Harvey Weinstein Guest Column: Paris Attacks a Fight Between ‘Good Versus Evil’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Harvey Weinstein Guest Column: Paris Attacks
Photo by Getty

A longtime champion of social and political freedoms, onscreen and off, Oscar-winning producer-distributor Harvey Weinstein has written articles on our industry and world events for many leading publications. In light of last week’s tragic terror attack on France’s satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, Variety editor-in-chief Claudia Eller and chief film critic Scott Foundas asked Weinstein to contribute a guest column on his thoughts and outlook, as follows.‎

When I was a college student, it gave me great pleasure to read about politics because it was my passion, along with film and journalism. I used to love reading Herblock cartoons in the Washington Post. And I loved Tom Toles’ cartoons from the Buffalo News (I went to school in Buffalo). Of course, Herblock went on to great success, as did Tom Toles, but they were always an insistent reminder that cartoon and caricature could be great weapons for good, and deterrents to bad.

This preamble hopefully illustrates the humanity and the affection that I think people have for cartoons. From the Sunday funnies like Harold Gray’s Little Oprhan Annie that helped us through the Depression, to Peanuts and Doonesbury, they sometimes provide better wisdom than known philosophers. I’ll take Charlie Brown over Rene Descartes, and put Linus in Socrates’ class, any day of the week. Although it’s Lucy who has the voice of a cartoonist — ironic, funny and eye-opening.

I send my condolences and sympathy to the editors, writers and especially to the families of Charlie Hebdo.

The tragedy in France is a stunning blow against freedom of speech and freedom of joy. It draws a parallel to the horrors of the Nazis and their mad attempt to destroy books. These are the works of fanatics — irrational thinking and scapegoating to compensate for misappropriated ideas.

This has become a fight, good versus evil. This is a time for nations to unite, to share information and realize we live in a world where technology has evened the score and made the bad guys even more dangerous. Now we have to use our technology and share things to make the good guys better, more capable, more efficient. No one’s talking about torture or the violation of human rights, but for God’s sake we have to sympathize with our Secret Service and the other organizations of men and women protecting our safety daily. We have to know there will be mistakes and casualties along the way, but we the people have to support those who protect us, more than ever.

I always think about “The Lord of the Rings” at times like this, when all worlds united. Tolkien’s great literature was a rallying cry for World War II, when fascism and supreme evil had to be stopped by the sacrifices of good people, good armies and good countries. Let the humor, the wisdom, of Charlie Hebdo live, by us winning the war that they fought on the pages of their beautiful newspaper.

For me, I would make the suggestion that they take all their great cartoons, put them out in a book and form a foundation for those families that suffered in this tragedy — and similar tragedies all over the world. We should buy that book and have it on the tables of millions of homes as a constant reminder. I will contribute to that in whatever way I can, and I’m sure my associates in this industry will be innovative as well. Over the years, I’ve had the ability to be part of the production of concerts for 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, to protect people who live in the great city of New York, but those Parisians who died last week are also my neighbors, my brothers, my sisters, fighting against an intolerant way of life. There have been a lot of great books that sit on families’ tables, from fashion to photography to travel. The cartoons of Charlie Hebdo are images that are more beautiful and meaningful than many of the images found within those books. Charlie Hebdo is a reminder of the beauty of art and the beauty of language. No one can ever defeat the ability of great artists to show us our world.

Laughter and satire will never disappear, and will always be the most effective tools for a free world. One of the greatest movies of all time had one of the most romantic lines ever spoken in a film: Humphrey Bogart saying to Ingrid Bergman, “We’ll always have Paris.” Whenever I think of Paris, I will always think of the romance, but more importantly, I will think of Charlie Hebdo and the romance of its greatness.

May it live now and forever.

Tonight is the Golden Globes, and there’s always champagne on the table. I hope we can all raise glasses and that someone like Tina, Amy or George Clooney will urge us to toast with 300 million viewers around the world: “Je suis Charlie, je suis juif, je suis Ahmed.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 177

Leave a Reply

177 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Tom K says:

    Would love to discuss this over a game of Chinese handball. Too bad “the Aud” was demolished. Maybe we could gather “Gary’s Gorillas” together for a reunion. Have any Buffalo Royals programs for me to sell?

  2. Robert says:

    Funny that it took an attack on a media outlet for Mr Weinstein to finally realize we are at war and need to commit ourselves to winning it. I’m also sure that it was intentional, that he names the Secret Service, rather than the CIA, as a specific line of defense. The Secret Service is not tasked with national security while the CIA is and has done more to keep us secure than any other agency since 9/11. Taking the fight to the enemy, cooperating with our friends and allies, using technology and yes, even enhanced interogations have been going on now for more than a decade. Where has Mr Weinstein been? As for his “torture” comment, among various other intelligence learned, the waterboarding of KSM lead to the discovery and disruption of a 17 man cell looking to replicate the 9/11 style attacks on the west coast-pehaps even LA or Hollywood. Glad to see Mr Weinstein now chosing a side in this fight. Too bad he has ignored decades of wholesale slaughter of Christians, Jews and Muslims at the hands of these fanatics. Only now, when it hits home for him, does he open his eyes and think we should fight. The hypocracy of the left would be humurous if not so dangerous

  3. Judd says:

    So, Mr. Weinstein, will you now condemn your hero, Barack Obama, for not going to Paris?

    Will you condemn Obama for gutting the US Military?

    Will you condemn Obama for releasing extremely dangerous terrorists from GITMO?

    Will you condemn Obama for his open borders policy that will leave our nation vulnerable to attack?

    Will you condemn Obama for his war on law enforcement, or continue to cheer on cop killers?

    You and your radical progressive buddies in Hollywood won’t do it.

    You’re all a bunch of frauds.

  4. germon says:

    Hello, I am a french lady. Thank you so much for yr article and do hope someone will say what I’m saying for many years:yes islamic terrorism is islamonazism. I am 78 years old and I do know what it means. Ahmed, like thousands of Muslims living and working in France speak french, their wives, sisters etc.. behave like any other persons; problems came with creation of EU wth no control at borders and ENTENTE with corrupted countries such as Qatar, Saoudi Arabia and “ingérence” in countries like Irak, Afghanistan; they used to live as tribal ways for centuries, let them do it, Democratie with radical islamism is not compatible; unfortunately we “import” extremism in OUR countries and now our govt. MUST take decisions and enforced them right NOW. (excuse my broken english) Salutations.

  5. Haha! Harvey Weinstein was totally wrong about the ‘Lord of the Rings’ being a “rallying cry” during World War II since it was published in 1954 (I knew that!); in other words, nine years AFTER World War II had ended in 1945, so nice try, Harvey. Stick to your gratuitous violence in movies, Harvey, since that’s what you do best.

    Sometimes there’s nothing like a good Yiddish expression to capture how I felt about Harvey Weinstein’s comments. “Oy gevalt” comes to mind or “what a schmuck”.

    Sadly, far too many Americans, even high-rollers like Harvey Weinstein, have a very poor grasp of world history (particularly World War II history) and world geography. This is tragically why America seems to be so ill-equipped to truly defeat Islamo-fascist terrorism, particularly with a politically correct, complacent President Barack Hussein Obama at the helm who has removed terms like “Islamic terrorism”, “Islamists”, and “jihad” from FBI and CIA field operations training manuals.

    As Sun Tzu wrote in ‘The Art of War’, “Know your enemy” and if American and specifically the Obama Administration’s political correctness makes it impossible to identify the enemy properly; i.e. Islamo-fascism (as well as various Imams, mosques, and Islamic centres or organizations that promote and fund terrorism or actively recruit jihadists), then one cannot expect to win the war or at least minimize threats made by Islamic State/ISIL/ISIS or Al Qaeda, etc,

  6. logical98 says:

    Where are the rest of the articles? Where these countries treat Muslims like dirt, and than play victim when Muslims retaliate.

  7. Allessior says:

    If Europe does not start to crack down on Islamic radicals, then the Neo-Nazi groups, the Skin Heads, will start taking matters into their own hands. Look what happened in the Balkans, where essentially Christian militants started handing back to Muslim radicals what they had been dishing out. I’m not calling for it, but the mass “Arian”, “Nazi” rallies have already started and if there are more radical Muslim attacks on Christians and Jews like we have recently seen in Paris, then mark my words, the brutality will be returned in kind.

  8. “…..a stunning blow against freedom of speech…”

    Maybe if you are a liberal…but there are among those parading around with signs many hypocrites…people who would in a heartbeat deny me right to speak as a conservative…e.g. ivy league campuses in US..
    I also found it humorous to see all of them here in Portland (ORYGUN)
    One of the worst ‘shut up if you are a conservative’ areas of the US

  9. Robin Piascik says:

    Harvey is belatedly correct. Whenever you think terrorism, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, or whatever, try replacing those words with Axis Powers, Fascists, Tripartite Pact, or Nazi’s and your mindset will change, unless you are a complete fool. We had a Nazi party in the US up until Pearl Harbor. We allowed The German American Bund to exist even while we were loosing Naval personnel in the Atlantic while sending war material to the Brits to fight said Germans. We did however wake up, and then declared and fought a no holds barred war against the Germans, Italians, and Japanese, among others. Check your history books, we didn’t declare war on the Nazi’s, Fascist’s, or Imperial Japanese Navy. The people are always made to pay. For humanity’s sake I hope the silent and “peaceful” Muslims wake up before our Leaders have to say “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory”.

  10. He has written a very compassionate essay about, freedom of speech, the poor people of France and the horrific acts committed by Muslim Fundsmentslists.
    He fails to mention that it was committed by radical Islamic individuals,
    Nor, does he show disappointment in his close friend, President Obama, for not marching with the 44 world leaders or even have a high level US representative sent.

  11. Jayson says:

    How come Weinstein, a Jew, did not mention the 4 people murdered at the Kosher Market? Strange, and a huge, huge oversight.

  12. Mike Jefferson says:

    Weinstein is 100% right but he doesn’t go far enough. These 8th century creatins have waged a war against the civilized world. In the 1930’s-40’s it was National Socialism, in the 50’s-80’s it was Communism, now in this century we are fighting Islamofascism. The sooner we recognize it and mobilize all of resources, the fewer number of people will have to die as a result.

  13. U.S. airstrike in Syria may have killed 50 civilians.
    Not a word from the zionist pig press!
    FU Whinestain!

  14. C says:

    Mr. Weinstein ought to note that the president of our nation, whom he so enthusiastically supports, embarrassed us in front of the world by not going to Paris to show our country’s support for France and for freedom of speech against maniacal terrorists. The French president at the time was first to come to the U.S. after 9-11 but Obama ignores anything negative to do with Islam, and protests what a beautiful thing is is. Except for a few generalized and cliched words quickly said, in his arrogance Obama chose to ignore the event as the major tragedy it is and make free community college tuition his priority issue for the day Perhaps the sons and daughters of Paris who were gunned down did not look like him.

  15. Tony Safford says:

    I applaud Harvey, my old friend and nemesis, in making this statement. But casting this as “good vs evil” is reductionist nonsense. A binary opposition, it obfuscates history, politics and culture and stops any examination of the root causes of terrorism, let alone the origins of this event within the specific context of contemporary France. In fact, Harvey’s argument probably plays into the hands of the political Right in its call for more state-sponsored surveillance. Better and more nuanced editorials exist elsewhere (the Guardian for example) and we can do better than this righteous and somewhat self-promotional chest-thumping.

    • mary shields says:

      He never was for the U S A and him being hollywood and a
      NEW YORKER, THEY ALL supporter this you known who.!!!!!!

    • Nublican says:

      You tip your hand by appealing to the pro-terrorist Guardian.
      This is nothing but good versus evil.
      “Root causes” is relativist gobbledygook. ANYONE who deliberately targets civilians, ESPECIALLY those who exercise freedom of speech to call out monsters in our midst is nothing but evil.
      “Nuance?”
      “Nuance” is exactly what has gotten us to this point.

  16. Neuro Mancer says:

    Yeah, I’d be more impressed with Harvey’s opinion if he didn’t have the same feeling toward Americans who also happen to be conservative.

  17. robert kelly says:

    Well, Harvey, Old Boy, you asked for this situation and now you’ve got it? What’s the problem in getting what you asked for?

    For years you have depicted the opposite of reality in your hate films to try to get multiculturalism accepted in order to convert the country into a rainbow utopia.

    Well, this is a direct result of your desire for multiculturalism when you, along with Abe Foxman, wanted a more “diverse” population.

    The result has been an absolute flood of Muslims into the West and ever single one of them hates you and your tribe.

    And here’s another strain to put upon you: It’s gong to get worse.

  18. rocky says:

    No Harvey. Not even close. It is more like what Lev Bronstein, Jacob Schiff of Wall Street, Lenin and their Atheistic Communist Bolshevik Jews did to the Russian Orthodox Christians and tried to do to the Christian Cossacks. Their goal was to wipe them out. Just another ignorant progressive socialist big mouth.

    • Zoss says:

      My Jewish ancestors were “White Russians” – which meant they stood for the Czar. They immigrated to America when the reds took over.

      Not all Jews are Bolsheviks, and not all Bolsheviks are Jews.

    • Pouting Thomas says:

      I’m surprised that Vanity let that comment stand. Kudos to Vanity.

  19. MoreFreedom says:

    Weinstein is right to compare those Muslims who attacked Charlie to the Nazis, but it’s more than book burnings. Most Muslims want to treat those that aren’t Muslims as second class citizens who are taxed more and have fewer freedoms. This is no different than how Nazis treated the Jews. Some even believe that if they don’t convert, they should be killed, like the attackers. Just like Hitler’s plan for the Jews. When it comes to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and economic freedoms, most Muslims don’t support it.

    Even the Sunni’s and Shia’s are fighting each other, and believe the other is inferior; thus, shouldn’t be running the government, and government jobs should only be given to members of the appropriate religious sect (certainly not Jews, Catholics or atheists). They will never be free, because they refuse to give others freedom.

    Let’s get out of the Middle East instead of supporting one side that doesn’t support freedom, let them figure out how to run their own countries, and set a better example in the US by not interfering in other countries problems.

  20. God Bless Harvey for saying The Truth… Let’s not forget Hitler partnered with Radical Islam in his day… Have the NWO guru’s made the same mistake?

  21. Pouting Thomas says:

    Anyone care to play “spot the Israeli troll”? Talk about obvious and awkward propaganda efforts! These people do far more harm than good for their own cause.

  22. Habner Crustipants says:

    I disagree w/ Mr. Weinstein on most things, but this I stand shoulder to shoulder.

  23. Doug says:

    Conservative talk show host Mark Levin coined the term “islamonazis” years ago to describe those who carry out and support acts of terror such as those carried out in France.

  24. Augustine says:

    Gee Harvey, people that your ilk consider cretins came to this conclusion a couple of decades ago.

  25. PR says:

    Not a single shot needs to be fired. End all immigration from muslim nations, deny entry to european muslims…PROBLEM SOLVED. We do NOT need these people. Let them tear each other to shreds. It is all they have done for 1300 years is spread violence, hatred, and intolerance.

    • With an open Southern border & Islamic Radicals training with the Cartels, we need to clamp down on crossers. How easy to claim your last name is “Lopez instead of Ahmad”.. when no docs are req’d.

  26. JMWinPR says:

    After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the players were still intact, but without a cohesive government. The entire area contained many muslims, including Chechnya. Remember Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark? All Muslims, but it was downplayed. The Nazis brought them together and stirred up the hornets nest. For the most part everyone got along somewhat until the ’30’s. After the War, the USSR kept their thumb on the pressure cooker, when it fell……………… When we failed to back the USSR in Chechnya, we lost a great deal of credibility. For reference check out the Mitchener’s book and film Caravans. Netflix has it. He predicted Afghanistan in the ’50’s.There were “ethnic” Albanians in East Hampton, NY in the late 90’s. Not to mention settlements in Maine and Minnesota, to name a few.

  27. Zoss says:

    As a man of Jewish lineage and a conservative/libertarian bent, I agree with Mr. Weinstein and am glad some on the left are starting to see the reality of the threat of radical Islam.
    If we can set aside our political differences, just for he moment, we need to. As Benjamin Franklin said “We will hang together or we surly will hang separately.”

    America- its time to squash ISIS, forthwith and decisively. Air strikes and limited support will not do. We must not hamper our troops with rules of engagement meant to make us look good for the rest of the world, but which has only resulted in coddling the enemy to the point where they are emboldened.

    America-

    Its time to send in the Marines!

    • Actually I think that was John Hancock but your point is quite valid. Many of us have seen this coming but he people in charge refused to believe it.

      • Zoss says:

        I also meant ” never have we been more divided in modern times”.

        I’ll say this last bit-

        We need to agree on our right to security as a nation and secure our borders and rectify our immigration system in such a way that good honest migrants who want to work and become part of our nation have no trouble doing just that, but we need to ensure were not importing terror- although, it may very well be too late.

      • Zoss says:

        Well, “brainy quote” says its Franklin, but yeah.

        The thing is, we’ve never been more divided as a nation, and the enemy knows this.

  28. Mr. Twitch says:

    Harvey, you’re killing me Harvey…!

  29. TRay says:

    Good Idea about the BOOK, but have YOU seen those Cartoons—-Not “family” friendly.

  30. Pouting Thomas says:

    How about the other victims, who made up the majority of the victims? Did the French government allow them to be attacked? Who has been pushing the immigration in Europe? Barbara Spectre might have something to say about this.

  31. Some issues with Jews eh thomas, if you know history the Muslims hatred for Jews had everything to do with their involvement with the nazis, your hatred cannot change the connection.

  32. Hey Harvey, Obama has sided with the people you are calling Nazis.

  33. what crap and what’s even funnier he most likely didn’t even write it. haha

  34. JMWinPR says:

    How ’bout going back a bit further, WWII for example. The Bosnia conflict was the same thing, ethnic cleansing??? that was pay back for the Nazi occupation along with their muslim cohorts. Just think we imported boat loads of ’em.

    • pupbubdub says:

      Please give me a bit more info. I know that in WWII, there was a bosnian unit, composed of muslims, that was sent to aide hitler?? OK, so what does this show? some sort of hypocrasy on the muslim world (comparing israel to nazis ethnic cleansing?) or do you feel that prominent jewish figures such as weinstein are getting “payback” against these age-old muslim-german ties… by degrading german nationalism?

      thank you for the info. this is certainly history that is NEVER discussed in the average American’s education

  35. The Nazi’s had very fashionable uniforms. The Jihadis, not so much. They don’t need to be compared to any group to be called what they really are; EVIL.

  36. JEB Hart says:

    The Middle East was a cacophony of warring Muslim tribes until the British (including Lawrence of Arabia) united them into more cohesive factions circa WW1. Their religion is based upon hatred of non-Muslim infidels and has the Jews at the top of the hit list. But any non Sharia Infidel or apostate Muslim is in the cross-hairs. From the time of Mohammed there have only been three options for a non-Muslim:
    1. Convert and obey.
    2. Die.
    3. Pay the massive (extortion) tax yearly. If you are not rich this does not apply. Once your monetary resources run out, and they will sooner or later, you are left with options 1 and 2 from which to choose..
    The Muslims loved Hitler because he came on board with their agenda, and could be their “useful idiot” to annihilate those who stood in the way of their ascended moon-god’s rise to world domination.

  37. Ben Wenton says:

    You are not correct. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem personally went to Berlin and met with Hitler twice, asking him to send troops to British Palestine to slaughter the Jews there. Palestinains, who were squatting on Jewish land for a century, have been regularly attacking Jews in that area for over a hundred years. Hitler was (they hoped) a godsend for them, but Hitler was too busy getting rid of the Jews of Europe.

    • Ben Wenton says:

      Nice job with the hate! You must have a dogeared copy of Mein Kampf. Why not sell it on eBay and send the proceeds to ISIS?

      PS — send me your address and I’ll get you on the KKK mailing list.

  38. Ben Wenton says:

    Well, I doubt you care when Jews are killed in Israel. So you seem unimpressed (or uninformed) when they are killed elsewhere?

  39. Ben Wenton says:

    I find it quite remarkable that a Jewish man of immense success writes about freedom of speech (obviously correct) without mentioning that the Jews were murdered for being Jews. They didn’t even have to produce cartoons.

    This was not the first Islamic attack on Jews in France. Some years back a Palestinian lobbed a grenade into a delicatessen in the Jewish district and killed 9 (2 Americans by the way) and injured 21. There was no parade.

    Jewish men have been kidnapped and tortured and then murdered in France, no parade. Two years ago, an Arab attacked a Jewish school in Toulouse and killed 3 children and a rabbi. No parade.

    Where was Mr. Weinstein when all this happened? Or he is the sort of Jewish man who forgets those left behind, only to appear when its tend and popular?

    Ugh. As if he really cares.

    • Letslaugh says:

      I don’t think he was focusing on the Nazis exterminating Jews and other minority groups, but rather there goal of global domination. this is illustrated by the Lord of the Rings reference.

    • Pouting Thomas says:

      Most of the victims were not Jewish. Where is your concern for the actual victims? Why are Jews trying to co-opt this tragedy?

      • billy bob thorton says:

        make another django movie you why dont you , get paid to kill white people , whats not to like.

  40. Julian Hill says:

    The people who are involved in these attacks are islamofascists,like the Moslem Brotherhood,who made common cause with the Nazis in WWII-If you don’t believe me,check the book A MOSQUE IN BERLIN ,by a Wall Street Journal columnist for details.

    • Pouting Thomas says:

      Come on, the Muslims were fighting to overthrow the British in WWII, and took whatever allies they could. The Muslims in Palestine, or anywhere else, had nothing to do with Nazi policies. They were fighting alongside the enemy of their enemy. You know how that goes, don’t you? Your post is completely dishonest. I wonder why?

  41. boudicca says:

    I’ll be impressed when Leftists like Harvey stand up and speak out on behalf of conservatives whose rights have been undermined…..

  42. Owen Walker says:

    Laudable comments, but who the hell really cares what Harvey Weinstein says.

  43. He said the right thing, but he’s a little late to the game. By the way, Nazi’s were leftists, as are all fascists; but don’t tell Harvey, or he’ll have to look for a different metafor.

  44. tom says:

    good luck man

  45. mrbeverage says:

    …… wow, the Islamist terrorist must be bootlegging Harvey’s movies for him to be this mad.

  46. gordonwagner says:

    False flag event. Note the female “handler” had left Paris prior to the attack. Which country is known for this kind of thing?

  47. Clete Torres says:

    Kinda like your beloved Democrats (evil) versus good (Conservatives).

    But you have no intellectual honesty, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever make that connection, right Harv?

    Effewe.

  48. kim says:

    Unfortunately, our current response to this threat resembles our slow response to the Nazis… the price for acting slow is very high.

  49. Daisy D says:

    aubrey, what’s the weather like in Egypt? You hound from he/ll.

  50. Brach says:

    Well of course they are like the Nazis…they want the elimination of the entire Jewish race. Everyone on earth, except those with the voice to say so (and won’t because of their own political agendas and possible anti semitic leanings), recognize this about these folks.
    So where is the outcry?!
    Why the “tolerance” of this “fringe” element of Islam?
    By their silence the Islamic leaders give their tacit approval of this type of violence.

More Film News from Variety

Loading