NY Times Columnist Writes ‘Defense of Sorts’ of Harvey Weinstein, Internet Revolts

Another Bret Stephens op-ed provokes strong reaction

New York Times conservative op-ed columnist Bret Stephens put on his troll hat Wednesday, penning a self-described “defense of sorts” of Harvey Weinstein.

The piece was actually titled “Weinstein and Our Culture of Enablers,” but Stephens wanted to make sure you knew his true intention for writing by tweeting one of its most provocative phrases.

The nut of his argument is that Weinstein’s actions cannot be viewed in isolation but rather as part of a larger culture of permissiveness from media and Hollywood elites.

“It’s in this context that one can mount a defense of sorts for Mr. Weinstein, who inhabited a moral universe that did nothing but cheer his golden touch and wink at (or look away from) his transgressions — right until the moment that it became politically inconvenient to do so,” Stephens wrote. “Hyenas cannot help their own nature. But the work of a morally sentient society is to prevent them from taking over the savanna.”

Later on in the piece, Stephens compared Weinstein to both Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, calling the trio “libidinous cads.”

The piece immediately sparked controversy online from critics, but in comments to The Wrap, Stephens brushed them off, insisting his overall piece had been extraordinarily tough on Weinstein.

“If someone wrote of you, as I wrote of Weinstein, that your repulsive face turns out to be “the mirror image of [your] putrescent soul,” would you take it as a “defense”? he asked. “The rest of the hysterical commentary is just further depressing evidence that only a fraction of the critics, including the supposedly literate ones, bothered to read the column.”

Still, the takes came hard and heavy from blue check Twitter.