Film Festivals and Harvey Weinstein’s Sexual Abuse Allegations: Is There a Connection?

In Harvey Weinstein Accusations: How Film Festival Environments Provided a Backdrop For Sexual Assault, IndieWire points out that festivals like Sundance, Cannes, and Toronto have been the backdrop for many of the allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against Harvey Weinstein. They ask, "Is there something about film festivals that fosters this kind of behavior?"

As a film festival journalist turned festival director, I question the article's inference that festivals somehow contributed to Weinstein's escapades. After all, they didn't make him an abuser. He would have carried out those acts in whatever environment he found himself. You don't blame the location any more than you blame the victims -- unless the location actually did foster the behavior, which I don't believe occurred here.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that film festivals cannot or have not or do not create an environment where abuse can occur. I'm only referring to the incidents around Harvey Weinstein. I do not believe that what Weinstein did at festivals would not have happened if the festival had measures to prevent it. My point is not that nothing can be done. I'm simply pointing out that, as an alleged serial abuser, Weinstein would have taken advantage of these women wherever he could. I don't believe that Toronto or Sundance or Cannes could have done anything to prevent him from doing what he did.

All that said, there's certainly no downside to film festivals emphasizing that they provide a positive, nurturing environment. "Festivals could have made it clearer that his type of behavior was not condoned," said a colleague of mine. "These festivals could have put in place procedures that would have made it easier and safe for victims to come forward."



Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at

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