The last person we heard talking like Harvey Weinstein is now the US president

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
Image: AP Photo/Eric Jamison (left) and Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP (right)
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The sexual harassment and rape allegations against famed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have been snowballing. On Oct. 5 the New York Times reported (paywall) that several actresses and former colleagues had accused Weinstein of sexual harassment. A follow-up story (paywall) included accusations from stars such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow. Today the New Yorker published further allegations, including of rape.

Weinstein’s behavior had been reported previously, including by Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, a model who told the police (and the media) in 2015 that the producer had tried to force her to follow him into his hotel room. Recently published audio, recorded by the New York police, portrays a man used to expecting obedience from women:

Weinstein: I’m telling you right now, get in here.
Gutierrez: What do we have to do here?
Weinstein: Nothing. I’m gonna take a shower, you sit there and have a drink. Water.
Gutierrez: I don’t drink.
Weinstein: Then have a glass of water.
Gutierrez: Can I stay on the bar?
Weinstein: No. You must come here now.

At the end, Weinstein admits to having groped Gutierrez in the past, and justifies it by saying that touching a woman’s breasts is a habit for him—perhaps because of his fame.

Weinstein: Please, I’m not gonna do anything. I swear on my children. Please come in. On everything, I’m a famous guy.
Gutierrez: I’m feeling very uncomfortable right now.
Weinstein: Please come in now. And one minute. And if you wanna leave, when the guy comes with my jacket you can go.
Gutierrez: Why yesterday you touch my breast?
Weinstein: Oh, please I’m sorry just come in. I’m used to that.
Gutierrez: You’re used to that?
Weinstein: Yes, come in.

If any of this sounds familiar, perhaps it’s because it reminds of you another conversation that generated its share of outrage a little over a year ago.

Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.
Unknown: Whoa.
Trump: I did try and fuck her. She was married.
Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Bush: Whatever you want.
Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

Donald Trump’s bragging about assaulting women in the Access Hollywood tapes—which he later defended as “locker-room banter”—describes essentially the very same mindset as Weinstein’s—a belief that he can do whatever he wants with women and that fame and power will allow him to get away with it.

And Trump, at least, seems to have been right about that.