Celebrities aren’t being punished like their peers

December 7, 2017 — by Michael Zhang

In October, The New York Times and other news organizations reported that dozens of women had accused film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault or misconduct. Subsequently, more than 80 total women revealed that they had been subject to such acts from Weinstein as well.

Despite mounting evidence and an alleged 30-year history of sexual assault, including when singer Courtney Love warned others about Weinstein in 2005, Weinstein has never been charged with a crime.

As has become clear in recent weeks, Harvey Weinstein is hardly the only celebrity to face such accusations. Since then, numerous Hollywood stars and others, including Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Roy Moore, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor, have been accused of sexual harassment or assault as well.

Hoffman was accused of sexual harassment of Anna Graham Hunter, a 17-year-old intern who worked with Hoffman on the set of the 1985 movie “Death of a Salesman,” while C.K. admitted to the sexual misconduct allegations made by five different women against him.

But many of these cases aren’t simply the “typical” man-on-woman assault either. More than a dozen men, including Anthony Rapp, an actor on “Star Trek: Discovery,” and Roberto Cavazos, a Mexican actor who posted about an assault in Spanish, have accused Spacey of sexual misconduct.

Many of the victims have reportedly felt intimidated or forced to comply with those who seemingly held more power.

Despite all of this evidence, many of the accused celebrities continue to work in the film industry, even though their non-celebrity peers would appear on trial and be sentenced to jail time for similar actions.

The controversy surrounding these sexual assault cases has exposed a hole in our criminal justice system. It seems that when a person is important, powerful, wealthy or famous, he or she can seemingly get away with anything.

For instance, Weinstein is currently in Europe avoiding persecution from American law and attending a rehabilitation center. Although the London police department has opened an investigation on Weinstein following claims of assault made by women in London, no definite action is set to be taken yet. Obviously, sexual assault isn’t just an American issue, so Weinstein should face repercussions even if he is residing in Europe for the trauma he has inflicted upon his victims.

Perhaps more disturbing is that some of these celebrities will continue to remain prominent in their respective industries. In fact, Weinstein has even expressed interests of making it back in time for and attending the next Oscars event, despite these incriminating allegations.

Fortunately, this is not always the case. Although criminal charges have not been pressed, some, including Lauer and Keillor, have been fired or pressured to resigning due to their alleged misconduct.

Sexual harassment allegations have been surfacing among current politicians as well. In November, one woman accused Minnesota senator Al Franken of forcibly kissing her back in 2006. Another also claimed that Franken had inappropriately touched her in 2010, at which time he was already a senator. However, he has since issued a public apology but remains in office.

Of course, Donald Trump is the best example of all. Since becoming a candidate for the presidency, alleged cases of Trump’s sexually harassing behavior have been in a public spotlight. Yet he was still elected to one of the most powerful positions in the world, the president and faces no criminal charges.

As he bragged in the infamous “Access Hollywood,” “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”