As veil of silence falls, Weinstein effect keeps growing

NEW YORK (AP) — In the three weeks since the string of allegations against Harvey Weinstein first began, an ongoing domino effect has tumbled through not just Hollywood but at least a dozen other industries. It’s open season on open secrets.

Nearly every day has brought new allegations of sexual harassment, assault or misconduct, and subsequent firings, dismissals or the distancing of men in various stations of power, from highly regarded media pundits to celebrity chefs.

“There is no turning back,” Asia Argento said Wednesday on Twitter. “All predators will go down.”

Argento, the Italian filmmaker and actress who has said Weinstein raped her, declared that shortly after allegations of sexual harassment were leveled by six women against filmmaker Brett Ratner. (Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex, while Ratner has denied each allegation against him.) Her social-media avatar is a simple photo of herself, with a fist raised high.

The posture and language of revolution has been adopted by others, too, like actress Rose McGowan, another alleged victim of sexual assault by Weinstein. At last week’s Women’s Convention in Detroit, McGowan declared: “Join me. Join all of us!”

What’s unfolding, women’s rights advocates say, is a rolling reckoning that’s gaining steam with every new revelation of sexual harassment. What began with just a handful of women standing up against one of Hollywood’s most pugnacious power players has turned into a movement of its own. Now that some of the silences and stigmas around sexual harassment have been shattered, the flood gates are open.

“This is the patriarchy starting to crumble,” says Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization of Women. “I think that women are finally taking their power. They know they’re strong.”

In the three weeks since the first allegations were leveled against Weinstein, there have been at least 20 prominent men who have been forced to defend or apologize for past actions. Amazon Studios chief Roy Price resigned after a television producer on one of Amazon’s shows said he had sexually harassed her. Following allegations of sexual advances on an underage actor, Netflix halted production on Kevin Spacey’s “House of Cards.” A Roman Polanski retrospective prompted protests in Paris.