Earlier this week, a story broke on Twitter about an incident that occurred Wednesday night, at New York’s Downtime Bar, in which Harvey Weinstein—accused by numerous women of decades’ worth of sexual harassment and assault—appeared at an invite-only event called Actor’s Hour. Given that Actor’s Hour is, at least in part, a comedy show—and that Weinstein is, well, Harvey Weinstein—it was probably inevitable that one of the comics would comment on his presence, and, indeed, one gloriously did.
Although comedian Kelly Bachman never mentions Weinstein’s name in her improvised set, it’s very clear who the “Freddy Kreuger” she keeps referring to is meant to be. Bachman is forthright and unrelenting in her jokes about “the elephant in the room”, ignoring boos and “Shut up!”s from a section of the crowd, and repeatedly, honestly dressing Weinstein down in suitably vicious and professional fashion. It’s the closest thing the world has really seen to someone telling Weinstein—who has denied the mountain of allegations against him, sought to discredit his accusers, and generally lived his life as an unrepentant hermit since October 2018—to his face what people think of him and the things that he’s alleged to have done.
Bachman wasn’t the only person to confront the alleged multiple rapist in the room, either; actor Zoe Stuckless stood up in the middle of the bar, cut through a whole bunch of “Hey, isn’t it weird he’s here?!” talk, and called Weinstein a rapist. (They were then escorted from the room.) Comic Amber Rollo, who helped spread information about what went down at Actor’s Hour on Twitter, also cussed Weinstein out, and was then also kicked out by the venue’s management—although there doesn’t appear to have been any video of that part of the evening’s entertainment. A representative for Weinstein later dubbed the people who confronted the former movie producer and current defendant “downright rude,” which, we guess he’d know, huh?
Like we said, there’s a cathartic element to all of this—Weinstein’s been hiding from his accusers and the world for more than a year, perhaps hoping the heat would die down, and it’s satisfying to see him confronted with it at last. But we also don’t want to diminish how frightening, alienating, and angering it must have been to be these three people, who stood up in a room full of others who were willing to just look away, and said “Hey, no, this is not okay.” It’s not clear why Actor’s Hour considered it appropriate to open its doors to Weinstein—Vanity Fair quotes one of the organizers as saying she was hoping it would serve as “ a chance for community members to address him.” It’s also not clear whether said organizer understood how unsafe that might make people in its audience feel, or what kind of misery sitting in a room of people trying to ignore Harvey Weinstein—the way so many people have allegedly just “ignored him” for so long—might inflict on those who were moved to act. That these three people stood up and expressed their displeasure, loudly, honestly, and bravely, is noble; that they had to do so in the first place, to be the lone voices speaking up in a room like that, pretty demonstrably is not.