If you think Barack and Michelle Obama have been quieter than usual, especially in this time of fiery “resistance,” it may because they are busy making lots of money and lots of deals – in Hollywood.
And guess who they owe their intros to.
Yes, it’s true the Obamas are long-time friends – thisclose, as they say in the biz. Of course, most industry and non-industry stories say that was before the sordid revelations in the New York Times and elsewhere in the fall of 2017. Nonsense. The rumors and the actual stories have been around for many years – decades, in fact. Take, for instance, this story going back to 2010, which names names and details details. But anyone who has worked in and around Hollywood knows the Weinstein predator stories go back to at least the 1990s. I can tell you, as a journalist working in L.A. at the time, I heard the scuttlebutt in the 1980s.
As a result, I never would have sent one of my daughters to work as an intern for Harvey. But Barack and Michelle Obama did just that – only months before the BIG STORY broke. Keep in mind, the Obamas had the additional advantage of top secret information for the eight previous years. They knew lots of people in the business. They were all on speed dial. Some of them slept in the Lincoln bedroom during the Obama years at the White House. Weinstein did frequently. He was not only a close friend but a major donor.
If the Obamas wanted to know about the moral character of Harvey Weinstein, they could have asked around. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. Maybe they didn’t want to know. But what does that say about their character? And what on Earth are we to make of the fact that they allowed Malia to serve as an intern for the monster?
So, here’s the real time line on the Obama-Weinstein relationship.
1980s-1990s: Weinstein is a serial abuser of women, using the casting couch, promising career advances to beautiful young aspiring actresses. But it’s all kept quiet by the industry because … well, he’s Harvey Weinstein.
2000-2010: The first significant media hints of trouble begin appearing in the press.
2008: Obama runs for president and is befriended by Weinstein and rewarded with major cash contributions – and, of course, wins the presidency.
2009-2017: Weinstein is a frequent guest at the White House, but we are supposed to believe Barack and Michelle are oblivious to his character.
January 2017: As the Obamas are leaving the White House, Malia, then just 18, gets a job as an intern for Weinstein. It is not clear how long she works there, but the internship was reported to last through the spring. Reports say this was not a show-job, but one that had her evaluating scripts and pitching them to top execs.
October 2017: New York Times breaks the salacious national story and other media pile on. Obama quickly and profusely condemns his old buddy: “Michelle and I have been disgusted by the recent reports about Harvey Weinstein. Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.”
But the Obamas’ bad experience with the Hollywood mogul of moguls has not deterred them from using the relationships they made through Weinstein as a launching pad for their new career as moguls in their own right.
In May, Netflix confirmed the company is partnering with the Obamas on a multi-year agreement where Barack and Michelle will produce films and series for the company. The announcement says the deal could potentially also include “scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries, and features.” And, just last week, Michelle met with Kerry Washington, who starred in the political TV series “Scandal.”
TMZ provided this background on that latest scoop, adding: “The Obamas have always been champions of the film industry and at once had close ties with Harvey Weinstein before all his sexual assault allegations surfaced. Their daughter, Malia, even had an internship at the Weinstein Company.”
Imagine that! What a coincidence. That’s one scandal they just never saw coming. Who’d have guessed?
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