Columns, Opinion

People with Projects: A female screenwriter’s “thank you” to Kevin Smith

It’s always heartening to see someone taking action instead of merely asserting their thoughts.

Kevin Smith — a filmmaker and writer known for movies like “Clerks” and “Mallrats,” who spent much of his career working alongside Harvey Weinstein — has pledged to donate all residuals earned by his Weinstein-associated projects to charity. And he couldn’t have chosen a better charity than Women in Film — a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for women in the industry.

Weinstein, who co-founded Miramax with his brother, helped further Smith’s career when the company bought “Clerks” at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival. Other popular movies Smith made under Miramax were “Clerks II” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” But all of that came crashing down for Smith when Weinstein was accused of multiple accounts of sexual assault and harassment earlier this month.

Since the beginning of the Weinstein investigation, nearly 50 women have come forth claiming to be victims of his twisted actions — some of the bigger names including Gwyneth Paltrow, Cara Delevingne and Angelina Jolie. As a result, Weinstein has been fired from his chair position at the Weinstein Company, and has been left by his wife, Georgina Chapman. Additionally, Weinstein has been kicked out of many associations, like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Empathizing with the victims, Smith has spoken out about his disappointment in being closely associated to Weinstein. He made it clear that he “just wanted to make some f***ing movies,” going on to say, “no f***ing movie is worth all of this.” If the Weinstein Company goes bankrupt and is unable to pay residuals to Smith for his movies, Smith has even stated that he will donate $2,000 every month, for the rest of his life, to Women in Film.

As a screenwriter and a woman, I couldn’t be happier to see someone standing up against this horrible incident and attempting to bring not only money, but awareness, to an issue that resonates with me deeply. I haven’t begun my career in the film industry yet, but when I hear stories like Weinstein’s, it makes me sick and discouraged. It makes me want to give up my dreams of moving to Hollywood and creating influential films, just because I’m afraid that men will take advantage of me, and try to leverage my sexuality in their favor. No one should feel too unsafe to pursue their dreams. They especially shouldn’t feel this way in an industry that ostensibly promotes so many good ideologies.

Smith also spoke about how ashamed he was to have talked about Weinstein in the past as if he was “a hero.” The fact that Smith said this at all proves how much of a hero he himself is, for denouncing Weinstein in the name of women globally. When you realize you’re wrong about someone close to you, it can be tough to come to terms with the truth — especially when there are lawyers left and right trying to reach out to that person’s friends and colleagues to create a defense. But men like Weinstein don’t even deserve a defense.

I want to live in a country where women are supported. Some of the best films in the industry, from “Bridesmaids” to “Battle of the Sexes,” were written by great women, star great women or have been filmed by great women. And those amazing creations shouldn’t be stopped from entering our world, just because some creep in the industry seemed like he was invincible for a few decades.

I hope this investigation cracks down hard on Weinstein, and I hope it sets an example for all other men. You will never win by manipulating the power you hold over someone’s career. I want more men to adopt a strong, fearless mindset like Smith’s, who looked beyond his connections to Weinstein in the name of defending equal gender rights in his field.

Thank you, Kevin Smith.

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