Do you remember how the #MeToo movement was brought into action?
It was when women in Hollywood accused the producer Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting and harassing them, and then he was kicked out of his production company. Soon enough, the women across the world started to come out and speak of the sexual assaults done by rich and powerful men.
Now, Harvey Weinstein has hired an “ultimate feminist” lawyer to defend his case.
Meet Donna Rotunno, the “ultimate feminist” lawyer who always defends the men accused of rape
A self-defined “ultimate feminist”, Donna Rotunno’s entire career is based on defending the men accused of rape. So far, she has worked on 40 rape cases when she worked to defend the men accused of rape, and she has saved 39 of them from conviction.
Now, she is defending Weinstein against five felony cases of rape, while she blames the victims during her cross-examination.
Weinstein hired a “female lawyer” to boost his case
Harvey Weinstein was constantly trying many lawyers one after another, till he met Donna Rotunno – he wanted a female lawyer so that she “wouldn’t seem too intimidating” while questioning his victims.
He also needed to earn the sympathy and possibly a chance to influence the jury by having a woman defend his case.
Rotunno herself says that the image of a woman (herself) walking with Weinstein sends out a different message. So she has become the face of his defense team, and she blames the victims for “ruining Weinstein’s life.”
She is also against the #MeToo movement
Weinstein’s lawyer Donna Rotunno is also running a campaign against the MeToo movement. She believes that the movement is demeaning for women as it celebrates and encourages victimhood.
She calls herself the “ultimate feminist” and says that new-age feminism has taught women to not take responsibility of their own choices. She told Insider in an interview:
The problem with women today is that they don’t take responsibility for their decisions. It’s the women today who have refused to claim agency and instead blame men.
“Women shouldn’t go to men’s hotel rooms”
She has been saying that when women engage with predatory men at hotels and bars, and then decide to go to the men’s hotel rooms – it is a conscious choice that women have made and should take responsibility for what happens afterwards.
What I’m saying is that after having drinks and being at a party and sitting in a bar with somebody and going to their hotel at midnight, don’t be so ridiculous as to say, ‘I thought I was going to see a script.’ At some point, where is the responsibility?
Feminists and professors of gender studies have argued that this is a classic victim-blaming remark, where the blame is shifted on the women for making an innocuous choice rather than holding the men accountable for the violent rapist behaviour.
She asked Weinstein’s victim, “Why did you follow him into his room?”
She cross-questioned Jessica Mann, one of Harvey’s victims and asked her, why did she follow him into his room when she knew about his predatory and violent behavior beforehand.
To which, Jessica replied that she thought he had come to her hotel to meet her for breakfast with friends, but then Harvey booked a room at Jessica’s hotel. So she went up to his room, to confront him about why he was checking into her hotel.
You could have said, ‘Harvey, I’m not going up there.’ All I’m asking you is, why you didn’t make the choice to walk out the door? You made the choice to go up to the hotel room, knowing what had happened in the past.
Feminist ideology calls this victim-blaming that doesn’t consider the power imbalance
Many feminists have exclaimed that women are often unable to retaliate or refuse the men’s advances because of the power these men hold in society. Resistance here could put the women’s life and livelihood in danger, they could lose their jobs and careers and reputation. Men throughout the history haven’t reacted kindly or decently to women who refused their advances or tried to fight back.
Rotunno gets angry when she hears this argument, and says that is “insulting” to say that women can’t make their own decisions.
She says that Weinstein’s victims made the choice to be assaulted by him
Even if the women were trying to appease Weinstein out of fear of retaliation, or to protect their jobs, that doesn’t explain why they willingly met him when they knew he’d likely make sexual advances, if they didn’t truly want those advances.
Rotunno’s “feminism” suggests the women to stay away from men if they don’t want to be raped
Men are not going to stop asking women to go to the hotel room. Women have to stop going. Because if there’s one woman left willing to do it, it’s going to continue.
“Women who refused Weinstein didn’t lose work in the Hollywood”
“If you look at any circumstance where a woman said no to Harvey … you know, ‘Can I have a massage?’ ‘No.’ They leave,” Rotunno said. “There was never any circumstance where he was forcing somebody to stay. And there was never any situation where those people lost work because of it.”
His former assistant Chiu told Insider she struggled to find work in the film industry after leaving Weinstein’s production company, Miramax. And then she was harassed to the extent that she was eventually led to a suicide attempt.
Rotunna believes that the rapes were not Harvey’s fault, but happened because of the victim’s “poor choices”
Donna Rotunna keeps cross-examining the victims and asks them why they did not try to attack Harvey or scratch his face or gouge out his eyes – without considering that in most cases the fighting back causes the rapist to turn even more violent and destructive.
She even argues that Weinstein’s victims “do not behave like stereotypical victims.”
Experts have said that women might have not tried to fight him or report him to police since he could use his wealth, power, and influence to harm them.
Rotunno has worked for alleged murders, drug-dealers, and rapists
She has fought 40 cases of rape, and lost one in which the rapist was convicted to 16 years in prison. She keeps his picture in her office – as a reminder of the price her clients have to pay when she fails to save them.
She says Weinstein made “bad choices” but “committed no crime”
As Weinstein’s trial comes to a close pretty fast, a verdict can be announced this week. She wants the jury to not find him guilty – since in her opinion he made a bad choice, and he is a bad guy – but that doesn’t mean he committed a crime.
She claims that if Weinstein were to be convicted, it won’t be because of him being guilty but rather due to the mass cultural movement of MeToo that might prompt the jury to find him guilty.
At this point, several feminists from all over the world have explained how the “ultimate feminist” Donna Rotunno is out of touch from the harsh reality women face on a daily basis – it’s not always easy to retaliate and register a case. That patriarchy is the oldest system of oppression in human history, and the issues emanating from the gender power imbalance are little more complex than simply blaming the women to own up to everything and letting the men off the hook for their violent and rapist tendencies.
Featured Image Courtesy: Vanity Fair