHAT HE WANTED (update)

I'm seeing a lot of right-wing self-righteousness in response to the Harvey Weinstein story, especially as Ronan Farrow presents evidence in The New Yorker that Weinstein was a sex criminal, not merely a sexual harasser. Hollywood and the liberal media and Democrats covered up for him! Conservatives would never have done such a thing!

We all know, of course, that conservatives have circled the wagons around their own sex abusers -- Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, and of course the president of the United States. But there was also conservative media complicity with Harvey Weinstein himself.

Farrow recounts the story of Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, a young Italian model who met with Weinstein at his offices and was groped by him against her will. Gutierrez went to the police. She was persuaded to meet with Weinstein the following night while wearing a wire. She recorded Weinstein acknowledging that he'd groped her, and the police believed that there was enough on the recording to charge Weinstein with a crime that could have led to jail time.

But Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. declined to prosecute. One reason? Stories about Gutierrez had begun to circulate:
But, as the police investigation proceeded and the allegation was widely reported, details about Gutierrez’s past began to appear in the tabloids. In 2010, as a young contestant in a beauty pageant associated with the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Gutierrez had attended one of his infamous Bunga Bunga parties. She claimed that she had been unaware of the nature of the party before arriving, and eventually became a witness in a bribery case against Berlusconi, which is still ongoing. Gossip outlets also reported that Gutierrez, as a teen-ager, had made an allegation of sexual assault against an older Italian businessman but later declined to coöperate with prosecutors.

Two sources close to the police investigation said that they had no reason to doubt Gutierrez’s account of the incident. One of them, a police source, said that the department had collected more than enough evidence to prosecute Weinstein. But the other source said that Gutierrez’s statements about her past complicated the case for the office of the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr.
Where do you suppose I found some of the stories that painted Gutierrez in a bad light? Well, here's one published by Rupert Murdoch's New York Post on April 3, 2015:
Model asked for film role from Weinstein after molestation claim

The Italian model who accused Harvey Weinstein of molesting her tried to use the claim to score a movie role from him, sources told The Post on Thursday.

Ambra Battilana, 22, refused to “cooperate” with authorities for four days after she initially reported to police that she was groped by the movie mogul in his Tribeca Film Center office Friday night, said sources familiar with the matter.

That’s because during that time, Battilana and her manager were working behind the scenes with one of Weinstein’s top aides to “cut a deal” to get her into one of his movies, sources said.

“She didn’t want to be interviewed by the Manhattan DA’s Office. But once it became apparent that the movie role was just a pipe dream, then she went forward with the criminal case,” a source said.
A couple of days prior to that, England's Daily Mail -- where American right-wingers frequently find politically compatible news -- published this:
Model who says Harvey Weinstein groped her in his NYC office also accused her wealthy 70-year-old former lover of rape in Italy four years ago

... A model who accused Harvey Weinstein of groping her breasts and putting his hand up her skirt previously alleged to Italian police that her 70-year-old boyfriend had raped her.

Ambra Battilana's police statement, made in the Alba region of Italy in December 2010, was published in an Italian newspaper, where she said she was 'forced against my will' into having sex with the 'businessman of substantial means' for money when she was under 18....

Prosecutors in Italy asked for the rape allegation to be dismissed in 2012 but it was not reported whether the judge granted the dismissal although it is likely it would have been carried out....

Miss Battilana met the wealthy, car dealer in September 2009 when she was under 18 and therefore below the age of consent for prostitution in Italy, according to Italian newspaper reports....
And on and on.

So, given the chance to help topple a famous Hollywood liberal, these right-leaning news organizations chose instead to run salacious stories meant to damage the accuser's reputation. Elsewhere on the right, the Daily Caller -- which has published 39 stories tagged "Harvey Weinstein" since last Thursday -- ran precisely one story on the Gutierrez case, headlined "Did Harvey Weinstein Grope This Model Or What? [PHOTOS]" -- and "PHOTOS" seems to be the key word, because three photos of Gutierrez dwarf the few words devoted to the story. (The Post and Daily Mail stories are also accompanied by revealing photos.)

I've been reminding you that it was the "liberal media" that brought down Weinstein, in part because the conservative press really doesn't do journalism. But the Gutierrez story didn't require a lot of shoe leather. It was in plain sight -- yet the right-wing press either ignored the opportunity to go after Weinstein or simply sullied his accuser's name. So spare me the lectures, conservatives.

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UPDATE: That New York Post story wasn't just a gossip-page item -- it was front-page news:

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