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Talk of Weinstein Dominates Women’s Ceremony in a Hollywood ‘Unmoored’

“These last couple weeks have unmoored the industry,” Ms. Silverstein said in a somber tone during her opening remarks. But the revelations about Mr. Weinstein and others, she quickly added, should be seized upon as a “real opportunity” to push for systemic change.

“A global conversation about sexual harassment, toxic masculinity and the institutional sexism that envelops the industry is much needed,” she said.

Some women in the audience raised a fist in solidarity. One shouted, “Topple the patriarchy!” A few men shifted uncomfortably in their seats.

During a cocktail hour before the ceremony — Women and Hollywood held a similar event in New York last week and will host one in London next month — honorees like Lenora Lapidus, director of the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, networked over coconut chicken skewers and cilantro steak empanadas.


As women at the gathering cited statistics about gender inequality in Hollywood, several noted that the ArcLight was also hosting the premiere of a torture-themed horror movie, “Jigsaw,” that night.

Rozette Rago for The New York Times

“There’s a teeny silver lining,” Ms. Lapidus said about the deluge of allegations. “It’s reached such a crescendo that there’s no going back.”

A spokeswoman for Mr. Weinstein, who was fired by the studio he co-founded, has repeatedly denied “any allegations of nonconsensual sex.”

The ArcLight, an upscale movie theater and event space in the heart of Hollywood, was simultaneously hosting a premiere for “Jigsaw,” which Lionsgate hopes will restart its “Saw” franchise. As women at Ms. Silverstein’s gathering cited statistics about gender inequality in moviedom — women buy 50 percent of movie tickets in the United States, but only 7 percent of the 250 top-grossing films in 2016 were directed by women — several dryly noted that it seemed appropriate to have a torture-themed horror movie as a backdrop.

One honoree, Stacy L. Smith, an associate professor at the University of Southern California and author of damning reports about gender discrimination in the movie and television business, called Hollywood “a cesspool of humanity.” But Ms. Smith had high praise for Ms. Silverstein, whom she referred to as the entertainment industry’s “chief agitation officer.”

Ms. Silverstein, who grew up on Long Island and works from her Brooklyn apartment, has long focused on women’s causes. After graduating from Brandeis University in 1989 and earning a master’s degree from Columbia University in 1993, she worked for organizations like the Ms. Foundation and the White House Project, a now-defunct nonprofit dedicated to increasing female representation in business and government.


The Cinerama Dome, part of the ArcLight Hollywood complex on Sunset Boulevard.

Rozette Rago for The New York Times

In 2007, she started a blog to push for gender diversity in the global film industry. She called it Women and Hollywood.

“I didn’t trust my voice at first, but I slowly put myself out there and started to get noticed,” Ms. Silverstein said. “Now I’m kind of a rabid dog,” she added with a chuckle.

On Twitter, where Ms. Silverstein has 33,500 followers, she has been encouraging abused women to come forward. On Thursday, she tweeted “#catchthebastards” and “#BelieveWomen.”

Although it has evolved into a larger organization, Women and Hollywood is still mostly known as a blog. Ms. Silverstein has a small staff of editors, and the site publishes articles by a range of freelancers. She does not sell advertising and depends on funding from sponsorships and people like Barbara Dobkin, a philanthropist dedicated to women’s issues.

Ms. Silverstein is also artistic director and co-founder of the Athena Film Festival, which programs films, like “Suffragette” and “Hidden Figures,” that highlight women in leadership roles. The eighth annual festival will take place at Barnard College in February.

“I do this work because movies are our cave paintings,” Ms. Silverstein said. “And there are still so many stories that are missing. We are desperate for diverse stories from diverse points of view.”

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