Ever since the news broke that megaproducer Harvey Weinstein had sexually assaulted dozens of women and paid them thousands of dollars to keep quiet, we’ve seen a remarkable display of distortion and contortion on the right. Many of the same people who continued to back Donald Trump after the “Access Hollywood” tapes came to light have tried to claim the moral high ground on this matter. They’ve tried to use Weinstein’s status as a longstanding Democratic megadonor to tie him around Democrats’ necks.
But one conservative talk show host may have done something even more outrageous than that. He claimed–with a straight face–that Trump’s alleged misdeeds aren’t nearly as bad as those of Weinstein.
Weinstein has fallen from Hollywood legend to Hollywood pariah in record time. That fall continued over the weekend, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled him. He also faces criminal investigations on both sides of the Atlantic. Inevitably, that’s triggered questions about why Trump hasn’t been held to account yet. Apparently that didn’t sit well with the folks on “Fox & Friends,” because they felt the need to find a counterpoint.
They got one in the person of libertarian Republican talk show host Larry Elder. Think Progress got a clip.
After reading a series of tweets suggesting it was time to call Trump on the carpet now that Weinstein was facing justice, hosts Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt asked Elder for his thoughts. Elder hit the ceiling.
“Oh, for crying out loud! Harvey Weinstein has had now, I think, over 30 accusations of sexual assault, including five accusations of rape! Whatever Donald Trump has done is child’s play compared to this.”
I had to listen to this twice in order to believe what I was hearing. Is Elder willing to tell the 15 women who have accused Trump of sexual assault that what happened to them was merely “child’s play”? Is he willing to say that to the faces of the three women who spoke up this weekend to Buzzfeed?
Believe it or not, the rest of Elder’s soliloquy went downhill from there. See for yourself.
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) October 16, 2017
Elder riffed about how Weinstein’s debauchery was an open secret in Hollywood for years, and blasted “Hollywood A-listers” and “social justice warriors” for not speaking up sooner.
What Elder didn’t tell you is that once this finally came to light, Weinstein fell fast and fell hard. Within four days, his own company had fired him. By Saturday, the British and American film academies had given him the boot. On Monday afternoon, the Producers Guild of America began the process of removing Weinstein. This is far, far, far more than has ever been done since women started coming forward with allegations against Trump.
Let’s be clear. It is nothing short of disgraceful that the lid wasn’t blown on the dung pile surrounding Weinstein sooner. But at the end of the day, what is done once matters like this comes to light is as important, if not more important.
Earlier, Elder harrumphed that Trump had “not admitted to being a sexual assaulter at all.” One has to wonder if Elder was listening to the same tape that the rest of the nation heard. Trump was clearly speaking about things he’d actually done to women. And even if you dismiss that, you can’t credibly dismiss a recently uncovered tape in which Trump told Howard Stern that he groped Melania in public.
But then again, Elder is in no position to say anything to anyone about this issue. A quick perusal of Elder’s social media feeds reveals that on October 8, 2016–hours after the tapes were released–Elder shared a link to a story from the notoriously right-wing “news” site Western Journalism suggesting that Dan Senor, a senior adviser to House Speaker Paul Ryan, had leaked the tape in an act of “sabotage.” No, this isn’t snark.
Unless I’m very wrong, just hours after we learned that Trump had been caught on tape reveling in degrading women, Elder was seemingly endorsing a call for the messenger to be effectively shot. And yet, during this same time, Elder was bleating and screeting about how hypocritical the Democrats were about Bill Clinton and the Kennedys.
Let’s see if we’re understanding this correctly. Last year, Elder showed he was more worried about who leaked the “Access Hollywood” tapes than the fact they revealed Trump was a debauched jerk–while at the same time calling out Democrats for coddling people with a h. And now, he’s not only claiming that Weinstein is far worse, but is wagging his finger at Hollywood for covering him up. Process that for a moment.
Last week, Sebastian Gorka claimed that Weinstein happened as a result of Democrats destroying the right’s culture of respect for women. If what we saw from Elder is an example of that “respect,” I’ll pass.
(featured image courtesy Gage Skidmore, available via a Creative Commons BY-SA license)