Who are the Australian Harvey Weinsteins?

Former Hollywood heavyweight producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused of decades of sexual harassment or assault, ...

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There’s a list of local, well-known predatory men, including a top television presenter, a Hollywood A-lister and a soap star, doing the rounds among women in the Australian film and television industry.

According to an insider it’s been in circulation for years, passed down through the ranks as a way to warn and protect each other, but has grown in recent weeks following the scandal surrounding former Hollywood heavyweight producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of decades of sexual harassment or assault, including allegations of rape.

Hollywood stars slam Harvey Weinstein

Emma Thompson, Jane Fonda and Paris Hilton are just some of the Hollywood A-listers speaking out about the industry’s culture of sexual harassment in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

The identities of those who have been accused in Australia would shock, including household names.

Fairfax Media has been told of at least two different encounters with the TV presenter inviting younger, female staff members to his home on the pretext of discussing work. Once inside, he offered them alcohol and massages.

Both women left in distress, and reported the incidents to senior executives but they were told: “Oh that’s just [Mr X], everyone knows that is what he does.”

A woman who has worked in the industry for more than a decade and who only spoke to Fairfax Media on condition of anonymity, opened up about an Australian soap star who harassed her and several other women. Despite reporting the abuse, he continued working completely unhindered.

There’s also a film star who has been accused of inappropriately touching production staff.

Another warning is circulating about a TV star who has been accused of headbutting an ex-girlfriend in the face and breaking her nose. He continues working in the spotlight, including for charities.

There’s also the television executive who, during a recent evening of after-work drinks, uploaded images of various young female staff to his social media account accompanied by captions referencing their looks. The posts were removed and the network moved quickly to quell a tabloid story by offering exclusive images of another high-profile event.

Since the New York Times story first unearthed the Weinstein allegations, the floodgates have opened. More than 40 accusations have been made against Weinstein of sexual harassment, and in some cases assault, that first started with actor Ashley Judd’s account from two decades ago.

An Australian film and television insider believes that the same could happen here, but it will take longer because of Australia’s insular nature.

Tracey Spicer, veteran journalist and regular contributor to Fairfax Media, has already promised  to reveal the names of “long-term offenders” and is investigating two but she said there are “plenty more”.

But she believes it’ll be months before accusers are named and shamed.

“The #metoo movement, following the revelations about Harvey Weinstein, has become a catalyst for hundreds of people coming forward, and finally naming names,” Spicer said. 

“While the majority wish to remain anonymous, for fear of retribution from powerful people within the industry, others are saying ‘enough is enough’. They are planning to report these instances to police, and go on the record. But this investigation must be done properly. We will deeply research these cases for a matter of months before proper action is taken. It’s time to do this, once and for all, to ensure the safety of women in the media and entertainment industry.

“We’re at a tipping point: predators have been protected for too long and management is culpable.”

If you have experienced sexual harassment or an assault in the Australian film and television industry and you want to speak about it, email [email protected]

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