Harvey Weinstein: Video resurfaces of convicted rapist calling Bernie Sanders sexist

Mr Weinstein was explaining why he supported Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the 2016 primary race. 

Graig Graziosi
Monday 24 February 2020 23:01
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Harvey Weinstein calls Bernie Sanders sexist during 2016 endorsement of Hillary Clinton

As the news of former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s conviction on criminal sex acts and rape dominate headlines, a video circulating Twitter today in which Mr Wesintein calls Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders a “sexist” on MSNBC stands as a reminder that not long ago, he was considered a valuable voice in the world of politics.

In a 2016 clip of the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” Mr Weinstein appears as a guest and is prompted by co-host Joe Scarborough to explain why he is “for Hillary instead of Bernie.”

Mr Weinstein launches into a story about his daughter, Emma, telling a tale of how her and her girlfriends found Mr Sanders “sexist” for questioning the credentials of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Well my daughter, Emma, has really crystalized it over the last four weeks. She’s 18 years old and all of her girlfriends were for Bernie, and her too,” he said. “She said to me when Bernie said Hillary wasn’t qualified, they took that like, they took that as a little sexist, you know? Just like, how could the Secretary of State, the 103 countries that she visited, two-time senator, first lady, civil rights lawyer, not be qualified?”

He went on to say that after that incident, his daughter began sending him emails questioning Mr Sanders' fitness for office.

“From then all of a sudden I’m getting the emails, like when your kids become Sherlock Holmes. Why doesn’t [Mr Sanders] turn in his taxes, what happened in the 1990 election, where he won, after he lost, because the NRA went against the other candidate,” he said. “Then they sent me Paul Krugman’s article that Bernie’s numbers don’t add up.”

Beyond Mr Weinstein’s own words, he offered no evidence that the very believable story of a group of 18 year olds excitedly sharing Paul Krugman articles with him and questioning the results of a 1990 Vermont congressional race actually happened.

Mr Weinstein was convicted Monday on one count of criminal sexual acts - which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison - and rape in the third degree, which carries a maximum of four years in prison. He was cleared of more serious predatory sexual assault charges that had maximum sentences of life in prison.

Prior to Mr Weinstein’s crimes coming into full public view thanks to his accusers speaking out and the reporting of Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker, he was an outspoken supporter of Ms Clinton and was viewed as a friendly face in the realm of Democratic politics.

The video of Mr Weinstein criticising Mr Sanders is an early example of the station’s now notoriously noxious treatment of the Democratic front-runner.

MSNBC host Chris Matthews has drawn fire over comparing Mr Sanders’ performance in the primaries thus far to the Nazi defeat of France in World War II. Mr Sanders’ extended family was murdered by Nazis during the war, and critics of the MSNBC host have called for his resignation. Even one of Mr Matthews’ network colleagues, political analyst Anand Giridharadas, suggested the cable news host went too far.

“Why is Chris Matthews on this air talking about the victory of Bernie Sanders, who had kin murdered in the Holocaust, analogizing it to the Nazi conquest of France?” he said during an interview with Joy Reid.

Later, on Twitter, Mr Giridharadas said he needed to “speak truth” about Mr Matthews.

Earlier this month, Mr Matthews complained that Mr Sanders’ views on communist leaders like Fidel Castro were unknown and suggested that people like Mr Castro would have executed people like himself in New York City’s Central Park.

But Mr Matthews wasn’t the only MSNBC personality to go to extraordinary lengths to attack Mr Sanders. Joy Ann Reid, host of AMJoy, invited a “body language expert” Janine Driver, onto her show following a Democratic debate in Iowa during which Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mr Sanders had a heated exchange over Ms Warren’s allegations that Mr Sanders said a woman couldn’t win a presidential race against Mr Trump. The body language expert accused Mr Sanders of lying.

Ken Klippenstein, a reporter for The Nation, reported after the segment that Ms Driver was a champion of anti-vaccination conspiracy theories and a personal friend of Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

During his appearance on Ms Reid’s show, Mr Giridharadas suggested that figures in the media will have to change the way they view the world if they hope to understand the general public they are supposed to be serving.

“The people who are stuck in an old way of thinking, in 20th-century frameworks, in gulag thinking, are missing what is going on,” he said. “It is time for all of us to step up, rethink, and understand the dawn of what may be, frankly, a new era in American life.”

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