METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich has addressed the wave of allegations against Harvey Weinstein, saying that it's great that the disgraced Hollywood producer's case is being used as a valuable start point for vitally important discussions about the casting couch culture, wilful silence in the face of sexual harassment and sexual predators in the working environment.
Weinstein's career was brought to a halt after dozens of women in the entertainment industry — including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie — accused him of varying degrees of sexual misconduct over the years.
During a career-spanning interview this past Sunday (November 5) at 92Y in New York City, Ulrich was asked if he thought the music business will also face a reckoning now that the Weinstein scandal has had a ripple effect throughout the industry, dragging down multiple companies and public figures in its wake.
"Everywhere is gonna have a reckoning," Ulrich responded. "And I think the great thing is that we're in the first inning of this, and, obviously, it's long overdue. And I think that it's a great, great thing that everybody is standing up and that everybody, no matter what gender they are, feels safe in talking about their experiences and that, as a victim in any kind of situation, that you don't feel that you have to carry it yourself, that you have a platform and that you can feel safe in there. So that's the good part. The part that becomes questionable, I think, at some point is when it becomes a sort of like — and I've gotta choose my words carefully so I don't get in trouble — but when it becomes a trial in the court of public opinion.
"At some point — which obviously hasn't happened yet — but at some point, a month from now, a year from now, five years from now, somebody is gonna accuse somebody else of doing something that may not be exactly truthful," Ulrich continued. "And when that happens, you're gonna get into… Basically, what's happening is you go straight to execution. When somebody gets accused of something, then it goes straight… and then your life will change forever. And there will be a point somewhere down the line where somebody's life is gonna get changed because of potentially false accusation. And when that happens, I hope that we can find ways to, sort of, navigate as a society, media just through that, and hopefully that we make the best choices. Because that is in front of us at some point."
Lars reiterated that while it is great that the Weinstein allegations have emboldened people who say they also were victims to come forward with stories of abuse by people in power, there will likely be cases where individuals will use grains of truth to sell a false narrative.
"We're turning over a whole new page here, and there's no script for this, and there's no real guidebook," Lars said. "And it's so awesome that this is all happening. But when you read as much as I read The New York Times and The Huffington Post and all the rest of it, you can sense that there's already a conversation, which is what's gonna happen when we start getting into, you know, what gets grayer.
"There's nobody in the movie world that didn't know that Harvey Weinstein was a fuck — excuse me; that's obviously the worst-kept secret in the world — but five years from now, or three years from now, when it starts… You're gonna get to a point where you're gonna get into a gray area," Ulrich added.
One month after a New York Times exposé reported decades of alleged sexual harassment by Weinstein, he has been ousted from the Television Academy, banned for life from the Producers Guild of America and voted out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is also facing suspension and disciplinary charges from BAFTA and the Directors Guild of America.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein has repeatedly denied allegations "of non-consensual sex." Weinstein has also apologized for "the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past."