Harvey Weinstein ‘Casting Couch’ statue debuts pre-Oscars

A gold sculpture of Harvey Weinstein on his infamous casting couch holding an Oscar statue is on display in Hollywood, California on March 1, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 02 March 2018
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Harvey Weinstein ‘Casting Couch’ statue debuts pre-Oscars

LOS ANGELES: A golden statue of a bathrobe-clad Harvey Weinstein, seated regally atop a couch with an Oscar in hand, took up temporary sidewalk residence close to the site of Sunday’s Academy Awards.
“Casting Couch” is a collaborative work between a Los Angeles street artist known as Plastic Jesus and Joshua “Ginger” Monroe, designer of 2016’s nude Donald Trump statues placed in major US cities.
The life-sized Weinstein sculpture, displayed Thursday on Hollywood Boulevard, aims to spotlight the entertainment industry’s sexual misconduct crisis and the disgraced studio mogul’s role in it, Plastic Jesus said.
“There’s so much about Hollywood that’s great and celebrated in the Oscars, but there’s also this underbelly of darkness within the industry that we often sweep under the carpet or ignore,” said Plastic Jesus, formerly a London-based photographer.
The phrase “casting couch,” used to describe the demand of sexual favors for work, may seem a relic of a bygone era but is “still very much a part of the Hollywood culture,” he said.
Plastic Jesus said he and Monroe first considered a standing Weinstein statue but quickly decided to incorporate a chaise lounge. The project, made of fiberglass and acrylic resin, was in the works for two months.
It will be on display this weekend, weather permitting.
Visitors to the sculpture were sitting next to the faux Weinstein and taking selfies, turning it into an interactive installment, Plastic Jesus said.
It also expands the symbolism, he said.
“For many, many people, aspiring actors and actresses, that would have been their dream to be close to Harvey,” but that reality has proven a nightmare for some, the artist said.
Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women of sexual harassment or sexual assault, including rape. He’s denied all allegations of non-consensual sex, but apologized for “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past.”
Plastic Jesus has created a series of Oscar-timed statues, including one last year of Kanye West in a crucified pose and titled “False Idol.”


What We Are Reading Today: American Default by Sebastian Edwards

Updated 24 September 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: American Default by Sebastian Edwards

  • In 1933, when in a bid to pull the US out of depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt depreciated the US dollar in relation to gold, effectively annulling all debt contracts
  • Revaluing the dollar imposed a hefty loss on investors and savers, many of them middle-class American families

JEDDAH: The American economy is strong in large part because nobody believes that America would ever default on its debt. Yet in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt did just that, when in a bid to pull the country out of depression, he depreciated the US dollar in relation to gold, effectively annulling all debt contracts. American Default is the story of this forgotten chapter in America’s history.

Sebastian Edwards provides a compelling account of the economic and legal drama that embroiled a nation already reeling from global financial collapse.

It began on April 5, 1933, when FDR ordered Americans to sell all their gold holdings to the government. This was followed by the abandonment of the gold standard, the unilateral and retroactive rewriting of contracts, and the devaluation of the dollar.

Anyone who held public and private debt suddenly saw its value reduced by nearly half, and debtors — including the US government — suddenly owed their creditors far less.

Revaluing the dollar imposed a hefty loss on investors and savers, many of them middle-class American families. The banks fought back, and a bitter battle for gold ensued. In early 1935, the case went to the Supreme Court. 

Edwards describes FDR’s rancorous clashes with conservative Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, a confrontation that threatened to finish the New Deal for good— and that led to FDR’s attempt to pack the court in 1937.

At a time when several major economies never approached the brink of default or devaluing or recalling currencies, American Default is a timely account of a little-known yet drastic experiment with these policies, the inevitable backlash, and the ultimate result.