In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s downfall, a lot of celebrities have been asked to comment on the situation. Many women have come out and spoken about their experience(s) with Weinstein, or men just like him, and some men, like Terry Crews, have shed light on how widespread the problem truly is, that it isn’t just limited to “one bad apple”. Some people haven’t been as eloquent, though, such as Ben Affleck and his clumsy comments followed by the resurrection of his own shady history. But others have weathered the turbulence relatively well, from Channing Tatum pulling out of a Weinstein project, to, surprisingly Kevin Smith.
Smith, whose career was launched and sustained by Harvey Weinstein, announced via his podcast, Hollywood Babble-On, that he intends to donate his Weinstein-related residuals to the Women In Film initiative. “No f*cking movie is worth all this. Like, my entire career, f*ck it, take it. It’s wrapped up in something really f*cking horrible,” he said. “I know it’s not my fault, but I didn’t f*cking help. Because I sat out there talking about this man like he was a hero, like he was my friend. I didn’t know the man that they keep talking about in the press. Clearly he exists, but that man never showed himself to me.”
Back when this story first broke, Smith tweeted that he “felt ashamed” for profiting off Weinstein’s support while so many others were “in terrible pain”. And now he’s backing that up, by donating his residuals to WIF, an organization that supports women in the film and television industries. He’s even prepared for the eventuality that The Weinstein Company folds and his TWC-owned library—over half his filmography—loses value. Should that happen, he’ll donate $2,000 a month to WIF. So not only is Smith putting his money where his mouth is, he’s prepared to do it even if he loses that money.
So Kevin Smith emerges as one of the most sincerely decent figures post-Weinstein. It’s not just condemnatory remarks or even a palpable sense of shame, he’s committing to using Weinstein funds to promote and support women in the industry. There’s been a lot of soundbites and hand-wringing about what to do Now That We Know, but not a lot of tangible action to create safer, more supportive working environments for women. (And it goes so far beyond actresses and directors, as Kristen Stewart pointed out, harassment affects women in all facets of the industry, and below-the-line workers are particularly vulnerable.) But Kevin Smith has just set a precedent for how to actually help women—by giving to the organizations created to support them, particularly if you’re directly benefitting from a Weinstein deal. It will be interesting to see who, if anyone, follows his lead.