Harvey Weinstein made great movies.
So did Roman Polanski.
So did Woody Allen.
Michael Jackson made great music.
So does R. Kelly.
Bill Cosby made millions laugh.
So did Louis C. K.
So did Al Franken.
We could go on and on.
The pattern is clear. Incredibly talented individuals aren’t always saints. In fact, sometimes their outward search for achievement and accolades masks inner demons that stay hidden for years until finally they surface.
(Just now, we noticed the obituary of James Levine, “the guiding maestro of the Metropolitan Opera for more than 40 years and one of the world’s most influential and admired conductors until allegations of sexual abuse and harassment ended his career.”)
We bring this up now because of reports of sexual misdeeds against popular New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
To millions, during the early days of the Covid pandemic, Governor Cuomo was a hero. He calmly kept the public informed about the progress his administration made in battling the virus, using facts and science and reason (unlike President Donald Trump).
And more relevant to us at Horowitz Law, he signed the Child Victims Act into law that is, right now, helping thousands of wounded New York adults who were molested as kids. It’s also helping warn thousands more about child molesters who’ve long flown under the radar.
Then, when the Covid pandemic wreaked havoc on the Court system, Cuomo went further, and extended the Child Victims Act one more year, again giving abuse survivors more time to come forward.
For this, we at Horowitz Law are grateful, as are many who care about kids and victims.
But at the end of the day all of this, and everything else Cuomo may have achieved over his long career, is irrelevant to the charges that he sexually harassed women. It’s apples and oranges.
No one denies that Cuomo often had successes. But no one should assume that because of those successes, he doesn’t or didn’t also have failures. . .or problems. . .or has engaged in sexual wrongdoing.
This pattern – widely=recognized accomplishments AND long-hidden wrongdoing co-existing in the same individual – is true for many predators. But it’s also true for many enablers.
Take Pope Francis for example. Early on, he won massive praise for carrying his own luggage moving into simpler living quarters and saying of gays and lesbians “Who am I to judge?”
Still he protects child molesters and those who cover for child molesters.
Still, eight years into his papacy, as former SNAP co-director David Clohessy noted on Twitter recently, Pope Francis hasn’t defrocked a single bishop for committing or concealing child sex crimes.
A few enabling bishops have voluntarily stepped down from their positions, while still retaining their emeritus titles and salaries and perks and all the rest.
Even fewer enabling bishops have been prodded to step down.
But virtually none have been fired.
So can we please, once and for all, walk and chew gum at the same time?
Can we please acknowledge that many are capable of BOTH wonderful behavior or achievement in public AND horrific behaviors and shortcomings in private?
Can we avoid the temptation to immediately and hurtfully take the side of the accused, over the accuser, just because the accused has managed to write great films, sing great songs, and even take heroic actions?